After toting around an extra person in your belly for 10 months (or however long you were pregnant for), you now have your baby. Your life is this beautiful little creature that your body has created. When she’s hungry, you feed her. Sleepy? You rock her. Dirty? You change her diaper/bathe her. Your every waking moment is about this incredible little person.
In the beginning it’s so much fun. Wherever you are, there is baby. But then you look up one day and you have no idea who you are anymore outside of the role of mommy. Dressing in clothes other than yoga pants and the other pieces in the mom-uniform are foreign. Fashion? Style? You don’t know what yours is. What’s that fragrance? Oh, that’d be milk, sweat, and baby wipes–I freshened up. Your cuticles have grown their own set of nails, your heels can be used as sandpaper and Wolverine is mad because your eyebrows are taking his look.
It’s past the fun part.
After being so caught up in the role of “mommy” it’s hard to get back to being who YOU are. Hard but very necessary. When I had mini, I was a single mom and I felt like she was my obligation since it was me who decided to have her. She was my everything. Every waking moment she was with me unless I was at work. Fun? Ha, when you’re a mom–especially a single one–who has time for that? Being puked on IS fun. -_- My mom would try and push me to go out and have “fun” with the friends that I’d made at the beach but I just couldn’t do it. I had so much mommy guilt. Mini was mine. My responsibility. My happiness. My little bundle of proof that my sacrifices were worthwhile. And I wasn’t going to be that parent that pushed my responsibilities off on my mom. I mean, she raised my brother and I so her duties in child-rearing were done.
But being a grandparent is not child-rearing and loving your daughter isn’t taking over her responsibilities–it’s giving her a much needed break and time to figure out who she is in the midst of all the change.
As women, we think that we have to do everything in order for us to be successful or ‘enough’ and this just isn’t true. In fact, it’s very necessary for us to share our children with the world, we didn’t just have them so we could coddle them at home. But more importantly, WE become BETTER moms when we take care of ourselves. So how do you do this, right? Here are some easy steps to taking back YOU and redefining yourself after baby:
Take off the mom uniform
I may be talking to myself with this one. I love my sweats and yoga pants like no other. They’re especially comfortable since stretchy stuff is the only thing fitting these days. But unless we see ourselves as women, we’ll only be moms.
Check out Pinterest for style inspiration
I love Pinterest. Like super love. They have great information and pictures that make getting inspiration so easy. I have a pair of boyfriend jeans that fit really well and I’ve just searched “boyfriend jeans” and found some great stylings for them. Need help getting started? Follow my style board.
Define what “fun” is for you now
Prior to mini, I was that party girl. I knew where all the great parties were happening and didn’t pay to get in. Post-mini, that actually isn’t fun anymore. Not that I don’t like dancing but mini gave zero damns about me being out until 3am. She was still getting up and demanding breakfast at whatever time it was she wanted it. Fun became festivals, jazz clubs (home by midnight), wine nights with my bestie Terri, and fitness. Define it and then do it. One of the best things I ever did was do one of those sip n’ strokes by myself. I sat with my bottle of Manishevitz (sp?) and painted a beautiful painting. I had so much peace!
Do something just for YOU everyday
Plan it. Practice it. Make it small. Make it big. But make it something about you every.single.day. In my trusty planner coded in pink are my weekly goals for my self-care. On this weeks goal list is a pedicure, facial, and getting my eyebrows done. These things are literally planned and written out for me to do in my planner. Every day you need to cater to yourself. Yes, you’re a mom and you’re raising another person but how well are you going to do it if you’re raggedy?
Ask for what you need from others
Or just be honest about what’s going on with you. On Monday I had a small breakdown. Abc is teething and hasn’t been quite nice. And not nice I mean she’s been biting me, fighting her naps (literally), and just being rather ornery. I sent a dramatic soliloquy to the hubs in the middle of the day outlining how awful I felt because of how she was acting and then I had to let her cry it out (a method I generally don’t believe in) but I was crying with her. Do you know my husband sent me a text telling me that when he got in I needed to go out and have some time to myself? AND he came home with dinner and a bottle of wine! Bless his heart. I married well. Granted I didn’t go out, but the fact that he acknowledged my struggle made me feel like I was in a partnership–not just in mommy hell.
Have a network of moms that you can relate to
There’s nothing better than a group of women that know intimately what you’re going through as a woman, mom, friend, wife, etc. These roles are hard to balance and being around women who are in similar situations can help normalize things.
Remember that not only do your babes deserve the best version of you, YOU deserve that as well. We are more than just moms so don’t hesitate to cater to yourself. Leaving your child with your spouse, family, babysitter is more than ok. Not only do they get to influence the lives of the ones that you are leaving them with, they get to influence your baby! We aren’t the best at everything and having people we trust in our lives that can care for our babies and positively influence them is a strength.
What are you going to do today to work on redefining and catering to yourself?