Losing yourself in motherhood is almost like a rite of passage. I don’t know a single mom out there that doesn’t feel like she lost some part of her old self and old life once becoming a mom. I think the hardest part is not being prepared for this change, for losing yourself along the way. No one, no book, can prepare you for this. As a new mom I was overly ambitious and I wanted everything to be perfect. This ultimately meant focusing less and less on myself and giving my all to my family. I put a lot of pressure on myself to have a clean house, cook every meal, with no family living closer than a 5 hour flight from us and a husband with a rigorous work schedule, I was attempting to do the impossible all on my own. And trying to achieve this level of parenting perfection, ultimately led me here. Was my house clean? Yes. Was my baby clean and well dressed? Yes. Was I clean or well-dressed or remotely taken care of physically or emotionally? No. When my husband disappeared to the bathroom for 30 minutes, or spent an hour getting ready, it led to a lot of resentment over time. However, he never told me I couldn’t go take a nice long bath, or spend 1 hour doing my hair and makeup in fact I know he would be happy to have let me do those things while watching our son. But I had that dreaded mom guilt, and never ever made the time to do the things that I would say “I wish” I could do.
This year, 2017 is going to be the year of ME. This old self I’ve just explained, I’m trying to let go of and I want to. I always like to have a resolution or goal going into the New Year to keep myself in check. My goal was on my mind for most of 2016 and I knew I had to really find ways to execute it and change my life in 2017. I wanted to find myself this year. I wanted to do things for ME this year. After over 4 years of taking care of everyone else around me, I wanted to make this year the year where I get a piece of my old self back! I want out of this daze, out of this routine so here are some changes I’m going to make so I can get a little of the old me back:
1. Getting organized
Get a calendar and organize your week to reduce stress. Also create a space just for you in the house, for me this was my closet. I evicted my husband out of our Master closet and put everything in his office and created the closet of my dreams. My friend came over, we drank wine and we organized. Having this one space to call my own literally changed my life. I also decluttered, got rid of everything we don’t use or need and donated it.
2. Feel beautiful
I am now committed to getting myself ready FIRST each morning. This simple step of making sure I actually have time to get ready has made me feel so much better. I’m no longer getting everyone else ready and only leaving myself with 2 minutes to get ready, rushing out the door with greasy hair covered by a hat. Nope, those days are gone. I am putting myself first and doing my hair and make-up each morning now. Gone are the days where I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflection and literally want to cry. Also, I will get my hair and nails done when I need to and won’t feel guilty about it! Heck, I’ll even get a massage or facial if need to, I deserve it and you do too.
3. Feel alive
Show up, go out, say yes when you’re invited to things! Stop making excuses not to do things and see people. As much as you think you don’t want to do things, trust me when you show up and do them you will be so happy you did! Do the things you did before you had kids, go on a date, hang out with friends, and go on vacation WITHOUT your kid. LIVE A LITTLE, YOU’RE NOT DEAD ..YET!
4. Have Balance
Don’t go overboard with the past point, spend some quality time with your family, but also make time with your friends. Plan date nights with couples, plan a girl’s night but also have some traditions with your family like pizza and movie night. When you have balance in your life, you feel so much better about how you’re living.
5. Surround yourself with good people
People that love you and genuinely want the best for you. Life is too short to have those people that don’t deserve you in their life. Also, you’re setting a great example for your child by surrounding yourself with great people who show that they care about you and vice versa.
6. Be grateful
Love what you have and show your appreciation for the people in your life. Appreciate EVERYTHING big and small. Do a morning gratitude session. Take 2-3 minutes each morning to give thanks, to whomever or whatever you’re grateful for.
7. Be more present
GET OFF THE INTERNET, wait no not yet, finish this article first, like it on Instagram and Facebook, then log off and be present. I’ve always made a point to not be on my phone around my son. I don’t want him to ever think that my phone is more important than me bonding with him. I also now make a point to log off all of my social media every time I’m done so I’m not tempted to constantly scroll. If I have to log in to everything I’m less tempted and it helps keep me off of it. I know how addicting social media can be, but have some balance so you can be present at the dinner table, and while you’re out with family and friends. Also, it’s easy to compare and compete with everyone on social media and it can create a lot of bad feelings of jealousy, resentment, etc. Seeing friends out, wondering why didn’t I get an invite? Or seeing people on trips, thinking I deserve a vacation? Seeing some strangers kids 1st birthday, thinking oh Lord I need to start planning my kid’s birthday is in 6 months!! You begin to live in an alternate reality and it’s not healthy. When you’re present you improve so many aspects of your life such as your social skills, creativity, you appreciate your own world more and you’re more playful because you’re in the CURRENT moment.
If you only take one thing away from everything I shared above, take this with you…
You don’t have to always be perfect to be great, you ARE enough mama and you ARE important so remember to put yourself first whenever you can, the old you would!