When I was pregnant with my second child I went through some crazy shit. I started dilating at 20 weeks, and so I had a procedure and was then put on 5 months of bedrest. I gained 52 pounds during that pregnancy and all but lost my identity. I guess it's no wonder, pregnancy does a number on most women. It literally changes your biology. Think about it. Your stomach is expanding and you're carrying around an extra 25-35 pounds; maybe more. Your hormones are going absolutely insane.
Now wouldn't it be great if after you had the baby, everything would go right back the way it was before?
But if you're a mom, you already know things are never the same. What happens is that you have this new wonderful soul in your life and all you want to do is love and protect it. It's the most amazing experience and it wraps you up and surrounds you. You're under a spell and you don't want to come out, because you and this little person are in your own magical universe. Meanwhile you're losing sleep, you're tired and jittery because you have a little creature that is completely dependent on you. You don't even care until you nearly faint from exhaustion, or you take a good look in the mirror.
Now if parenthood is not the most gratifying yet terrifying experience in the entire world than I don't know what is. It's magical and it's mayhem.
There eventually comes a point, when you have to face the mirror and acknowledge yourself, separate from your child. It's usually that time that we realize, we don't like what we see, and we're not quite sure who we are.
As moms we often give up our careers, dreams and even social lives, to become a great parent. What we don't realize at the time is that by letting go of so much, we're also letting go of the fulfillment of some of our most basic needs. And even though motherhood is the most profoundly beautiful experience you can ever have, it does not meet every need. Crazy isn't it? We humans are so complex. As women, we believed that having children was the end all be all to life. But the need for growth and individuality and significance, is still there.
The thought that we're not satisfied with our lives just the way it is, is so disturbing to us. We feel all types of things.
For me, it was such guilt and shame.
I felt unappreciative because I wanted caring for my family to be the only thing that mattered. Yet, despite your love for your children, you find your individuality still somehow matters.
You want to get your awesomeness back after mommy hood and that's exactly what I'm going to explain to you how to do. It's super duper important because you being at your best affects everything you do.
What is exactly does that mean?
Well it's learning to love yourself again and embrace the individual within.
We get so caught up in being superwoman and taking care of our families that we really start to the neglect ourselves. Then we wonder why we don't feel right. We wonder why we don't like who we are, or even know who we are for that matter. We feel like something is lacking from our lives. And nothing externally, husband nor children can make that quite right for us. Getting back to feeling good always starts from within.
So here's what you can do to get your bad-assery back after mommy hood.
Doesn't matter if you're a stay at home mom of young children, or a working mom, or your kids are teenagers. This goes for any mom, who's dedicated most of her time to being a superwoman, and very little time to being good to herself.
Number one. Let go of guilt & shame.
Recognize that you were designed to grow and evolve. That doesn't mean that you want to leave your family or put your children and husband on the back burner. That means that you were born as an individual with goals and dreams of your own, and it's perfectly fine to want to still achieve those things after you become a parent. I don't think men battle with this as much, but we woman feel an extreme amount of guilt for wanting something more. Decide that it's okay to want to live to your full potential.
Number 2. Learn to take care of yourself again. I do this by taking personal time for myself. This is extremely important. It's something that I talk about in my book; about how to find a time to just do you. I always suggest at minimum, taking one hour a week to yourself, and if you can do 15 to 30 minutes of personal each day, that's even better. Here's did you can do during your personal time: You can go get a pedicure or manicure, go have a coffee by yourself or with a friend, take a walk or bike ride, do a hobby you used to enjoy before the children came along, or just go sit in the park. This is that you need to reconnect with nature, reconnect with your intuition and reconnect with your true self. It's where you get your breathing room, so that you can don't freak the hell out and go off on someone, because you're just too overwhelmed.
Number 3. Make time to be beautiful. Do those things that make you feel good as a woman. Exercise. Do your hair or get it done. Polish your nails. Put on some makeup. Do those things that seem insignificant at first, but afterward, make you feel like a million bucks. Go to the department store and get your makeup done. Celebrate your womanhood, or you'll start to lose your confidence.
If you're not taking care of yourself as a woman, then you're inevitably going to feel unimportant and unloved, because you're not loving on yourself.
Number 4. Make time to figure out what you want.
A lot of us know what we don't want. We know what we hate about our lives. We know what bugs us and what makes us mad and what upsets us.
However, most people have no clue what they do want.
When you get wrapped up in family life it's so easy to forget what your goals and dreams are. It's easy to completely forget what it is you actually do want. What's more is that we start to believe that maybe because we now have a family, what we did want no longer matters; and that's a lie.We all have an basic need to be satisfied, body, mind and spirit. Neglecting one eventually has a diminishing affect on the others.
Finally, Number 5. After you've figure out what you want, you now have to arrange your life so that you can get what you want. You have to make space so that you can have your personal time; so that you can meet your needs of body, mind and spirit. That means you need to use your resources. As women, we tend to take over the parenting because we feel we do it the best. But if your husband or the father of your children is in the picture, allow them to help you get the space you need to be a better human being. Allow them the experience of parenthood, without you breathing down their neck. You may need to get a babysitter. You may send the kids to their grandparents one weekend a month, so that you can have a personal life with your significant other or pursue some other goal. You need to have your personal time. You need time to go out with your friends, and be around other adults. As a matter of fact it's absolutely necessary. In order to be the best mom, you have to feel good as a person.
I realized over time that being a mom was just one facet of me, and feeling undervalued was simply a state of mind. And don't get me wrong, my kids mean the world to me. They are my why. But they're not my only "what."
As the late Wayne Dyer stated, "We are spiritual beings having a human experience." There's no reason to ever be ashamed of wanting to be the best you, love life, and reach your full potential. You can still be a great parent. Our job is to love and take care of our children - and to teach them self reliance.
If you need more help and truly want to learn how to design a more well-rounded life, I've designed some amazing programs that do exactly that. You can check them out here.