Finding Myself

29 Jun

Motherhood is tough.  As in really tough.  I don’t know a single mom who doesn’t struggle with juggling being a parent, being a spouse, being a girlfriend, being an employee or employer, or being a stay at home mom.  As a mom you have one (or more!) little being that you are entirely responsible for.  Food, shelter, safety are the basics.  Some days those alone are hard enough.  Go further up the scale and giving your love, time, and attention to those little ones is time consuming.  And did I mention, hard?  Then there are chores to do, a job that puts food on that plate, bills to pay, school functions to attend, schedules to manage. That is a lot of time that we as moms used to spend on ourselves.  Just gone.

Because part of being a mom means you want what is best for your children.  Add in some medical appointments and therapies and IEPs and counseling, and (again) all the other things you need to do in life, it seems like that bank of time spent on yourself is the easiest to pull from.

However, I’m sure you are all familiar with overdraft fees.  If you pull too much money out of your checking account the bank will charge you even more for the lack of money that is in there.  That’s what I consider those constant stressors to be.  Just continuous deductions from yourself until suddenly you’re not only empty, but in the deficit.

And it’s kind of embarrassing and sad to realize you’re there.  Suddenly you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person you are.  At least that’s what happened to me.

I spent so many years completely engaged in caring for everyone else’s needs and kept pushing my own aside until I felt depleted.  And not only did I not want to do anything “fun.”  I FORGOT what it was I like to do for fun.  I forgot who I was other than being my kid’s mom and my husband’s wife and the cleaner-upper of this house.  (Sadly, I wasn’t very good at that one).

But I did wake up one day and realized that I need more to myself than “just” being a mom.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not diminishing the importance of that role.  I think it’s still my most important.  I love not only being a mom, but being my children’s mom.  I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything.  But in order to be a BETTER mom I had to take some time to just find myself again.

I rediscovered I love to write.  I remembered walking in the woods and how much I loved it and began to hike again.  I emailed a friend and said “hey, can I read your book?  I can edit or give you advice, whatever” and suddenly that surge of creativity was released.  I walked up a path up a very large hill, set aside my fear of heights and enjoyed the view.  I started asking friends to meet up again.  And followed through.  In one day I managed to meet up with two of my best friends in the entire world.  I smiled that entire day.  I dyed my hair, cut it short and sassy, bought a pair of heels and new makeup and went on a date (or a couple) with my husband.

And I like myself again.  I like my kids even more.  By padding that account with a little bit of “me time” when they make a withdrawal (20 minute tantrum over what color bowl they want for their snack and running out of insulin when we are sitting in an hour long appointment) it doesn’t hurt as much.  I’m not in the negatives.  In fact, I’m still in a positive balance and by staying there the stress of “running out” isn’t there.  I enjoy my kids more, I have the energy to clean more (no, my house still isn’t spotless), and I smile.  I laugh and I include them on those fun things I like to do.  While I’m writing my youngest usually paints (she’s better at drawing at four than I ever have been in my whole life), when I want to hike my girls will happily jump in the stroller and let me push them around.  One at a time though–there’s not a stroller tough enough for the both of them together!

So mamas, I beg you.  Take some time to do what you love to do.  See your friends, read a book, go dancing, go hiking, or whatever suits YOUR fancy.  Your kids will see the difference and I guarantee you you will feel the difference.  If you feel like you lost yourself in motherhood, go find yourself again.  You’re there.  I guarantee it.



17 Responses to “Finding Myself”

  1. sabrinasanderson1 July 6, 2016 at 4:10 am #

    Wow! I had never looked at my lack of “me time” as becoming overdrawn. What a beautiful analogy. I struggle finding me time. I’m lousy at it. My doctor actually ordered me to find something that was just for me. I am searching now for something that feeds my soul and recharges me but in the same sense doesn’t cost me anything either. It was hard to hear the doctor say to me that he wanted me to do something for myself without serving or being there for anyone else. To be selfish. That is hard as a mom and wife. I am trying though. I haven’t found that one thing that I feel is it, but boy am I trying. Thank you for your blog. It is a refreshing breath of air.

    • mylifewiththree July 6, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

      It is very hard. And my practitioner said the same thing. My advice is to think back to when you were young and start trying things you did then! I even find coloring to be calming and there are so many adult books or free printoffs you could try.

      If this post touched you I am happy 💕 I hope you get some you time!

      • sabrinasanderson1 July 7, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

        Thanks for the advice! I am now thinking back to what made me happy as a kid. What a wonderful way to look at it. I loved coloring and doodling so I think I am going to try that first! Keep on writing. I love your blog.

  2. Ryn's Mom July 6, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Totally agree with what you say.

  3. ainsobriety July 7, 2016 at 2:09 am #

    Self care is so important. I’ve been there too. We are lucky to have found life again!

  4. LeaAnne Killinger July 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm #

    Yes, yes, so much yes!

    I have cared for my disabled daughter alone for most of her life. We were forced to leave her father when she was 3 yrs old, because it was an abusive situation, and with the exception of a short lived marriage more than a decade later, it’s just been my daughter and I.

    I spent the first four years of my daughter’s life working 30 hours a week and going to college full time to get my bachelor’s degree. I spent the following years taking care of my daughter’s many medical, educational, and life needs and trying like hell to hold down full time jobs that would allow me to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. My energy deficit was huge.

    My daughter is 21 years old now, and I find myself disabled, with rheumatoid arthritis. The constant pain is most debilitating. As mothers, it is so easy to forget the basic and unchanging rule–you must care for yourself first, or you will be unable to care for anyone else. I liken it to the advice that flight attendants give on every takeoff: “In case of emergency, secure your OWN oxygen mask FIRST, then assist your children.” You are no good to anyone, least of all your children, if you are passed out from lack of oxygen.

    In order to love and care for others, you must care for yourself first. It is not selfish and you should not feel guilty. It is necessity.

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. smer3124 July 8, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. Reading your words and snippets of your life are interesting and insightful. They make me feel uplifted and inspired. I look forward to reading more…. Thank you

  6. loubantock July 24, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    Only been a Momma for 12 weeks, but wow, where on earth did my time go?
    If I’m not sterilising and making bottles I’m fighting through a massive pile of tiny milk stained clothes, doing the washing up that keeps piling up in the sick and constantly vacuuming the living room.
    I would love to get some time for me back, even just an hour every now and then to enjoy a looooong hot shower!!

    • mylifewiththree July 24, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

      Oh gosh, those first few months are hard! Plus you live on that lack of sleep thing. Honestly, when my oldest was tiny and I fought that feeling I put him safely in his crib, left the bedroom and bathroom door open and took a looooong hot shower. I called that my time out when I needed it.

  7. aprilmangrum82 July 6, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    I just started reading your blog and I feel like we are writing soul sisters! I have a few similar posts, and you are absolutely right.

    • mylifewiththree July 6, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

      I’m making this note to remind myself to read:)

      • aprilmangrum82 July 6, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

        I read your blog about the splash park last year, and it popped up on my facebook memories. I struggled with infertility, I have a two little girls that I blog about, and a nephew I love insanely 🙂 Look forward to any feedback you can offer!

      • mylifewiththree July 7, 2017 at 12:26 am #

        I read a few of your blogs and I give you giant hugs for the heartaches you go through. Cherish what makes you smile and it sounds like you have love in your life. Hold on tight❤️

      • aprilmangrum82 November 28, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

        Thanks hope you enjoy reading them 🙂

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