I was thirty-two years old when I had my first child. A child that I was uncertain would ever be, due to years of immense pain and complications from endometriosis. On August 8th, 2013, my life changed and my heart grew bigger. I no longer wondered if I would ever become a mom. I had become one. I was so enamored with my son and amazed by his presence that I became less concerned with myself. The pre-baby me who enjoyed writing, pedicures and jogs in the crisp morning air diminished. The book I once cradled while falling asleep was replaced with a snuggly infant. My identity had been erased and replaced with new titles – wife and mother.
Two years after my son was born, I gave birth to my daughter. My love for her was instantaneous and effortless. I enjoyed watching my children bond and grow together. Although an addition to the family meant there was more love to spread and cherished memories to create, it also meant less time to invest in me. I was so focused on my family that I developed a microcosm consisting only of them. I was inadvertently shutting friends, associates and even some family out of my world. After my son began to experience developmental and medical challenges my bubble became even smaller. I am typically a private person, but suddenly I became even more guarded. I was anxious, cranky and frumpy. I gained nearly thirty-pounds, and my clothing selection was so dreadful at times my son looked at me with bewilderment. My devotion to my family was unwavering, but the difficult question I had to ask myself was, “are they really getting the best version of me”? It hurt to look at myself in the mirror and pose the question because I knew they weren’t.
Lately, I have been carving just a bit of time out the day for me, and I feel better. I call it my “protected time.” My days are now less stressful and even more productive. I knew I must have given semblance to my former self when I stepped out of the bathroom and my daughter complimented my styled hair. Her focus shifted from my styled tresses to the picture on the wall as she exclaimed, “Mommy, that you!” Her statement was a clear indication she assumed the woman sitting next to her daddy in the picture was someone else!
It has taken nearly 5 years for me to realize that self-care should not be considered a treat. It is a dire necessity. Motherhood is a gift from God, but at times it can also be challenging and tiresome. As mothers, we manage households, transport our children to school, doctor’s visits and extracurricular activities. We clean our dwellings relentlessly. At the end of the day, we are tired. Very tired. Yet, we still muster up the strength to prepare a decent meal and assist our children with homework and baths. We read to them at least one of their favorite stories before the lights are turned off and sweet good nights are rendered. Some of us do this while working full-time, and with or without a spouse. Women truly are phenomenal beings, and we don’t give ourselves enough credit!
I love my husband and children but consider my story a cautionary tale. Marriage and motherhood will change you as a person, and it is okay to embrace many of those changes. They’re beautiful in countless ways, but you must try to maintain some balance in your life or you will fail. Cleave to the fact that you were a unique individual before you became a mother and wife. You once had hobbies, goals, and dreams. They may evolve or change in some ways over time, but they shouldn’t cease simply because a new chapter in life begins.
It is awesome to be a supermom and get the job done. However, it is also okay to have someone care for your children while you enjoy a bit of “protected time.” Invest in yourself and don’t feel guilty about it either. You deserve it!
Make sure you check out my new book that is certain to inspire any child.
Until Next Time Friends,
The Mommy Behind The Pen