Becoming a mom is one of life’s greatest blessings. From the moment we find out we’re pregnant, our lives are forever changed. Instead of spending endless hours in front of the TV or casually strolling through the mall, we find ourselves engulfed in all things baby. Our once leisure reading is replaced with books all about pregnancy and babies. Seriously, how many of us devoured What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Instead of casually browsing all the new fashion trends at the mall, we find ourselves in “baby stores” shopping for things like strollers, cribs, and breast pumps.
Once our precious little ones are born we dedicate ourselves to them, completely. Overcome with love for our perfect new little one, we spend every hour of every day ensuring our little one’s needs are meant. Our days are filled with feeding, changing, swaddling, rocking, and bathing our babies. Our busy days spent caring for our babies leave little time for us. Often we begin to neglect ourselves, believing it far more important to care for our babies. Maybe we realize it’s been a few days since our last shower, maybe we can’t remember the last time we treated ourself to a manicure, or maybe we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror and realize we’re long overdue for a trip to the salon? All too often though, we ignore these realizations, putting our needs on the back burner because that’s what “good moms” do, right?
Along my journey that is motherhood, I have learned neglecting myself is not “what good moms do.” Admittedly, I fell victim to the new-mom cycle of neglecting myself. So in love with my son, as a stay-at-home-mom, I completely lost myself in my new role as mom. I stopped reading, exercising, dressing in anything besides yoga pants, and sometimes even socializing with friends. Believing my behavior was normal, I assumed all moms were in the same boat as me. I was wrong.
As my son has grown and become more independent, I find I too have grown. While my son and his well-being will always come first, I now realize my needs and well-being matter, too. Finding balance in my life has, at times, been difficult. As moms, we’re so inclined to simply neglect or put off what we need in order to accommodate our kids, and I’m no exception to this.
My son is now nine-years-old, in school, and determined to exercise his independence. Gone are the days when he needed me for every little thing. His newfound yearning for independence has left me with quite a bit of free time on my hands. Initially, I struggled with this, as I’m sure most moms do. Then something amazing happened. I realized I was free to pursue interests all my own, free to aimlessly stroll the mall, to read, to write, to get regular manicures, to visit the salon, and to start exercising again. Accepting my son’s independence has been so very freeing for me. I’ve been able to find myself; I’ve been hiding under yoga pants and dirty hair for the past nine years! Much to my surprise, I find myself being a better mom now that I am fulfilled. I have more patience with my son and I look forward to hearing about his day and sharing mine with him.
It’s so easy to lose ourselves in motherhood. Motherhood, after all, is the single most amazing experience in a woman’s life, and we all know nothing compares to feeling the unconditional love only a mother can know. To this I say, love yourself, too. Show yourself the same love, tenderness, and compassion you so selflessly shower your children with. As difficult as it may seem to make yourself a priority, I promise it’s worth it; you’re worth it.