Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.
If you’re a part of this community, chances are you’re a mom. But what else are you?
Maybe you’re a wife, a sister, a friend or confidant. You could be a teacher, interior designer, finance manager, artist, dental hygienist, personal chef, CEO, nurse, librarian, social worker, retail manager or policewoman. You might even be a counselor, athlete, chauffeur, day-care provider, blogger or life coach.
Pick just one title on top of the many duties of motherhood and it can be overwhelming. With so many identities, how do you sanely stay yourself?
When you first brought your child home, you devoted 100 percent of your time and energy to being a parent. You marveled at this miracle and were attuned to all of his or her needs. If you work in an office, at the end of your leave you were ready for adult conversation, even when all you could think of was that lovable pudge at home. As your child grew and became more independent, you had hands to devote elsewhere. But instead of investing in yourself, you used it for the necessities of others. You cleaned, did laundry, ran errands, played games, planned meals for the family, chauffeured to play dates, shopped for yet another kid’s birthday present, etc.
But what about you?
I would never claim motherhood as a burden because it has made me a better person — changed me. But through that journey, I felt that I lost myself and what made me special. I felt like “just a mom.” I didn’t perform on stage anymore. I didn’t play piano, sing or dance. I didn’t write or have time to settle down with a good book. I didn’t even savor my morning cup of coffee. I had one of those mornings where I woke up and regretted all of the things I had wanted to get back into — the things I felt I had missed out on because I had chosen motherhood. I was painfully sad at what I had thought I had become. I felt like I had lost myself.
It wasn’t until my daughter — my beautiful, funny, energetic five year old — poked her little nose with mine to wake me up on a Saturday morning that I opened my eyes and realized something: I hadn’t lost myself, I had just passed the best pieces on. Yes, we wear many hats and sometimes we get lost in which one defines us. But we never really lose who we are because it’s right there in front of us. They’re putting on their own shows or diving into their own books, playing with their imaginary friends or enjoying some solitude on the swings. I realized I had to be like Elsa and “let it go.” I was still here, just different. In more pieces.
Acceptance of change doesn’t mean you’re not who you used to be or that you’ve completely lost yourself. It means you’ve grown. Embrace it. Show those kids who Mom is now and they’ll never know the difference. Be satisfied in the efforts you do choose to make and you’ll find you haven’t truly lost yourself; you’ve been there all along.