By: Cristina Trette
The story of a woman losing herself in mothering is so common. Perhaps the reason why it appears to be so hard for so many, is that we have not formalized this right of passage for women, and honored this transition for what it is.
Many women feel an exhilarating blend of fear and excitement containing hopes and dreams for what family life will entain. For some, the start of motherhood is blissful. There is something innocent and magical about the idea of a family beginning a life together.
Fast forward. The mother has a child or more. She lives in a world of diapers, nap schedules, and play dates. The stress of juggling a two income home or the stress of being isolated as a stay at home mom takes its toll. The days of freedom, passion, and spontaneity seem to have ended.
Yes, we love our kids. Yes, we would not trade them for anything in the world. But does it have to be so bleak? Perhaps, briefly. And then perhaps, for those who are willing, the call to transformation will be answered.
If you have lost yourself in motherhood, read on to explore some tiny steps you can take to help you remember who you really are.
1. Find a mentor
There are many. Find a woman, perhaps more experienced or wiser than you, who has journeyed through the world of caring for self and others and who has discovered deep meaning, joy, and purpose in life. Seek one out who is doing what it is that you want to be doing. Whether your calling is to be an at home mom goddess or working mom goddess, we need mentors and guides to help us along the way. I have been blessed with many powerful female role models who have traversed through building successful careers and motherhood. I go to them for guidance regularly.
2. Don't try this alone
Mothering has endless requirements. We cannot do this alone. Seriously. For most modern moms, the Village does not naturally exist, we have to create it. Some have spouses that share 50 percent of the load. Most don't. So where can you find help? Nannies, babysitters, teen and tween girls, family, friends, day care, school, and other parents are all available to help you. You just have to ask for help.
3. Connect with your Self
Our true self is curious, compassionate, caring, and clear. But we get so busy that we can easily lose touch with who we really are. How can you carve out time to know and listen to yourself? We all have different ways of doing this. I connect with self through meditation, yoga, running, surfing, writing, and personal growth programs. Your Infinite Life Training and Coaching Company has many programs in various locations around the country that are focused on self growth. What can you do to connect with yourself?
4. What did you love to do as a kid?
What would you do for hours and hours when you were a child, just because it brought up intrinsic joy? What were your gifts and natural talents? Did you ride bikes, climb trees, play sports, dance, sing, write, create art? If you are not doing anything today that you loved to do when you were a kid, consider doing some of these activities now. When adults spend time doing what they love such as guitar lessons, rock climbing, improv, creative writing, yoga, etc. all sorts of positive shifts tend to happen from the inside out.
5. Reconnect with your spouse
If you are feeling overwhelmed and alone, he is probably feeling this way too. What are some ways for you to reconnect? Long walks on the beach, holding hands without too much talking, swapping massages, embarking on novel activities together, attending a personal or relationship growth workshop, or doing yoga together. There are endless ways you can enhance your connection. If you have babies and kids at home, see point 3, and get help so you and your spouse can have time together.
6. Where are your ladies at?
Find your tribe and hang with them. Spend time with women who are encouraging and supportive and can genuinely be there for you. Consider letting go of friendships that seem to center on gossip, cattiness, and superficiality.
7. Feel and cry
Most of us grew up thinking feelings were bad and something to ignore or numb. All feelings come and go as part of being alive. The key is to learn how to notice and feel our feelings, including anger, fear, sadness, and hurt. On the days that you want to cry, let yourself cry. Consider going to a friend or your spouse on the hard days.
8. Embrace the messy
It is ok to have a messy house. It is ok to serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sometimes. It is ok that some days you miss your workout. It is ok that you snap at your kids (and then repair) on occasion. It is ok that sometimes you you zone out. It is ok that sometimes you wish the kids could take care of themselves. It is ok that you sometimes struggle to balance work, kids, marriage, and the house. It is ok that you don't have a pre-baby body. Being a modern mom is not easy. It is sometimes messy, sometimes chaotic, sometimes blissful, and sometimes peaceful. All of this is all normal. Perfect does not exist, it only seems like it does on social media posts. And if has become far too overwhelming, and far too messy, reach out to someone for help. I offer private sessions and if we are not best fit, I can refer you to excellent therapists.
9. Know where you want to go
We would not be able to drive to the other side of the country without plugging in the destination on our phones. If you are not happy with the status quo, start visualizing what it is that you want. Maybe you want to go back to work, maybe you want to quit your current career for one that is more flexible and fulfilling, maybe you are ready to commit to an exercise and yoga plan. Although growth will not be linear, because it never is, having a clear vision as to what you want is often the first step toward creating change. I offer weekly Groups at The Soul of Yoga that focuses on all of this and more, and we would love to have you join.
Have you lost and found yourself through the demands of motherhood? If yes, I would love to hear about how you did this in the comments box below!
Cristina Trette, MA, LMFT is a busy mother and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her passion is centered on helping couples and parents create thriving relationships, families, and wellbeing.
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