When I found out I was going to be a mother, I was nervous but excited. There was so much that had to be done before my due date. It was stressing me out! I was worried about finding great childcare and picking out the right car seat. No one told me that I needed to also be concerned about me. More specifically, losing myself in motherhood.
My life has not been the same since I had my baby. I made every waking moment about her and only her. Fear of failing at motherhood blinded me to the rest of life.
“Eventually, it became difficult to remember who I was before I became a mom.
It’s safe to say that I had lost myself in motherhood. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for women to have an identity crisis once they become moms. What can we do about it? I’m glad you asked!
The key to finding yourself in motherhood is self-care! According to PyschCentral self-care is an activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. As a mom, taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of our babies.
Related: Self-Care Strategies
Before the baby, self-care was most likely something you didn’t have to think about at all! There was plenty of time to “take care” of you. You may not have even realized you were doing self-care. Now, it’s necessary to be deliberate and diligent about taking care of self.
Let’s start with the basics:
Take a vested interest in your appearance.
There’s an old saying that “when you look good, you feel good” and this is so true! I always make sure that the baby looks her best but I stopped putting the effort in my own appearance. It showed physically and mentally. I was having a hard time identifying with the person looking back at me in the mirror. That was the first clue that I had lost myself in motherhood.
Actually combing my hair, putting on a little makeup, and matching clothes made a huge difference in my wellbeing. The old me was starting to make an appearance. It was like a load of weights was lifted just by me looking like myself.
Go and get your hair done. Schedule time to get a manicure and a pedicure. Not only will it help you look good, but it also has actual health benefits. The massages you receive during your mani/pedi helps you have better blood flow. The cleansing that occurs decreases the chances of you developing infections. Most importantly, going to the hair salon and getting your nails and feet done will make you feel good!
If you don’t want to spend the money on these activities, you can achieve the same results by doing it yourself at home.
Go somewhere alone
When was the last time you had time to yourself? You without the baby and without your significant other. Going to work doesn’t count!
Alone time is powerful and necessary. It allows you to decompress and reflect. You get the opportunity to just think about you and your needs. Alone time is a stress reliever and will allow you to reconnect with those around you.
Often times when we are stressed we are no good for anyone. Not our spouses and not our children. Our ability to problem solve is dramatically decreased and we find ourselves being snappy or short with those around us.
You can go for a walk, take a long a bath, go to the mall or even go to the grocery store. Whatever activity you enjoy will do. Like the hair appointment and nail appointment, you’ll have to make a point to schedule your alone time. Otherwise, it may never happen.
Set personal goals
Prior to having my daughter, I was very goal oriented and career focused. After having my daughter I neglected my own hopes and dreams and concentrated on my role as a mother. This was unhealthy for me and my motherhood journey. My daughter is still my main priority but I have realized that balance is key. I cannot be the best mother if I’m not the best me.
Setting personal goals allows you to maintain a sense of self and forward progression. It is so easy to get lost in your motherhood journey. Having goals of your own will remind you that your wants and needs are important too.
When your baby or child sees mom happy and thriving, they will feel that energy and be happy too! Set long-term goals but don’t forget to outline the small steps it takes to achieve them. As you cross items off your list, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.
By re-implementing goal setting in my life, I instantly reconnected with my old self. Now I know I can still be the go-getter that I am and an excellent mother simultaneously. It’s not a competition, instead, it’s a delicate balance.
Read More: Goal Setting Recipe
Utilize your support system whether that’s your significant other, your parents, or your best friend. If you personally lack a support system you can seek out parenting groups and local mom groups via social media. Also, try connecting with other moms at your child’s childcare facility.
The saying it takes a village to raise a child, is an understatement. These days social media would have us believe that we can do it all without help. Don’t believe the hype! Just because you can’t see someone in the picture helping that mom, doesn’t mean that mother isn’t receiving help.
You are not failing because you need help. We all need help. Trying to do it all alone will only increase your stress and cause you to lose yourself in motherhood.
Motherhood is a beautiful thing that is not without stressors or struggles. There is no road map to follow but make sure to not lose yourself on the journey. Take time to pamper yourself, schedule your alone time, keep setting goals, and don’t turn down good help! Taking the time to take care of yourself can make the difference in being a relaxed mom or a stressed mom. Your life as you knew it doesn’t have to end because you’re now a mother. You got this mama!
Keyona, the co-author of the It’s a Baby blog, is the mother of a beautiful 15-month-old baby girl. When she’s not mothering her new baby, Keyona works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, (CRNA), in North Carolina. She enjoys all things HGTV and DIY. When her daughter gets older, she hopes to be able to relish in one of her other loves, reading. You can read more about Keyona’s experiences at www.professionalmomma.com