The transition to parenthood is a beautiful thing, but often new parents struggle to see how they have changed during the process.
Ever since I could remember, motherhood was something that I wanted in my life. I wanted to become a parent more than I wanted to be rich or famous. In fact, money was never a priority for me. I wanted to fall in love. I wanted to create my own family. I would envision miniature versions of myself and the person who loved me. I pictured them to have blue eyes, end-curled brown hair, and chubby cheeks.
I welcomed my first child back in the summer of 2015. A beautiful baby girl came on her due date. I was so proud of this achievement; I was a mother to a happy and sweet bundle of joy. I finally understood what they meant about “love at first sight” when I looked down at her sleeping face. My life made sense, complete with a purpose to love this little girl so much that she learned how to navigate life with self-love.
What an honor to be a mother.
That was until I learned the cold hard truth: that motherhood is not respected or valued. Sure, we celebrate mothers on Mother’s Day but apart from that? Absolutely not. You are simultaneously supposed to know everything but not know anything at the same time.
I realized real quick that I didn’t matter anymore. I suddenly just served as a provider for my child, but that didn’t matter either. I felt isolated, alone, terrified. I lost sight of who I was because I was no longer me. I was “just a mom” and the achievement that I wanted for my entire life was empty, it was hollow, it was lonely
Raising My Three and Me presents…. how to find yourself again after parenthood.
Something changed after I had my third daughter, almost a year ago today. I was no longer afraid to use my voice and advocate for myself and my daughters. I no longer care what others have to say about how I choose to parent my children because I do my best. I do my own research and follow my instincts and no longer seek validation for my parenting journey.
Here are five tips on how you, too, can find yourself again in this journey.
Indulge in an old hobby or find a new one to try:
The best spot to start with this is to remember what you used to do for fun before you had your child(ren). Perhaps you really enjoyed playing an instrument, sketching birds in your backyard, or going to the movies on the weekend – whatever that was then break it out and do it. If you’re someone who never really had a hobby when you were growing up, or are struggling to figure it out, here are some ideas:
- Get into reading: check out your local library, read blog posts, purchase a new book, listen to an audiobook, or check out e-books on programs like Kindle Unlimited.
- Play video games either alone or with your partner.
- Get creative. (painting, drawing, scrapbooking, upcycling, coloring)
- Watch something that speaks to you such as: your favorite movie, a documentary, YouTube videos, Twitch streams, or a TV series that you’re interested in trying.
- Spend some time outside (fishing, hiking, running, going for nature walks, star-gazing, etc.)
- Try a new skill. (photography, filming, editing, sewing, knitting)
Try personal growth exercises:
I’m a sucker when it comes to personal growth. In fact, so are you, unless you stay stagnant for the rest of your life. As someone who gets really scared of change, growth can often be overwhelming and uncomfortable. I get it! However, this is a great way to find yourself again after becoming a parent.
Here are some ideas:
- Try something new for a duration of seven or 30 days.
- Reflect on your past self.
- Do the Level 10 Life exercise.
- Read self-help books.
- Get into journaling (this helps with navigating your thoughts)
- Set goals for what you want out of life.
- Face a fear.
- Create a vision board.
- Create routines.
- Seek therapy services or visit your doctor.
- Declutter a space that overwehlms you.
- Have an admin day where you get stuff done.
Schedule in self-care:
Let’s get this one out of the way, self-care is not the same thing as being selfish. Self-care is what every single person out there does. I’m a huge advocate for self-care, especially for parents! Did you know that there are six main areas of self-care? The areas are: emotional, mental, physical, practical, social, and spiritual. If it feels weird to you, you’re not alone. With the guilt behind motherhood, even a second away from our little ones can feel horrible. What if something bad happens? Am I neglecting them?
No. You are not neglecting them by taking time to yourself. If you find yourself feeling flustered at the slightest, smallest things, that’s usually an indicator that you’re pouring from an empty cup. You can fill it by doing whatever makes you happy.
Everybody deserves time to themselves. That includes parents.
- Set a certain day of the week or time block for just you. If this is too hard, physically jot it down in your calendar.
- Show up for yourself like you would expect a friend to. If you say you’re going to read after the kids are in bed, you read after the kids are in bed!
- Figure out what feeds your sould. I personally thrive on long hot showers and playing some video games. I don’t like to exercise at all and I don’t really leave my house. I figure out what I like to do and I fill my cup that way. Self-care is not a one-size-fits all.
- Self-care is also the basics: water, eating, hygiene, and enough sleep. Check in with those first and take care of yourself!
- Start small. Even doing something for yourself for five minutes is an improvement from the zero minutes.
- Ask yourself “what is one thing I can do right now/today to feel better” and then go and do it. D0 this until you don’t need the assistance in figuring it out.
- Remember that you’re worth it and are allowed to have time to yourself.
Set (and keep) boundaries with others:
It’s important to create and keep boundaries in order to find yourself again. If you’re too busy helping others then you will not have the energy for anything. As an introvert, who heavily bases things on energy, this is important to me. You are not a bad person for saying no, shutting off your electronics, or telling your kids that you need some time to yourself. Setting boundaries is not always enough, you have to be able to enforce those boundaries. I personally taught my kids “boundaries” and that is usually enough, but sometimes I have to put them in their playroom for individual time and let my baby play in her playpen while I take a moment to myself.
It’s okay to focus on yourself at times. Other people are not entitled to your time, your energy, your space, and to invalidate who you are.
If your kids are happy, healthy, and taken care of – you are doing your job.
Find someone to inspire you:
Throughout your journey of finding yourself, you might need some inspiration or motivation on your journey. If someone continuously makes you feel bad about yourself, unfollow them. Follow tags on Instagram of people with similar mindsets, look on sites like Pinterest for ideas, watch YouTube videos of people getting their life together.
Parenting is hard work, no matter the decisions that you make for your family. Although I would never trade my kids for anything in this world, it’s not always enjoyable. This transition would have been so much easier for me if I learned that it’s okay to be myself still. I don’t want that for other parents. I don’t want them to feel like they no longer matter no matter what they do. I want parents to be able to love their lives and parenting journies because they found themselves again.
I’m proud to be a mother, but I’m also happy with being able to be my own person.
That’s it for me, see you next time!
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