I take a lot of pride in being a mother. Motherhood is the work I always dreamed of. The love I feel for my son is insurmountable. It astonishes me how much I happily give up of autonomy to be his mom. I give up privacy, sleep, hot meals, and general comfort for being swept up in all the “momdom”. When you’re the primary caretaker for other humans, it’s easy to wrap up your identity in that. If you haven’t heard it, let me be the first to tell you: you’re more than Mom, my friend. I know this because I am, too.
Motherhood is Special Work, but it’s Not Your Identity
It’s no secret that the transition into motherhood rocked me to my core. I felt like I was just surviving, while attempting to make life for my baby as comfortable and happy as I could. My own happiness was put on the back burner. I went days without showering because there never seemed like a good time. Meals were skipped because he needed me to hold him while he slept. I hardly ever put on real clothes, and when I did, they were ill fitting and stained with whatever.
As his first birthday neared, I started to feel like I wanted to shift things in my favor… and not just on days where I had meetings or planned to see other people. I wanted to shift things in our daily life together.
Shifting Towards Motherhood & Self Identity Balance
For nearly a year I listened to friends and “experts” preach self care, but I couldn’t figure out how to fit it into my daily routine. Any alone time I had was after dark, when my husband was home and could take over parenting duties. I knew “self care” didn’t mean pedicures and Pilates, but I still couldn’t figure out how to integrate it into my life.
I’m Mom, but I’m Me Too
The first thing I decided to do, was to give in a little and put on a dang kids show. Who knew even the neediest of toddlers would melt at the forces of CocoMelon kids tunes? Turning on nursery rhymes on YouTube gives me 10-15 minutes of unbothered time, and I’ve found that this 10-15 minutes a day is absolutely vital to my happiness and wellbeing.
In that 15 minutes, I am able to: make my bed, brush my teeth and wash my face, do my skincare routine, some super quick makeup, get dressed in REAL CLOTHES (that I probably ordered from Trunk Club)… and if I’m lucky, tame my hair before little fists are pounding on my door.
These simple acts are many times what it takes for me to feel human again. In these 15 minutes I feel like Jaelan, not Mama. It wasn’t until I started practicing this daily that I really realized that I’m still in there. I’m more than Mom, and you are too.