Finding Your Identity in Motherhood
Oof. This morning has been quite the whirlwind. Adam offered to take Leo and give me a break. I’ve been dreaming of this day and couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I can count on one hand the amount of times Adam has taken Leo and left the house… mostly because we go do things together and I love nothing more than spending time with my boys.
This morning we abruptly woke up late which is fine because little guy needs all the sleep he can get but I felt so off. I can’t really explain it other than crippling anxiety/extremely emotional. I was getting frustrated, heated, literally word vomiting and blaming my morning (already) on the fact we woke up late.
Then it became a fear of them getting into an accident or something terrible happening but when they left I realized why I was feeling all of these emotions… it was because I feared being alone.
You would think that after 15 months of Leo being earth side I would have some sense of self, right? I thought so too. But the reality is I’ve never really mourned my old self or allowed myself to create a new sense of self. Nope. Instead, I immediately stepped into my role as a mother and haven’t looked back since. Everything I’ve done and every decision I’ve made has, inevitably, been for Leo and our little family. Even this website came about because of Leo.
So Adam and Leo left. I was alone. I literally sat on my phone, scrolling through Instagram and quickly realized I was wasting my time. I thought about things that mattered to me and ended up reaching out to a friend, checking in on them, and telling them how much they mean to me. Then I decided to go grab a tea and ended up paying for the person behind me because I know how amazing it feels to have someone buy your coffee. It will make any crappy day a lot less crappy.
After that, I didn’t want to be seen by said car so I went and parked at the YMCA and sipped on my tea when all of the sudden I burst into tears thinking about how I’ve lost my sense of self. It came out of nowhere to me, at least consciously. I think all morning and the days leading up to my “solo time” it had been bubbling up in my unconscious mind but I never fully addressed it. Instead I was trying to run away from it and pretend that everything else going wrong was why I was so upset.
Before I left the parking lot I texted my sister and said, “Is it sad that I’ve been crying for like 20 minutes because Adam took Leo so I could have the morning off and I don’t even know how to spend it because I’ve lost my identity as a person?” and her response really got me. She said, “No!! That’s what happens when you become a mom. Use the time to get back to it!”
Here I am thinking everyone else has it together and I’m selfishly crying because I don’t know who I am anymore or how to function without Leo, but I’m not the not the only one. Almost every mother I’ve talked to has been in this exact same place emotionally.
We’ve been programmed to step into our role and forget about how we’re feeling because everyone is so focused on the baby and we should be too. Which is true; however, how you feel and the emotions you’re experiencing as a mother matters. A mother should take time to emotionally process the shedding of her old self while simultaneously settling into her new role as a mother.
It’s hard but it has to be done, otherwise you may find yourself in a deep bout of sadness and depression, feeling like you don’t really amount to anything or your incapable or that you’ve just completely lost yourself. You’ll feel off or just not yourself and no matter what you do or how many people try to encourage you, in the end it’s up to you to dig deep and address it. I say “may” because maybe you will feel way or maybe you won’t… all I know is I did and know other mothers who feel this way.
But what does that look like really? I’m not sure I have the answer to that but I do know that, for me, it’s going to be taking more time for myself and taking care/nurturing myself more properly. For example showering is great but, for me, it’s a task. Taking a bath and unwinding with a glass of wine, on the other hand, is more of a relaxing/nurturing thing I can do for myself. So I’m going to make it a goal to take one bath per week.
So yeah, this morning has been really great in that I’ve been able to address the root issue and now I’m taking my sisters advice and getting back to it!
Mamas, we’ve got to take better care of ourselves so we can take the best care of our family. We need to teach our children that it’s important to process things and take time for ourselves instead of bottling up emotions, not processing, and trying to function on a lot of coffee, maybe a meal or two, and a snack (guilty).
What are some tips you have to better care for yourself?
P.s. even though you may not think it, you’re doing an incredibly job. Being a mother is so complex and very emotional. We’re all just trying our best <3