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Motherhood Isn’t About Losing Yourself

Newsflash: You can still be a mother without "losing yourself." Can someone tell that to my judgmental friends who aren't parents? I think at some point, all mothers have to deal with the snide remarks that may come from loved ones—such as, "All you ever do is talk about your kids" or "I don't want kids; they take over your life."

As stay-at-home moms, working moms or something in-between, we don’t spend much time on ourselves. We may not be so hip to the newest fashions and our conversations are suddenly pretty kid-centric. But don’t get it twisted: We’re still here.

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We are still those headstrong women that we once were before we had children. We didn’t lose ourselves. Hell no, we didn’t! We are stronger than ever! So what if we need coffee to survive and we can’t spend hours on the phone chatting about celebrity gossip? Motherhood has equipped us with new skills and interests that are temporarily taking over our lives. So what?!

To be fair, before becoming a mother, I was always under the impression that motherhood was about losing your self-identity. But honestly, I’ve never felt stronger in my life. I can literally function on three hours of sleep and get more done in a few hours than I used to do in an entire day. I can catch throw up in one hand and answer an email in another hand. You call that lost? Girlfriend, no! That’s an accomplishment.

Motherhood has turned me into the strong woman that I've always wanted to be.

I can mentally write a grocery list in my head while singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (on key, thank you very much) all while driving down the road. I have more thoughts in five minutes than I had in an entire day, pre-baby. OK, so yes, I am definitely more stressed out, and if I’ve lost anything in motherhood, it's definitely the many hours of sleep. But the gaining ... oh, the gaining doesn’t end.

That includes the weight department. I’ve gained some pounds, dark circles under my eyes and stretch marks. I’ve gained an overwhelming amount of this stuff called mommy guilt. And my relationship with my husband has gained perspective and admiration. Speaking at a blog conference feels great, but getting my child fed, cleaned and in bed each day makes me feel worthy of some kind of award.

The changes and growth also go deeper. I've gained a sense of accomplishment. I've gained trust in myself and I've learned to push my fears aside because well, I don't have time for them. Motherhood has turned me into the strong woman that I've always wanted to be.

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I can see those non-moms glaring at me when they see me dealing with my daughter’s meltdown in Target. They look at me how I looked at moms before I became one. They may assume that having kids isn’t for them, because who would want to deal with that? I get that. But don’t you dare assume that having kids means I’ve lost something. My life had great adventure and purpose before I had my kids and I didn’t lose that. Just this morning, I managed to carry three bags, a toddler, a my-size Mickey Mouse and a bowl of oatmeal down the steps—and you feel sorry for me? No, girl, don’t feel bad for me. Please don’t pity me. But if you want to be helpful, buy me a drink.

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