At work the other day, I was speaking with a colleague who was welcoming me back to the office after being on maternity leave with my daughter. We chatted for awhile about this and that, and then moved in to a conversation about kids and parenting. He shared a piece of advice with me that he said he always told his kids (now grown), and I in turn would like to share it with you.
You have three versions of yourself when you are married and have kids: who you were on your own when you were single, who you are after connecting with your significant other, and who you are when you become a mother and start a family. While they are all the same person, just wearing different hats, he said it is important to never get lost in just one of those versions of yourself and forget about the others.
I was almost shocked at how well he spelled out something that I have felt but never knew how to put to words.
Mamas, don’t forget to be ALL of you.
Don’t let one role be drowned out by the others. I’ve seen this happen so much in myself the past few years. My fun side dimmed under the shadow of the daily grind, giving up ambitious dreams in favor of security for my family, and quality time with my husband pushed to the back burner to make more room for kids and housework. Mamas, our kids and family will always be our top priorities, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose connection with who we were on our own. Don’t let your raw personality be cloaked in other peoples’ opinions of how you should behave (as the quote goes: “Well behaved women seldom make history”). Make designated time for you and your spouse to do things and spend time together (and not just watching TV on the couch while glued to phones, that doesn’t count), and take risks on things that you used to dream of doing! It’s all about finding the proper balance of the three versions of you: The OG, The S/O, and the MAMA.
For me, my big step in reconnecting with my old self was starting this blog. I have always loved to write and it’s something I never did anymore. I just felt like I never had the time! And if I did have the time I felt like I needed to be giving it to something or someone else. So, I made a decision. A spur of the moment decision that I do not regret. It may not sound like much of a step to some, but for me it was huge. Deciding to put myself out there for others to read my thoughts and trying to start a new community of mamas like me where we can share and connect; all this puts me way outside my comfort zone. And I love it.
Now, it’s your turn. Remember who you were on your own. Don’t lose sight of that person! What made you unique? What made you YOU? What were your passions and goals? I started a blog. Maybe you will start a small business, join an MLM, start up an old hobby or pick up a new one. It doesn’t have to be huge, it just has to be you. Go get it mama.