What I Have Learned About Maintaining My Identity in Motherhood
3 weeks ago 7 Comments
The past few months some of my friends who don’t have children yet have mentioned to me that thinking about the typical “rules” of motherhood scare them. I cannot agree more!
Some people naturally gravitate towards certain routines and they thrive on it. Others need to do things another way to be fulfilled. There is not one specific way to be a mom, just as we are all different as people.
Entering motherhood – I saw it as this. I am not going to be the same mom as so and so. I am going to be the mama version of myself. I want my boy to know me. Below is my take on some things that have worked/are close to my heart.
I Set Time Aside to Do Activities I Enjoy
While raising a young baby takes up a great deal of my time at this point, I like to pour what remains into activities that I enjoyed prior to him. I love writing and creating, as well as connecting with and entertaining friends! I still illustrate when I can. I like having a day away once in awhile (thank you grandparents!). I also regularly pray and thank God for my blessings. I find that doing things for myself helps me maintain my identity. A happy mom equals a happy baby!
Keep in mind that one day your little one will be grown up and will move out of the house. I have spoken to some older couples who have confessed that they do not know what to do with themselves after the nest is empty. Those hobbies and friends they used to have are long gone. I believe being a mother is one of my highest callings and I give it my everything — because of this, I do not want to get lost in it. I want to look back and say “this is my story, being my own type of mama.” The best way I can teach my son to be strong, genuine, loving, wise, brave and full of compassion is to lead by example!
I Introduce Him to Things I Love
He is still so young but I slowly have begun introducing J to what brings me joy. Animals are a big one! Sometimes I put both our rabbit and dog in his crib with him (supervised so he doesn’t hurt them accidentally). He rolls around, reaching out to them. The dog licks his hands, cheeks and hair and I noticed lately that he giggles and even moves his fingers around for our pup to lick all of them. My heart is so full seeing the wonder and happiness in his eyes. I want him to experience grass between his toes, the fresh cool air of a forest, observing bugs and critters that crawl about. I want to inspire him to be active, to create masterpieces, to help others and value people more than things. Being a mom can be fun. Break the rules a little! Mud pie anyone?
I Try Not to Sweat the Small Stuff
I let a lot of things roll off of my shoulders because it simply isn’t worth it. I like to focus on a few things that really matter and not stress about the little stuff. I believe my baby can feel my emotions and if I am upset or worried, he will probably be able to tell! Better a calm and content mom who is a mess, than a stress pot doing everything by the book.
I Think for Myself
In this age of information one can always find a website claiming a million different things you could be doing wrong. You will probably find other sources contradicting the same claims. For me, I follow my gut. If something doesn’t seem right I do my own research, observe experiences in my own life along with talking to others whom I respect and trust. From there I try to make the best decision I can. The honest truth – what do any of us really know anyway? Everyone has an angle, an experience, a reason for believing what they do.
I Try Not to Let the Unsolicited Advice or Opinions of Others Bother Me
As a new mom I have faced crossroads that I never even imagined! There are so many decisions to make and along with them, lots of opinions from all directions! Everyone has an idea how they think a child should be raised – heck – even people who don’t have kids! The thing is – life isn’t perfect and neither are we. Just because someone is telling you something worked for them, doesn’t mean it is right for you. I try to be open minded to the wisdom that could save me a lot of trouble but take things with a grain of salt. Not everyone is right. I do what works for me! Ultimately the decisions are mine to make on how I want to raise my son into a healthy, happy, balanced adult.
I would love to hear what you do to maintain your identity through this incredible (but not easy) journey as a mama! I want to encourage you to not be discouraged. We all work so hard – you got this! Your baby loves you.
Note: Photos are courtesy of pexels.com (Child pictured is not baby J in case any of you were wondering)