The Juggle Is Real
Many people have asked me how I maintain my sense of self after becoming a mom. It’s a tough question to answer. However, believe it or not, I’ve made greater efforts since starting the blog. How I maintain my sense of self after becoming a mom changes daily but I have made it a priority. Let me explain how and why.
Being a mother to Clark and Stone brings me great joy. I prayed and prayed for God to bless me with my children. My husband and I even paid a pretty penny for fertility treatments to conceive Clark. We wanted nothing more than to be parents. Stone came naturally much to our surprise, which is why they are so close in age. In addition, I wanted nothing more than to be a stay-at-home mom.
Personally, I don’t think I could’ve been a working mom when they were younger. I’m just not the multi-tasker I used to be. Plus, I was exhausted! I mean, hats off to the moms that go back to work with newborns. I am in awe of the superpowers you possess. Me, I would’ve been fired about five times had I tried that.
Being a stay-at-home mom to Clark and Stone was my dream. I enjoyed planning our days at museums, play spaces, playdates and family time. It was who I was. But, that’s the thing, it was all I was.
I will never forget the day I responded to a mom’s text to schedule a playdate—I responded with “we” are available. I mean, I wasn’t going to be playing at the playground. Why did I respond with “we”? It was because in my mind we had become a happy meal—conjoined triplets. What was going on? I had lost my sense of self.
The Oxygen Mask
Motherhood can be so tricky. It is a slippery slope, a tangled weave and a hard road traveled for women. Society teaches us to be sacrificial as mothers or we aren’t good enough. However, there is something wrong with that. It’s just like what flight attendants tell you on airplanes—you have to place the mask on yourself before you can help the person next to you.
This is why I started this blog—I decided to stake a claim in who I am outside of being a mother. I missed “me” before kids. I love the “me” with kids but that wasn’t enough, so I made it a priority to start putting myself first when Stone started school four days a week. With Clark already in school five days a week I no longer had an excuse for taking care of anyone else other than myself. I started to think about me first. It sounds so weird to say as a mother but it’s necessary. I noticed everyone in my household was thriving except me so I made a change.
The oxygen mask for me was creating a creative outlet. This is why my blog exists. This blog gives me something to think about outside of motherhood. It lights a fire in my brain daily. I think about it every day in terms of growth, what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong and the fun I’m having.
Writing has also always been a hobby and sharing my “finds” with my friends has always been my thing. Fashion is one of my longest passions and I love sharing. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things that interest me outside of my blog. But, when I made myself a priority again, I started doing everything that gave me joy. Working out became a priority again. Volunteering became a priority again. Or just getting a manicure or a massage. Basically, all the things I made excuses for not doing because I was too busy with my children, became part of my life. The oxygen mask is everything that gives me joy. I still struggle with guilt and balancing it all, but I’m happy.
Friends and Family
Time with friends and family that puts a smile on my face is also part of the oxygen mask. I make an effort to spend time with them. However, since working again, sometimes I’m less of the planner and more of the person showing up for them. I’ve also learned to not overextend myself. It’s just not good for me anymore. It feels bad initially, but again, I’m putting myself first for the sake of my sanity and wellbeing.
Attending a girls dinner or a much-needed momcation is exactly what the doctor ordered. My “mom squad” and my best friends are my lifeline. I remember not talking on the phone with friends unless the boys were taking a nap. This was all out of guilt and probably a little bit of craziness. Clark and Stone are just fine when I have to take a phone call. They are just fine when I leave them with the sitter for the evening. They are still alive when I go out of town.
I ventured out to Nicaragua in February with five moms from school. We were gone for five days. This was the first time EVER I was gone for more than four days. November (trip to Miami) was the first time I was gone for four days. I realized they still loved me, they were still healthy and they were the same cute little boys I left to go away when I returned.
Be Kind To Yourself
Here’s the deal. Motherhood is an amazing and tough journey. I take great pride in being responsible for the lives and wellbeing of my little boys. But we have been programmed as women to feel bad for making ourselves a priority. We are always last on the list. Or, we judge the women that are doing the very thing that we should do for ourselves. The moms you raise your eyebrows at for being at dinner or out of town are the moms that are happy with well-adjusted kids.
Be kind to yourself. Above all, it’s a necessity for you and your family. You don’t have to go back to work, just do something for yourself without feeling bad about it. You will feel so good for doing it and your children will love you for it.
If you feel this blog is for you, please share with a friend or two. I started this blog to inspire other moms to be kind to one another—to celebrate your wins while being a mom. Motherhood is hard but losing yourself is even harder. I hope I’ve inspired you to maintain your sense of self outside of motherhood.