Creative Child

Staying True to Yourself in Motherhood

Motherhood changes you. That’s inevitable, and it’s not a bad thing. It makes us stronger, more compassionate, better. If we’re open to it, motherhood will raise us up just as we are raising them. It’s also possible, however, to lose yourself in the chaos and busyness of raising little ones - to wrap your identity so tightly around your children that you become only “mom.” And that isn’t so healthy because then relationships can fall by the wayside as you shed other parts of yourself (friend, wife, daughter, sister), and your mental health will ultimately suffer. It may seem forever away now, but a time will come (and all too quickly) when those children you have built your identity around will be more concerned about spending time with friends than you, and you might be left feeling like a stranger in those weakened relationships that didn’t get tended to, and even in your own skin as you try to figure out who you are when you don’t have to be “mom” 24/7. 

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There’s another way to lose yourself in motherhood that should be mentioned here, and that is when we simply lose our way in regards to our values and goals. This happens when we take the advice of the others while ignoring our own intuition, or when we allow busyness to consume us leaving little to no time for the things that really matter. For example, mothers who are committed to positive/gentle parenting may find themselves taking the advice to spank when they become exasperated or desperate for help with a certain behavioral issue. Or the calendar may get so full with Kindermusik, playgroups, sports practice, etc. that there just isn’t time for family game night or the volunteering you want do. When we aren’t staying true to our own values, guilt will seep in and make itself right at home, and that sucks the joy out of our motherhood experience.

With this in mind, here are 5 things you can do to stay true to yourself in motherhood:

Don’t ignore your gut - ever. 

Listen, raising kids is confusing. You’ll need advice along the way, but if that advice makes your gut feel squirmy, raises a flag, or goes against your values, smile and leave it. Time and maturity is the solution for so many issues that crop up anyway. You have over one hundred million brain cells in your gut and it is a sort of second brain. It’s pretty smart, so listen to it. 

Chase your dreams.

When you set personal goals for yourself, it’s like a declaration that you have important things going on outside of diaper changes and nap schedules. It’s just another little way to hold on to you. So, if you dream of being a writer, write! If you want to run a 5k, prioritize running. Too often, moms feel guilty for taking time for themselves, but you’ll feel better for it, and feeling better helps you be a better mom. Don’t let your own dreams die. Chase them! Show your children what it looks like to reach for the stars, because one day they’ll have to reach for their own.

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