I often reflect on what my life was like before kids. Honestly, if it weren’t for my collection of photos on early social media platforms I’d have no clue what being more than just a mama is like. Finding a balance between mama and various titles, including woman, has been a struggle. I’ve wanted to find my individuality for so long. I know being a mom is amazing but I know being ME and a role model to my kids is just as important. I’ve learned some tips along the way mostly through trial and error.
After being a stay-at-home mom for 3 years, I realized I needed to get out. I needed to make friends in this new state we moved cross country to and to rediscover myself. I wanted to fill the void that being “just mom” wasn’t filling. I wanted to find who ME was. To do this, I had to really organize myself and learn to balance being more than just mom.
Here are a few things I’ve learned:
1. Change your state of mind. Feeling guilty or sad about wanting time for yourself is normal, but you must not let it take over. I felt terrible for wanting 15 minutes to myself or even a date night with my husband. After all I am the mom, but I realized my kids don’t need me by their side all day for them to function. This reminds me of the days I unintentionally would make my mom feel guilty because she couldn’t stay home with my brothers and I. My parents worked a lot to provide for us. I understand now why I am so hard on myself at times – I don’t want my kids to miss me like I missed my parents, especially not for a me wanting alone time. After I take some time to myself, my kids rather have a relaxed and happy mama to play with, rather than a tired and stressed one.
2. Mark your calendar with a Promise. Plan out your month and include one date night, one day out for “ME” time, and anything else you may need. Write it out on a calendar with a pen… a permanent one. I realized that by doing so with a pen I was less likely to change plans, as opposed to using my #2 pencil. I was also promising that time to my relationship with my husband and to myself. I learned that making these dates just as important as my kids’ monthly activities was crucial and they really helped me in gaining individuality.
3. Try something new. Whether it’s a girl’s night out, a new outfit, makeup, or food; just try something new. Try something because you want to try it and because it takes you out of your comfort zone just a little. We are trying to rediscover ourselves right? You will discover how many new things you really do end up liking. During a quick trip to my local makeup store I tried some red lip color. This was definitely different then my go-to nude lip color, and guess what? I was so in love! The color was so flattering and bonus points for my husband loving it on me too.
4. Start a journal. You will be surprised how much it helps to just write out your thoughts before bed and to reflect on what your needs are. I discovered what I really wanted most was just some quiet time to think that wasn’t between the hours of midnight and 5 am. I also realized how much I enjoyed cooking for my kids. This allowed me to plan more cooking with mama dates.
5. Ask for help. Even if it’s for 30 minutes to yourself in your house, ask for help. Having time to yourself can be a real energy boost. I use to think napping while the kids napped was my energy boost and alone time. When the kids stopped napping I was back to feeling like a chicken with no head. I learned to ask family and husband to watch the kids for a few minutes. Running errands on my own and staying an extra 10 minutes in the car helped me reprogram before entering my house again. I knew my kids were safe and taken care of and it took a little of the guilt away because I was in fact just outside in the car.
Finding the perfect balance in life continues as life changes and kids grow. Being a mama, a wife, sister, and everything else wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the mujer, woman, I know I am and can be.
How do you make time for yourself? What are your tips to keeping your individuality while being mom and wife?