Let’s face it. Becoming a parent changes your life in more ways than most of us expect. One such incredibly common yet often unexpected change, particularly for moms, is a temporary loss of self identity. It does not happen all at once and most of the time it happens quite subconsciously. Yet, diaper after diaper and bath after bath, we give ourselves up to those little beings we adore and who rely on us for their basic human needs.
In time, however, we may come to realize that our children are becoming a bit more self-sufficient and that perhaps it is time for us to take a piece of ourselves back. Though we may love those little humans with every fiber of our beings, we realize that it is important to be whole in order to feel whole.
This is not to say that all mothers feel this way, of course. Yet many of us find that we have a need to get back to feeling like ourselves, whether that means physically, intellectually, emotionally, or some combination of the above. For those of us in this camp, clearing that path for ourselves leaves us feeling re-energized in a way that makes us even better parents.
From joining a gym or a book club, to a renewed focus on career or finding an entirely new one, what makes us feel whole will vary from mother-to-mother. While some may know exactly what they need, it may take others some time to figure it out. With motherhood our sense of priorities may change, but it is important to still honor our sense of self. Here’s how these writers found their peace of mind in motherhood:
How moms can reclaim their sense of self 1 of 8
Taking time to figure it out 2 of 8
It takes sleep and time… I felt like someone else after having kids, and I needed a chance and space to figure out who that was, it's a constant evolution. — Hillary Chybinski, MyScraps.com
Finding the right blend 3 of 8
I had to redefine my purpose in life. I always thought that it was my job to make kids fit into my adult world. So many women do the opposite and try to fit their adult selves into a child-centered world. The best way is to realize it's a little of both and learn to enjoy both. — Fadra Nally, AllThingsFadra.com
Prioritizing accordingly 4 of 8
I get up early and fit in those morning runs, I make time to get a shower and put on makeup, and I hired a personal trainer to help me get in shape. I enlist my husband's help with kids and household so I'm not doing it all alone, and we try not to over-schedule our kids so we don't get worn thin. I think all of that contributes to my ability to get back that sense of self after having kids. — Jo-Lynne Shane, MusingsofaHousewife.com
Making "Me" time 5 of 8
I found my sense of self after becoming a mom by building community - especially by blogging. It's WHY I started blogging. But allowing myself the "indulgence" of ME time, where I focused on myself (blogging, running, reading, girls nights out, getting my nails done, etc) - I started discovering the "New Me" - the me of who I am now as a mom. — Stephanie Anderson, ModernDayDonnaReed.com
Maintaining your uniqueness 6 of 8
I try to take time for me. Whether it's a 15 minute shower, blasting music I love and dancing in the kitchen, a date night or a girls' night. I try to find things that make me, me. The way I dress. The way I eat. The way I entertain myself with my girlfriends. These are pieces of me that never went away, and it's important to make sure I remember these pieces. — Audrey McClelland, MomGenerations.com
Start something big 7 of 8
I founded my business, Pure Natural Diva, after having my children. Having an outlet where I could express myself, and connect with other "grown-ups" around a subject other than my babies ... that was key. My business gave me a place to be, where I was more than mom. Now that my children are both in school full-time, it's exciting to be taking the business to the next level with a line of natural, botanical perfumes. I will say that now I have a whole new dilemma - trying to keep motherhood, family, and the business in balance. - Tania Reuben, PureNaturalDiva.com & PNDBotanicals.com
Creating your own path 8 of 8
Let go of the guilt and find the style of parenting that works for you. One of my best friends embraced being a stay-at-home mom and became a strong advocate for attachment parenting, co-sleeping, exclusive breastfeeding and more. She's happy with her choices, and it's the right decision for her family. When I felt pressure to make the same choices, I was miserable. My mother told me that "a happy mom will have happy kids." She encouraged me to do what I felt was right for my family. Guess what? I'm happier as a working mom, and I'm not ashamed to say that I supplemented with formula. My children are happy, healthy and thriving. — Debbie Bookstaber, Mamanista.com