No one can fully prepare you for motherhood. The last four months have been filled with such joy, but also moments of overwhelm. I find myself pulled in a million different directions, balancing motherhood, hormones, rehab and recovery, connection with my husband, and figuring out my new identity. I still can’t believe Benji is almost four months old. It seems like yesterday I leaned over to my husband and said, “I think my water broke.”
Finding my mom identity
I’ve always been very independent. I left home at eighteen for college, and never went back (my parents weren’t thrilled). I ventured away from everything I knew to experience something completely new. Post-undergrad I lived in Chicago, Cincinnati, and San Diego, focused on starting a career, exploring new cities, making friends, and dating.
In my early 20s life was all about me: my passions, career, body, and nights out with the girls. After getting married I learned how to balance being independent while also sharing space and time with the love of my life. We enjoyed dinners, workout dates, travel, and a lot of 1:1 time.
Motherhood has completely changed the way I view myself, my marriage, and my future. Lately I’ve had a serious case of identity crisis. It’s easy to get frustrated by the unknowns and unpredictability of it all. I had a vision of where my life was going and what I wanted to accomplish, and then everything changed.
It’s taken me four months to realize that life will never be the same, I can’t always do it all (even though I try), and that’s ok. I’ve started opening myself up to new possibilities. Talking to other mommas has taught me, “Don’t think of getting through an identity crisis as trying to rediscover the old you. That you is gone.” (Mother.ly). I spent too long focused on what I missed about my former self and life rather than looking towards the future. The new me is stronger and wiser.
Motherhood is a re-defining moment for a lot of women. My new role has taught me flexibility and how to optimize my time. I ask myself the question, “who do you want to be moving forward?” all the time. I want to be a mother and wife, a connector in the community, and passionate about everything I do. My career goals have shifted and my to-do lists look a bit different.
I focus on one thing at a time versus tackling everything at once. Top of mind are postpartum nutrition/fitness, diastasis rehab and breath work, childcare, keeping my son fed, clean, and happy, spending time with my husband, starting my Girls Gone Strong Certification (I think I’ve reread chapter one 5 times), pursuing career opportunities, and more. But, trying to tackle everything at once is crazy talk.
As Mother.ly recommends, “attack the area that seems to be taking up the most mind space first.” Once you feel comfortable there, move on to the next thing.
Take ME time
I’ve learned that I need ME time. After Benji was born I tried to “do it all,” and eventually I started resenting little tasks. I badly needed that time for ME. My husband and I make it work, but it’s not easy. I treasure my workouts, solo walks, or trips to a coffee shop to write. I get that time, but I come back even more excited for cuddles and baby coos.
I started writing this post about everything I’ve been feeling the last few months, but identity became the topic that took over. It’s been the biggest struggle for me postpartum and one of the biggest things I’m working on. Who am I as a mom? Who do I want to be? What am I doing now and moving forward to make that happen?
Define the word “Mother”
I admire my mom’s strength, passion, and willingness to do anything for her children and grandchildren. She’s my mom idol. But, being a “mom” looks different for everyone, and there is no one right way to parent. There is no one right definition. I recently started writing down what being a mom means to me.
- Being fearless
What does your “mom” definition look like?
Be well momma.