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Hi, my name is Kate and I am 36 and I’m having a serious case of lost identity. Or maybe it’s a midlife crisis. Or a little postpartum depression. Or maybe I’m just tired, overweight and mentally drained.

Who knows which one.

I have three boys, a husband, a home, and a job I love. I am beyond blessed.

I have devoted my life to the humans in my life. And again, most days, I am happy to do it. But some days, some weeks, I don’t feel that way. I feel like I have lost myself along the way.

I look in the mirror and I hardly recognize myself anymore.

And as I approach middle agedness, that is really scary.

RELATED: I Fear I’ve Lost Myself To Motherhood

It’s not that I necessarily look old. It’s that I look like someone I don’t even recognize. I look tired. I look like I’ve let myself go. I look angry. I look really rushed.

Rushed to shower. Rushed to eat. Rushed at stoplights. Rushed at pick up and drop off. Rushed to get dinner on the table. Even rushed at Target. Rushed to type this because a baby is screaming and one is getting off the bus in 11 minutes.

And that can’t possibly be me. Rushed. I’m typically unrattled. I’m the one who can handle anything. The boy mom. The special needs mom. The happy one. The positive one. I always smile. I always find the joy.

But lately, I feel almost empty.

When I’m with my kids I feel guilty for not working and when I’m working I feel guilty for not playing with my kids more. It’s a lose/lose at times.

I feel like I wasted my education. I feel like a housekeeper, a cook, a chauffeur, and a ring leader. I feel like I always have sick kids and I can’t finish the laundry or squeeze my butt into my fat jeans. I know I’m a good mom. I don’t doubt myself in that department. But I also feel like all I am is a mom sometimes.

I feel like I’m disappearing into nothing. Some days I am shocked at what upsets me. I didn’t know I could be jealous of my husband for getting to poop alone. He’ll be in the bathroom, on his phone, and I’ll be angry.

I’ll yell for him to hurry up as one kid is crying, the other one needs to be fed and the phone is ringing.

RELATED: Dear Kids, I’m Sorry I Yelled But I’m Just So Tired

The other day my husband and I drew straws to determine who got to go upstairs and change the pee sheets. Because it meant five minutes alone. I lost.

That’s what it’s come to.

I didn’t know that I could consider a shower a luxury either. Or not have time to do it. It blows my mind.

I am a very capable woman and I can’t find time to shower. I laugh even as I type it.

But with a baby, a very socially active 6-year-old, and a severely autistic child, showers have to be before 5 a.m. or after 10 p.m. And by that point, this mama is exhausted.

I used to care about how I looked. Like really care. I ate well. I exercised. I showered. I put makeup on. I’d peek at hashtags on Instagram like “outfits for summer” and pin cute outfits. Now, I wear hoodies. Dirty ones. Gray t-shirts.

I grab my clothes off of the floor every morning.

And the sad part is I almost don’t care. I’m too tired to care.

There are so many more important things to do than look cute. Like sleep. Or get my job done. Or go to Sawyer’s baseball game. And I choose those things with happiness.

But then, I see myself and feel sad. I feel like I’ve lost myself. Almost entirely.

RELATED: To Jesus From the Tired Mom Who’s Trying

I have no hobbies. I have no time to do anything. I just care for kids. For my home. I keep the ship going.

I watch TV shows in 15-minute increments. I stare at my phone for entertainment. I answer text messages three days late.

I’m nonstop busy and yet bored at the same time. It’s a bizarre way to feel.

I don’t know how to fix this funk I’m in, but I’m working on it.

I just want to stand still. I want to sit. I want to walk. I want to remember who I am. And what I like to do.

I want to slow down so I can enjoy this. Because I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to resent it. I don’t want to be angry. What I’ve learned is that there is only so much of me. And I need to find balance.

This year I will find balance in motherhood, marriage, my job, my home, and my sanity. That’s my goal. Learn to laugh more too and give myself more grace.

This post originally appeared on Finding Cooper’s Voice

This book is a serious game-changer for motherhood. We can’t put it down! Don’t have time to sit and read? Listen to it here, on Audible.

 

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson, founder of Finding Cooper's Voice, is a writer and an eternal optimist. She resides in Minnesota with her husband and three sons, Cooper, Sawyer and Harbor. She has created a community online where families of children with special needs can come and celebrate the unique highs and lows that accompany this journey. 

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