I don’t know about you, but I had a pretty tough time as a new mom. I missed sleep. I missed my body. I missed being able to go out to dinner or jump in the car and go whenever I wanted. Basically…I missed ME. And then of course – like every other new parent out there with these same emotions – I felt GUILTY for wanting to get back a piece of my old life.
But you know something? Wanting to reclaim your identity after having kids is a natural progression for a parent. It’s normal because your identity is your SEXY, and your sexy defines you.
As a mother, I didn’t have enough hours in the day to manage all the tasks that go along with raising two daughters. But as my girls got older, I found myself needing more to do with my own life. I needed to have something for myself. I needed something to remind me of who exactly I was and would become. Some moms are lucky enough to retain their identities once the munchkins arrive, but I wasn’t one of them. Not only did I need more, I CRAVED more. So, I turned to the gym to fill this space for me. I could take it all out in cardio and weights.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing to become immersed in motherhood. It's great that you love your children – you should! It’s when you begin to lose your identity that it becomes a problem. If you have kids, you know what I mean. One day you look in the mirror and wonder, “Who is that?” Or perhaps you even find yourself in the grocery store suddenly forgetting how to communicate with people over the age of 5. When you are the caretaker of everyone, those maternal instincts can directly conflict with having any individuality.
The thing is, you must maintain a strong sense of self if you want to be the best for your kids and family. You are a person too. You have dreams, hopes, likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. Start pushing these things into the background, and you are going to suffer from burnout or lose yourself completely. Simply look at the staggering depression statistics among women who have children. There is really no safe ground. It can occur postpartum or at later stages of motherhood.
And I get it, you’re probably thinking, "This could never happen to me." But it can! There is good news, though, mamma. There are ways to help you stay true to yourself and be an amazing parent at the same time. Here are some suggestions:
- Avoid being overly-possessive. When you try to control every single aspect your child’s life, you give away your personal power to your kid.
- Don't try to please your kids all the time. Not only will you wear yourself out, but you'll lose their respect, and you'll stop respecting yourself.
- Remember your own needs. Listen to them.
- When your kids make mistakes, remember it doesn't reflect on you. Too many moms feel like failures when their kids screw up. Letting them learn through their own experiences eventually teaches them to become self-directed.
- Have a life outside of your kids. I know, it sounds impossible. However, you need your own passions that include friendships, family and activities you enjoy.
- Eliminate words like "guilty" and "selfish" from your vocabulary. When you use these labels, they destroy your confidence and diminish your true worth.
- Realize that your kids don't ALWAYS need you for every little thing. There are quite a few things they can do on their own…you just have to let them.
- Get your spouse involved. If you are a single parent, then recruit the help of friends and family. You shouldn't have to do this alone.
If you no longer know who lives inside your body, it's time to do something about it. Moms who consider their own needs along with their children’s can live with balance. They’re able to parent from a place of strength and happiness, ultimately empowering their children to approach life the same way.
Happy Mother's Day!