I have to preface this blog post by stating the obvious: I love being a mom. I really do. My heart bursts multiple times a day with the most ridiculous, gut-wrenching kind of love. It’s something you don’t truly understand until you have a kid. And it’s something that makes it all worth it, day in and day out — even on the hardest of days.
That being said, I have often had trouble adjusting to motherhood. It’s no secret, really. I have never felt like a ‘natural’ mom. I never ‘dreamed’ of being a mother, and sometimes motherhood can still feel foreign to me. I spend a LOT of time reminiscing about days gone by when I had ZERO responsibilities. I’m an extreme introvert, and need a lot of down time/alone time to get through the day, which can be difficult to accomplish with a kid. Weekends no longer feel like a respite for me, and instead can be even busier than the weekdays. The lack of rhythms on the weekend causes me some anxiety, for sure. And most of all, I struggle with the guilt. I want to be one of those moms who is going everywhere and doing everything, but I just don’t have it in me. I want to be the “fun mom”, but instead I’m the mom who likes to wear her fluffy robe at home — and I hope that’s enough for her.
Over time, I’m learning that there are things I can do to help ease these feelings and feel more like myself again. It’s so important for me to have hobbies/a social life/a life outside of being a mom. It’s the number one reason why I’m not sure I could be a stay at home mom or even have a second child (these are the kinds of things that keep me up at night, in case you were wondering).
Are you an introverted mom, like me? Or, do you need to find a better balance between being a mom and being “yourself”? Here’s what helps me when I’m in the middle of a “Mom Funk”:
1. Designate a weekly day ‘off’. For me, this is Thursday evenings. I go to a weekly local “peer support” group for Moms. Here, we chat about our struggles in motherhood (and life, generally), and offer suggestions to help one another. No, it’s not an entire day ‘off’, but it’s a day off of the supper and bedtime routine. This one simple thing has become a lifeline for me. After work, if I’m lucky, I’ll go grab a bite to eat (alone!) before the meeting. It’s the one place I feel like myself again — not “Amanda the Mom” or “Amanda the Employee”. Just me.
2. Chase a passion. I’ve been told several times that I don’t have any ‘hobbies’. (I do, they’re just somewhat invisible — no one seems to notice that I like writing and reading — but maybe I do need to branch out a bit). I love photography and crafting and home decor, and sometimes — makeup. I need to indulge in those passions every once in a while — again, to remind myself that I’m still the same old “Amanda”. I recently took a photography class, and while I didn’t make it to every class, I loved the fact that it was “my time” and I was doing something I loved.
3. Be spontaneous. When I was younger, one of my favourite things in the whole world was being spontaneous. There were days we lazed around, blissfully without deadlines or responsibilities, until some ridiculous idea crossed our minds. There were nights we snuck out on “juice runs” (and yes, it was really just juice — promise) at 3 a.m. There was an entire trip to Europe with very little pre-planning. Yes, sometimes alcohol was involved, and no, I’m not 22 anymore, but being spontaneous makes me feel ‘alive’. It’s absolutely something I miss out on now that I’m a mom and a professional. It’s something that I think most moms miss out on.
4. Treat yo self. Honestly — why are moms so awful at putting themselves first? You do SO much, mama. Book that spa day. Buy that sweater — do whatever it is you need to do to feel good about yourself. You’ll come back home with an infectious smile on your face, and your kiddos will benefit.
5. Spend a night out on the town. Gather up your friends (even if you have to force them) and forget about being a mom for just one night. Secure help for the following day so you don’t have to worry about parenting hungover. LET LOOSE. Seriously. This is one of my most favourite things to do in the world. I acknowledge that I am not as young as I used to be, and that there aren’t many people who actually DO love to go out at my age, but I refuse to relegate myself to the house until retirement (and my beloved fluffy robe needs a break, desperately). Even once a year is all it takes. I just want to get silly on a bottle of my favourite wine with my friends. That alone is the best therapy.
What do you do to feel like “you” again?