We all experience that feeling when we add a baby into the mix, where you show up at your parent’s house, or your non-baby-making friends, and all of a sudden, you are as good as chopped liver. All of the attention is now on this precious little swaddled being.
This only continues as the children grow, and start to become their own little people. More and more attention on them.
Your birthday is no longer the event of the year.
You are no longer the apple of your parent’s eye.
The child becomes the focus.
And while there is some health to this, it cannot become EVERYTHING.
You are still you.
One thing that I am learning is that there will come a day, probably not as far away as I assume, where these kids won’t need me anymore. I think I assume that I have 18 years for this to happen (which might as well be eternity when your kids are still taking naps and in diapers), but I’m learning that the detachment process actually starts much younger. I’ve been told kids start pulling away as early as 12 and 13. It’s a natural part of the process, but one that I’ve never really thought about. Even now, I’ve got school-age kids and all of a sudden, they are on the bus and away from me for more than 8 hours a day. My time with them already is much more limited (which on most days is the reason for my sanity!).
My point is that I don’t want to end up 10-20 years up the road, and not know who I am without my kids.
Yes, MOM is a title that I will own and wear for the rest of my life. But it will not be my identity forever. It will not be the thing that occupies every ounce of my being and all of my time.
Raising kids is actually a finite experience. This is why I think it’s so important to take care of yourself along the way. In, and during EACH season of motherhood.
Because when those kids go, you are still you. YOU are who you have to live with the rest of your life.
So invest in hobbies. Learn about what you love to do. Discover what makes your heart beat faster. Start a new job. Care for yourself.
YOU are the only thing you’re guaranteed to be with, until the day you die.
Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop growing. And definitely don’t buy into the lie that you are not WORTH caring for.
Take a hip hop class with a girlfriend. Go to the spa. Take 30 minutes to color in a coloring book just because you can.
Let’s not lose ourselves along the way of motherhood. Let’s stop treating ourselves like chopped liver, because you were created for a purpose and completely ON purpose.
Some things that I’ve done along the way:
- Schedule fun. Go to a concert. Coordinate a happy hour. Dance in the mirror with the music blaring. JUST HAVE FUN. This will quickly remind you that you’re an actual person outside of the little people.
- Create a playlist of songs that take you back to middle school or high school days. When you had not a care in the world. Embrace the nostalgia of the days when you were the only one you needed to care for.
- Get inspired. Listen to a podcast or read a book. Tackle the self-help world, or discover a new genre or something that you love and listen to it while you do chores.