Is Motherhood Giving Yourself Up?
I heard this question the other day and it has pulled at me for a while. Is Motherhood giving yourself up?
Yes, and it doesn’t have to be. But the real answer is yes, and we as Mothers know this to be true and even though it doesn’t have to be this way… we do it anyways.
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My children are all grown now (thank goodness) and I love being able to see things from a different place in my life now. And I know this is a real struggle for new moms when they start to see the shine from the newness start to wear off. In my personal life, I have struggled to try to keep my own sense of ME, but the truth is that the person I was before children doesn’t exist anymore after I had children.
Do we have to lose ourselves entirely after having children?
That’s a different question and has an other way of thinking for me. No, I don’t think we lose ourselves entirely after adopting the role of Mother. I think we change our routines, adapt to our new situations, and learn new ways of coping, but we don’t lose ourselves. You don’t have to stop being who it is that makes up what you LOVE about yourself.
For instance, I need my world surrounded by music, light, and nature. When I became a mother, my children grew up with music and nature as part of their surroundings. I’m a creative person, so I gave that to my children. I didn’t have to give up barefoot walks in the garden because I had kids. If anything, I found that having children allowed me to dig even deeper into myself and pull out the things that I love about myself and try to share that with them.
You don’t have to form yourself into the mold that other people tell you. Motherhood is.
Motherhood is HARD!
You are going to struggle. You are going to make a lot of mistakes. You will learn how to manage time, chores, and poop. It’s hard and can feel so heavy that you feel like losing yourself to it all. I get it.
And I honestly hate when I hear “Motherhood is so rewarding” because I’m going to tell it to you frankly. There are few rewards of Motherhood. It’s a thankless job that never ends, and the pay is CRAP. But we do it because we love these little people so much. And it’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to take time for yourself.
You don’t have to take it all on!
Let me tell you something other people don’t want you to know. You don’t have to take it all on! You don’t have to be the class Mom because you are a stay-at-home parent or work differently. You don’t have to sign your children up for every sport, class, and social group. You can look at the schedule and take on as much as you want. And guess what… the kids will be okay having free time at home when they aren’t overscheduled.
Your value isn’t about how busy you are.
I wish someone had told me when my kids were little that I needed to take time to rest and care for myself every day. Not just when they are little babies. I wish someone had told me when the kids were in school that I didn’t have to rush around, making appointments, volunteering, driving myself crazy trying to keep up with the expectations that I put on myself of what I believed “good moms” were doing.
Instead, I wish I had learned during that time that it was okay to sit for a while every morning and breathe. To listen to my favorite music, meditate, and rest. The cleaning will get done, the kids will be okay.
I didn’t learn this until my youngest was in high school, and I had spent years struggling, exhausted, stressed out, and secretly wishing I could find more time for ME.
Yes, I still carried with me from my previous life a love of music and nature. But instead of being able to sit and enjoy them. It seemed that the more I tried acclimating to Motherhood, the more it felt like the work was one-sided, and the more I rebelled.
So going back to the question. Is Motherhood giving yourself up?
Yes, unless you learn very early on that, it doesn’t mean drowning in it.