Takes One to Know One
As moms we are often bursting at the “giving” seams, spending all day taking care of other people and addressing other their needs and emotions.
We have a ton on our plates; many of us managing work, cooking, cleaning and laundry among other things. And often, we sacrifice our wants and need for those around us not only to please and comfort but because we think it makes us better; a better mother, a better partner and a better person.
So much changes in becoming a mom; the body evolves in unexpected ways, we begin to feel on an entirely different emotional plane- worrying and caring more than ever, we sleep less and we are ok with that, and we realize that we would do anything for the little humans we brought into this world. Anything. Even sacrifice our own energy, stability, and happiness.
And then, when the going gets tough, we get ragey- we complain, we become frustrated and sometimes we get really, really resentful.
Being a mama is hard work.
It’s hard to feel as though we’ve lost ourselves in a sea of diapers and although we love the life we’ve created.
It’s hard to not really recognize the person looking back in the mirror.
It’s hard to feel like we’ve lost the relationship with ourselves, the most important relationship we have.
And it becomes so much harder when we step back and realize we haven’t done anything for ourselves in days, weeks or even years.
It’s just hard.
Almost every time I lose my shit I almost immediately recognize that it wasn’t about the thing I lost my shit over. It’s not about the blueberries ground into our new rug, it’s not about the fact that I’ve washed the same shirt 5 times in one week, it’s not about never-ending dishes that seem to reappear in the sink the second I’ve just finished the dishes. No. It’s about not having a minute. A minute to breathe, a minute to think, a minute to sit and drink my coffee or eat my lunch. It’s about me, wanting to take care of myself and not being able to.
At about 8 months postpartum I looked in the mirror and saw a shell of who I used to be; a woman that loved hair and makeup who regularly took care of her skin and nails. I loved that stuff but it had all changed; my hair was in a constant ponytail and the only makeup I used regularly was mascara. I was pissed off. Pissed that I hadn’t held onto the things I loved. Pissed that I wasn’t taking that kind of care of myself. And just pissed that I had lost that part of me.
It had to stop- I started taking longer showers. I started letting Ethan watch a bit of sesame street so I could blow dry my hair, do my makeup, or get some laundry folded.
And I started feeling like me again.
It can take a while to figure out who you are as a mom and how to fit the things you love in while also figuring out how to create the best life imaginable for your kids. But, while their every need and whim is being met, who is taking care of us? Who is making sure that our emotions are in check and that we’re sleeping and moving enough?
That’s right. We’re doing that too.
We have to remember that we are the only person that truly knows ourselves and, we are the only person that is going to be able to amply take care of us.
We have to take care of us. In fact, self care is absolutely vital in maintaining our sense of self if we expect to show up authentically for those in our lives; without stress while also smiling and feeling love.
Self-care doesn’t is not always mean pedis and pampering (although that’s a lovely way to indulge).
Sometimes it’s a latte from Starbucks, longer shower, or letting E watch elmo so I can get something done I’ve been dying to do.
Sometimes it’s taking care of the stuff that’s going to make us feel like shit if it’s not done like vacuuming or the dishes.
And sometimes, it’s really doing something you don’t often get the chance to do- hair, nails, shopping, drinks with friends.