Motherhood has this funny way of changing just about every aspect of your life. Seriously, nothing is ever the same after having children. It’s easy to lose your identity.
It’s both an awesome blessing and an eerie curse. Your priorities generally shift toward being a great mother. Your life slows down a bit to enjoy your new bundle of joy. The world suddenly scares you a lot more than it did just nine months prior. Eventually, your name becomes Mom. You can’t even remember what a childless Friday night feels like.
While you may at times welcome these changes, at the core of it all, you may feel like you’ve lost yourself in the process.
What do I enjoy eating? Probably not dino nuggets and mac and cheese. What do I enjoy watching on TV? Probably not Daniel Tiger or CoComelon. Who am I and what happened to the carefree, childless life I used to live?
As a mom of three, which includes a teenager, carving time and space to be myself has been a challenge. Holding on to your identity is vital and something every mother has to be mindful of.
Here are four awesome tips on how to reclaim yourself and remember who you were before kids.
1. Ditch the Mom Guilt
This one is much harder than it sounds. I totally get it. Good moms don’t depend on babysitters just to go out and have a good time, right? Wrong! As a mother it’s important to ditch the mom guilt.
Understand there is no such thing as a perfect mother. Don’t get wrapped up in that negative identity crisis. Don’t beat yourself up about wanting to have a life outside of being a mother.
You can be a great mom, a great wife, and a great friend or even a social butterfly if that’s your swag.
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Will your children hold it against you if you leave them with grandma and head out to a girls’ night with a few friends or coworkers? Absolutely not! Will your children one day resent you and your partner for having a monthly date night and leaving them with auntie for a few hours? No!
The key is finding the perfect mom-life balance. If you have a responsible caretaker, like your mother or a babysitter, who would love nothing more than to spend time with your little — DO IT.
2. Connect with Your Spouse or Significant Other
You have a partner in all this parenting stuff for a reason. Learn to lean into your spouse or significant other and allow your relationship to help you keep track of who you are.
Take time out for date nights to continue some of the fun activities that first brought you two together. Remember what it was like to spend weekends together before the kids? Get back to that from time to time.
Whether it be dinner, a fun activity like bowling, or just cuddling up together for a child-free Netflix binge, carve out time.
Even when you’re together at home as a family, be sure to spend a little time each day talking or doing something that doesn’t involve having to wear your “mom hat” for a while. Talk about something other than the kids or bills.
3. Maintain and Even Grow Your Personal Interests
Doesn’t matter if it’s crafting, cooking, sports, or gaming, try to find an activity you enjoy and hold on to it for dear life. No, seriously. It can be hard to keep up with an activity that is strictly for you. But that is what helps you find and cherish your identity.
And it’s vital to maintaining good mental health. Mom guilt can often cause you to skip out on doing the things you love. Of course your children are more important than knitting or catching up on the latest season of your favorite show. However, it’s important to make time and space for both.
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For an added bonus, join an awesome local moms group where you can connect with other moms in your area. Once again, finding your tribe and really making meaningful connections is vital to keeping your sanity and reclaiming your identity.
When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I joined Instagram and immediately began connecting with other homeschool moms from all over the world. It was refreshing to find other moms who face a lot of the same daily challenges. Having an outlet for it all was amazing.
That eventually led me to becoming a contributing writer for Dallas Moms. It gave me a great group of women to connect with and learn from. The Dallas Moms network is far-reaching, and you’re sure to find another mom in your area with similar interests. There’s a cool book club that meets monthly, and local neighborhood groups that schedule meetups and activities for moms and kids.
4. Establish a Self-Care Routine
Self-care is important for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Whatever it is that you do to your hair that makes you look and feel better, keep doing it. Carve out time for your self-care on at least a weekly basis.
I literally lock myself in the bathroom on Sunday nights, and that’s my self-care time. I shampoo and deep condition my hair, soak in the tub, paint my nails, read a book . . . it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, really, as long as it’s time spent making me feel better.
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Establish a workout routine and stick to it. Health is wealth. The pandemic put a lot of us in the habit of wearing loungewear and no makeup for way too long.
Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom who rarely leaves the house, self-care is critical. Put on a cute outfit, do your hair, and watch your mood improve for the day. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so pour into yourself regularly. Your family will thank you for it.
Yes, your new title is officially mom. That’s something you’ll just have to get used to. Parts of your identity may naturally fall to the wayside on this motherhood journey, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s important to keep tabs on who you are, what you enjoy, and what makes you happy.
You’re expected to learn, grow, and evolve as a woman, wife, and mother over the years. Don’t lose track of yourself along the way.