MOMLIFE AND PRESERVING YOUR OWN SELF
Momlife = that life where is everything revolves around your family, partner and children.
When I was at varsity people couldn’t get enough of advocating the study / play balance. Don’t go and party too much but by the same token don’t stay indoors and not enjoy varsity life.
After that there was the work / life balance. Most of us ignored this while scrambling up the corporate rungs.
But in this stage of my life I think the concept of a mom/life balance needs to be explored.
I struggle to find the balance between being a mom and being me. They are so intrinsically linked. After leaving work almost all of my identity is tied to me being a mom.
The different versions of you
I know there is so much more to me that just being a mom and a wife. When I lie in bed or after everyone has gone to sleep I find me.
At this stage in your life there are at least two people you are trying to be. Being married or in a serious relationship sets up a third role that requires attention – the partner role.
If like me you’re married: you’re trying to be a mom, a wife and you.
If like me you’re married: you’re trying to be a mom, a wife and you. The “you” part is unfortunately the part that goes missing first. Sometimes it’s followed by the wife/partner/ spouse part. Somehow the mom part clings on for dear life.
What’s so hard here is that you’re fighting not only yourself and societal pressures (probably) but also the expectations you have of yourself. The expectations you have for yourself have been created subliminally over the years. You may have only become aware of it but those expectations have been playing in the back of your mind for years. Like a good wine, they’ve been slowly fermenting to perfection.
The societal pressures you perceive and the expectations of yourself create this horrible inner critic. For me I struggle with this and it is something I have to work on.
Your Inner Critic
There is no tougher critic of you than you.
It’s like being a teenage girl going to a party and panicking about what you look like. In reality everyone else at the party is also worried about what they look like. Similarly, I often see myself through other mothers’ eyes or the eyes of my mother. I can find a million faults this way.
Coupled with this is the ever present self-doubt. Momlife and self-doubt are inseparable. I wonder what my kids should eat, is it too much, too little, too early, too late. I debate whether my kids should be outside today, but what if that sneeze is a cold or pneumonia or what if it’s not and they miss out on Vitamin D and an amazing experience.
So in between of all of this in-fighting and constant worry about whether we are parenting well enough somehow we, the people we are outside of our roles as partner and mother, get lost.
Being the best version of you
What I have realized, or what I’m realizing, is that you cannot be the best mom version of yourself or the best spouse version of yourself unless you look after you.
A car can’t run without petrol or gas. The oven can’t work without electricity. You need more of you to be your best you.
You’ll probably only notice that you’ve gone missing when one of the following type of things happens:
- Taking the kids out seems impossibly exhausting.
- The washing is piling up and you’ve literally run out of clothes for yourself.
- You can’t concentrate on long stories or your husband’s work woes.
- The smallest things are irksome and you snap at the kids but you can’t figure out what’s wrong.
When you get to the point of running out of all steam. STOP. JUST STOP.
Stop immediately and go find yourself.
It will take a while and it needs to be a constant process but you’ve got to start.
Make a start with 30 minutes as soon as you can. If you’ve got more time to spare, spend as long as you can. No kids, no housework, no husband, no drama inducing friends, just you listening to your own thoughts or drowning them out initially. Do anything, go anywhere just make sure it’s something you like.
There is only one rule. By the time that you-time is finished make sure you have the next one lined up. It has to be like that or you will sideline yourself.
Who are you in your Momlife
Doing something you love, away from your Momlife responsibilities will help you identify your self again. In this way you will start to remember what you like doing, what makes you you and it will give you the energy, perspective and desire to continue in those two other full-time roles.
What you decide to do is completely up to you. I find an extra bit of sleep makes me feel great but so does going for a walk or swim in the sea. You must chose whatever makes you happy –
- it could be 30 minutes sleep,
- walking around a shopping center alone,
- going for a run, a facial,
- reading a book,
- watching a movie…
Anything that you enjoy and gives you some breathing room.
It’s so hard to take time out for ourselves but it is so necessary. The longer you take to do it the less likely you are to.
If you are feeling:
– not yourself
– angry for no reason
– on edge
You need to take a break.
Take a break. However, whenever. You need to.
You know I’m right! Don’t get sucked in and lost in the MomLife.