Some days I feel utterly lost in motherhood, now don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother and would never trade my six amazing children for the world but its just so easy to get caught up in the every day robotic schedule. We often forget about what inspires us and makes us who we are. In the end after years go putting our hearts and souls into our babies we need to have something to keep us going after all of the stressful excitement raising our children has passed.
I know in the past I’ve fallen into the mom who’s let herself go mode and it’s very easy to find that place once we get pulled into that robot lifestyle . Day in and day out of cooking, cleaning, driving, for many of us working, homework, the bedtime chase, and then preparation for the next day leaves us feeling exhausted and sometimes pretty depressed. For me it was just like crawling to the finish line… or a glass of red wine in my case. Maybe if I was lucky I’d get an hour to sit with my husband and watch a show on Netflix before going to bed; that was the only reward I felt I had to look forward to.
I know I’ve hit points in my life where I have been completely frustrated and felt angry with my husband, the only problem is I didn’t know why I was actually angry with him… Maybe I wasn’t angry with him at all. He would ask me what was going on and I would say “I have no life!”. I wanted to blame him for that isolation and for my feelings of monotony. I would tell him “I have so much more potential than to be stuck being a maid and chauffeur all day!” like he had put me in this place.
I think due to my own perception of gender roles I felt angry that I needed to be the one who dealt with everything at home. I became so resentful that I wasn’t even able to recognizing the things he did at home when he wasn’t working to financially support our family. The truth is he is a hard worker who does his share around the house. He was not the one who chose this life for me, we decided we wanted one of us to be home with our kids. We both didn’t have a preference who stayed home as we both felt that we are equally competent parents, it just so happened that he had a more fruitful career than I did so it made sense that I stay home. To be honest I want to stay home and raise my children, it’s just much harder than I imagined.
Lets rewind 14 years to the time before my first child was born. I was 18, a very young mother to be. I had always been very active in performing arts and writing, I also had a dream to join the airforce and become a fighter pilot. Big dreams!! At the time of my pregnancy I couldn’t see why I couldn’t still do those things one day. As the years passed and I added to my family it seemed my dreams were slipping away and the girl with big dreams and huge ambition was stuck in what I could best describe as a box with no exit. That was when I gave up…
Feeling defeated I felt like there was no point, I’d always just be a housewife. I gained a lot of weight which only made me feel worse about myself and looked for someone to blame for my misfortune. I can clearly recall sitting on my couch weighing 90lbs more than I do now with children fighting in the background and consciously deciding screw it! My life was just destine to be boring and suck.
It’s very sad to look back now because what I’ve learnt is that for one there is no such thing as “just a housewife”. We mothers are individuals and really super women who if we just allowed ourselves could not only be amazing parents to our children but incredibly loving to ourselves! This negative place I created was for the most part totally in my head, sure I’ve had road blocks as we all do but sometimes with a little improvising and compromising we can take back that ambitious woman hiding inside.
Knowing that there are so many women in the same position I was, I decided to share with you some of the things I did to find myself again. Here are a few easy steps to get you started with re-connecting to yourself and your passions. The best part is you can do all or most of this with little to no cost at all:
- Let go of the guilt! My number one cop-out excuse for not taking “me” time was always that even if I went out I’d feel guilty for leaving my husband with the chaos after his work day. This is a hard one to break, my husband knew I needed some me time and encouraged it but I’d leave and instantly feel bad and then come home and resent him for my feelings of guilt. Totally not his fault and not fair of me to throw on him when he was being wonderful and encouraging my freedom. It’s like they say, “You can drink from an empty cup”. It’s time to stop the guilt and refill every now and then.
- Rekindle what you loved in your youth. So many of us were part of clubs in high school or had hobbies we enjoyed that we stopped doing once we had children. I always loved theatre but thought that my acting days were behind me due to time constraints. Plus what was the point I’d never be a famous actor so why bother right? Wrong! The joy I found in my life once I discovered community theatre was incredible, plus it worked with my schedule as most people involved had day time obligations. Maybe you loved to paint, or were a killer soccer player, perhaps you liked to debate in high school. You can always find an adult version of what you loved, with adult sports leagues, art lessons, toastmasters classes to brush up on your public speaking skills for a good debate. The opportunities are endless!
- Keep a Gratitude Journal. Be grateful! There is so much beauty in this world, all you have to do is look at your sleeping child to see that. Take it further, maybe you saw a rainbow or perhaps someone let you merge in heavy traffic. The little things add up in a big way! Keep a note pad on you or use the note pad on your phone and record the little and big things you have to be grateful for in your day. At the end of the day add your grateful notes to your Gratitude Journal. I love to physically write these grateful moments into my journal but there are also many stellar apps available as well that you could use.
- Join a women’s group. When women get together amazing and powerful things happen! In my time as a Counsellor, Life Coach and Women’s Healing Arts Teacher I have lead many groups for women. The bonds that form when women gather who have a common situation or interest are lasting. It is so important to have someone to relate to as a mother, there is so much pressure to be that TV mom we all see. Here’s a secret… she doesn’t exist! Nobody is perfect, not you and certainly not me and it is so important to be reminded that we are only human. We all have struggles and thats totally okay! We should be talking about these things and empowering each other because we all need support on this amazing journey through parenting.
- Cook for fun! Wait, is that an oxymoron? If you’re like me you are so so done with cooking!! Every meal there is always somebody who complains or cries. You work so hard to cook a good meal for your family and before you even have it on the table someone is turning their nose up. It is very frustrating, not to mention trying to come up with something new everyday so not to condemn your family to another day of pasta and tomato sauce. So my suggestion is let your partner chase the kids off to bed while you create something special. I put on some old school Jazz, I like my Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Pour a glass of wine and actually enjoy cooking again. It’s really a win/win you don’t have to put the kids to bed and your partner gets to enjoy a nice meal with a happier and more relaxed you.
- Learn something new. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient civilizations but never really knew much about any one particular topic so I decided to learn more. You’ll be amazing how fun learning can be when it’s something that interests you! I catch myself excitedly talking to people about the cool things I’ve learnt. My kids could tell you all about the ancient Celts and Mayan as sometimes they are the only ones around to share my knowledge with. Pick up an instrument and commit to learning to play it, learn a language for that trip you will one day be able to take! With so many instructional videos on YouTube there really isn’t much you can pick up and learn. Udemy is another great place to learn and take courses with so many free and cost friendly options! Knowledge is power and honestly just feels good!
- Take a wacky class. I took a holistic sauerkraut making class and let me tell you it was one of the most entertaining and fun classes I’ve every taken! Our instructor a holistic chef Scott had us singing to our cabbage as we massaged the salt into it. Yes, an odd class choice but I find that sometimes the most wacky and random classes you can take are the ones that fill your heart with joy and leave you inspired to make an obscene amount of sauerkraut! Another example would be a fantastic adult acting class I took which taught how to be part of an improve soap opera, silliness and over the top drama were encouraged and it was freeing! There is something beautiful about a bunch of people taking a class together where you are encouraged to be silly and have fun!
- Create! So you might not be an artist, so what! Besides art is subjective and always beautiful to someone. Get your hands dirty, paint a picture, build a sculpture. Sometimes taking your frustrations out by creating is very therapeutic. Creation doesn’t necessarily have to be art based either, why not create a garden or a new recipe? I love developing new recipes many which I will share with you on here in there future. Be inspired to create in any way you can! You have it in you, you’ve created children, a home, a life, now go create just for fun!
- For goodness sakes take a nap! You’ll remember people telling you to “Sleep when the baby sleeps”. Here’s your chance, even 20 minutes can make a world of difference in your day. If you’re like me and aren’t the best sleeper you will love this step because it not only will make you a nicer person to be around but you won’t feel as grouchy inside either. We are busy women! We need a recharge from time to time. If the kids are safe and supervised or sleeping then there is no reason not to catch a few minutes of rest. This becomes easier as your children get older and you have a teen who can care for their siblings but until then, there is no shame in asking Daddy or a trusted adult to watch the kids for 20 minutes while you catch some sleep.
- What do you love about yourself? Don’t you dare tell me you don’t love anything about yourself because that simply isn’t true. Yes, sometime we can forget those amazing things we love about ourselves but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. At my very lowest points I still knew I had pretty eyes and a nice singing voice and I loved that about myself even though I’d have denied it at the time. Go to a mirror and look at yourself, not just your reflection but also look at the person who has talents and accomplishments. Maybe you make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, or perhaps you can read an entire novel in one sitting. We all have something and more likely many things no matter how small! Make a list, keep it close and add to it as much as possible. When you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, open your heart, be kind to yourself, and read your list.
You are a super woman who needs to reconnect with herself! You completely deserve to enjoy your life as much as anyone else in this world. It doesn’t have to take up a ton of time to reconnect with who you are outside of being a mother. There is no reason why you should lose your identity! Plus just think of how inspiring you will be to your partner and children as a radiant, passionate, knowledgable person. It’s never too late to start something new or develop new habits and self love should be at the top of the list.
Warmest Thoughts and Wishes to you always!
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