The first three months of my daughter’s life, I didn’t think about much else besides when her next feeding would be and when the clothes in the washer were going to be done so I could switch them out. Oh, and sleep, I thought a lot about sleep.
But then the fog of new motherhood started to lift and suddenly she wasn’t nursing every two hours and I was getting more than 45 minutes of sleep at a stretch. She started rolling over and sitting up and crawling and then one day, just shy of her first birthday, she walked into my waiting arms.
My daughter is a year-and-a-half now, and I finally feel like I’m starting to get my life back. I can actually do things for myself without worrying about how my baby fits into it. There's a husband to connect with, books sitting on the shelves waiting to be read, the gym to return to. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that motherhood is so all-encompassing, it can start to block out everything else.
In the throes of motherhood, waist-deep in the tears, tantrums, diapers and sleep schedules, it’s easy to forget yourself. It’s easy to forget that in your past life you were a runner, a gardener, the head of that political organization that probably thought you up and vanished. It’s easy to forget you had a whole other life that didn’t include your children.
I don’t want to be so absorbed in being a mom that I find I've become a stranger to myself.
Our kids are a huge part of our world. At times, especially in the early days, they can feel like they’re the only thing that exists. I need to constantly remind myself that while my daughter is a big part of my life, she’s not the only thing.
I get it, it's so easy to get lost in our child-filled world—attending school events, playdates and participating in family-filled weekends. Undoubtedly, the memories created by these are priceless. But we moms need to be forced to look at our own lives and reflect on whether or not we’ve let one area grow out of control and overwhelm everything else.
I don’t want to be so absorbed in being a mom that I find I've become a stranger to myself. I don’t want to look back years down the road to see that the best parts of me have been slowly chipped away into a person I no longer recognize.
We need to take a look at our own lives, and ask ourselves if we are doing the things that make us happy. If there's something missing, a piece of us we want to get back, we need to pursue it. We can't get lost in motherhood. One day our kids will be out of the house and we'll still be here—with no daily drop-offs and pick-ups, games to rush off to or dinner to make.
Our passions don’t have to take center stage right now. But maybe every once in awhile, we can take down those hobbies and loves from that shelf, blow off the dust and say, “Oh, look at this. This is where you’ve been.” And regain just a small piece of ourselves little by little.