The minute I became a mother something inside of me changed. I went from being a 26 year old woman focused primarily on myself to caring deeply for this little human being. I became selfless overnight. I no longer cared about what I ate (other than staying away from certain foods to prevent any tummy issues for my newborn breastfeeding son), what I wore, whether or not I really slept or if I left the house or not. As you can imagine this kind of self sacrifice probably wasn’t in anyone’s best interest, despite my thinking that I was the ultimate mother to my son. It was easy to isolate myself from others and spend hours sitting on the couch nursing my baby and watching reruns of the CBS show CSI. My son was born during the Minnesota winter and we didn’t see the bare ground until early April that year. The longer I stayed inside, huddled in my house, the more disconnected I felt from society.
Looking back I thought I was doing what was best for my son. I was keeping him out of the cold wind and keeping him away from all of those nasty germs that seem to creep up during the winter months. Perhaps it was the best decision for him to stay away from the life that was happening outside my own four walls; I will tell you one thing though I was miserable. I felt lonely, unappreciated and I had forgotten who I was B.B. (before baby). Didn’t anyone see my self-sacrifice? This baby couldn’t give me a progress report like I had become accustomed to while working in Corporate America. My focus was solely on my child which was a good thing but hear me out on this: it wasn’t the best thing. No, it wasn’t the best thing… for either of us.
While I was busy keeping my primary focus on my child I started forgetting who I was. In losing that knowledge I lost myself and I lost my sense of happiness. I was like a mindless wandering robot; meandering in and out of life’s events never fully appreciating all that was around me. I started writing again and that thing inside of me, the creativity that I was so lacking in my own life started bubbling up. I began to find myself again through my own writing.
No one was reading my blog. It really was something that I only did for myself; like a little secret that only I knew. I could escape to my laptop and pound out my thoughts and feelings on the keyboard. The more I wrote the more I enjoyed life. I started honing in on the little nuisances during our day; I found joy in the little things and a sense of accomplishment in the everyday battles that we had overcome. I opened up my eyes and saw the world happening around me.
What I’m trying to say is that making your child or children the sole focus of your life may seem like the ultimate motherly thing to do but at what cost? My fear has always been losing myself and who I am apart from my child. Eventually, they will leave my nest and then what will I do? This is why it is imperative for us as mothers to not lose our sense of self apart from our children.
Whether you need a creative outlet like writing or you need a physical outlet like running; or even if you need to take a special cooking class just for you because you genuinely enjoy cooking, do it. Do it for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. By having a little focus on yourself, you’re giving your children the best thing you possibly could: a happy mother who knows who she is outside of her children.