I'll never forget that day. I had just had my first baby, Eliel, and the very brand new lifestyle called 'motherhood' became my new reality.
My husband and I planned planned, prayed, and consciously conceived our beautiful boy, so it wasn't as though my new role as mother wasn't celebrated. IT WAS. The day I found out we were pregnant I practically was running around hugging and telling everyone (even our mailman!) LOL.
I loved being pregnant. (For the most part...you can keep the hormonal acne!). I loved seeing my belly grow. I loved how I felt so connected to this soul I couldn't see. I loved how close I felt with my hubby. I loved eating for two (yeah I know that's a myth now, but I didn't know that back then and I took FULL advantage LOL).
I loved the moment my son made me a mom--pushing him out that sunny winter morning in 2012 will be a day I'll NEVER FORGET. I cried the most joyful tears as my midwife laid him in my arms. I thought, "Oh I'm definitely having more of these!" :D
Then, after being sent home with my babes, reality leading to mommy burnout set in.
I was finishing up my Bachelor's degree online so I was met with looming deadlines for papers due. I was running a business and had payroll and other randomness to deal with in HR. The dishes were piling up. And the laundry (why hadn't anyone prepared me for the laundry avalanche that comes with being a parent?!)
Anyway, I digress.
The climax of the story comes here: I sat there in my apartment a few months after becoming a mom, utterly smitten with this new soul I brought into the world, yet simultaneously in over my head.
When he'd finally fall asleep after a nursing session I'd sit there like a deer in the headlights:
Should I wash the baby bottles?
Take a shower?
Put in a load of laundry?
Call my friend back?
Finish my final?
Then, the straw that broke the camel's back:
Paralyzed with indecision, I decided to distract myself by going to the bathroom and looking in the mirror.
The oversized shirt I'd *cough* "borrowed" from my husband was full of spit up. I looked down at my nails. They practically were yelling at me to get a manicure. My hair was begging for a deep condition and a brush. My skin, annoyed with negligence, was screaming for a facial. My body, understandably still clung to about 30 pounds of baby weight (I gained 60 pounds my first pregnancy). Thanks to breastfeeding the first half came off relatively easily. I could go on here, but you get the point right?
I didn't recognize myself.
I broke down crying.
Where had I gone? Why hadn't anyone prepared me for the loss of identity you feel after becoming a mom? Does everyone deal with this or just me???
None of the dozens of parenting books I'd devoured during pregnancy prepared me for the existential crisis I was experiencing. I loved being a mom and instinctively knew I wanted a litter of kids. Yet, I wondered, HOW THE HECK AM I GONNA BALANCE MY KIDS WITH TAKING CARE OF ME?
I thought long and hard.
I came to this conclusion:
If I was going to be a mom, I wanted my kid, later (4 kids), to know the real me. I didn't want to change myself, sacrifice my authenticity to be what society would consider a "good mom" to be. I decided I was going to define what a "good mom" looked like for MY LIFE.
And unknowingly, my very first mommy makeover transformation begun.
I knew if I was going to be a happy mom, I had to be happy and healthy.
I knew if I was going to be happy and healthy, I had to take care of my body, mind and spirit.
So, like a spiritual savage I began setting up boundaries. I took care of what I needed to but refused to do so at the expense of my own self care, hobbies, and interests.
I made time to dance, to go on jogs in nature, to get my nails done, to make my smoothies, to do my hair, and workout.
While my son was little, I began workouts in my living room while he slept in his crib in the next room.
Immediately I felt better.
Things weren't "perfectly balanced", but I felt like me again. I was happy. I felt like I mattered. My energy increased. My skin started to clear. My body transformed. And most importantly, my sense of identity was reclaimed.
I wasn't the "same me" I was before I became a mother.
I was a new me. I was giving birth to a brand new version of myself: Monica and Mother.
So, I ask you:
How has motherhood changed you?
Has society convinced you that being a good mother means you have to be a martyr?
Would you dare to define what a "good mother" means for yourself?
And I'd be remiss as a coach if I didn't give you a homework assignment:
What small thing can you do TODAY that helps restore your sense of aliveness, joy, purpose as a mother?
Is your soul begging for a good sweat? A bubble bath after the kids go to bed? A good journaling session? To paint, sing, cook a nourishing meal?
I promise, if you ask her and look within, she'll tell you exactly what she needs...
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