Once you have kids your life stops being about you. Suddenly what you do for yourself just flies out the window. Everything you do, especially in the early days with a new baby, is about them. You sleep on their schedule, you eat when you can sneak it in, you only go out if you can take the baby and it’s 10,000 necessary items. Your life almost stops when a babies life begins (outside your body, I mean.) I think this is what they call Mom Life.
For me, this lead to a bit of a loss of identity. As the Mom I was the primary caregiver because the babies ate from my body. I couldn’t be away from them for long in the beginning. And I was a nervous first-time Mom. I will admit I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I hated hearing Emma cry – it made me feel like I was doing something wrong. Now I know babies just cry sometimes. They are dry, not hungry, and nothing is really “wrong.” Maybe they’re bored, or tired but not wanting to sleep, but in those times it’s okay to let them cry. I didn’t get that in the beginning.
After many years of little sleep, and sometimes no care about how I looked or even really felt, my girls are able to be alone, or look after each other. They now understand that Mom sometimes needs to go out. She needs time away (or at least alone in the house) to re-set. A glass of wine and an hour to read a book (I never really get an hour, but you know…) keep Mom sane and happy, and that means she’s more likely to say “Yes!” to their requests. It’s been a long time coming, but I finally feel like I’ve reclaimed some of the “me” I was before. My Mom Life is changing!
Before kids I was a concert go-er, an avid reader, a walk-taker (sometimes a hike if I was adventurous!), and a constant music listener. Some of these things are returning to my life. Reading, walking, and listening to music is easier now. Concert going really only works if it’s not at a bar, meaning starting at 10pm and keeping me out til 1am. Rose will still get up at 6 or 6:30 regardless of what time I go to bed. And I’m starting to take the kids to these things. Walks, hikes, and other outdoor fun is easy now, as long as it’s not too hot!
I’m exploring other things in my “me time” right now. I take a ballet class during the school year – Adult Ballet level I. It’s basically an intro to ballet style exercise class and I love it! I started last November (and stopped in June when classes ended) but my flexibility has increased like crazy! Plus it’s an evening class which affords me one night a week when I don’t have to do dinner and bedtimes. It’s nice to give Dad a chance to have an evening alone with the girls.
I also find my confidence about my life in general is at an all-time high. At 36 years old I feel as confident as I ever have in my life. I think having kids gives you a new view on life. What’s important and what really isn’t. Being healthy and surrounded by people who love you and support you are really all it’s about. No sense worrying about anything else. Do what you love, spend time with people you enjoy, and everything else should fall into place. It doesn’t necessarily happen, but you’ll be happier if you don’t sweat the small stuff. (I know – cliché!)
Since I had my second (and last!) baby I’ve lost weight. It’s part of the confidence thing. I finally feel like I have a handle on how to deal with these kids. At least sometimes, anyway. Getting back to what I like doing is increasing my active time, and helping me snack less in the evenings. Maybe that sounds weird, but I was stress eater, and I ate when I was bored. Sitting downstairs listening to Emma cry-it-out (after she was a year old) was very stressful for me. And staying home because I had kids can create some serious boredom as well. Now that the girls are well into routines, throwing a babysitter at them and going out for an evening gives me almost no stress. There’s always a smidge of mom guilt there, but I hear that tiny Mom worry will be there for the rest of my life so I guess I’d better get used to it!
Mom Life doesn’t have to be about your kids and family. It should be about you, Mom, and doing what you need to do to be your best self for your family. For me it’s getting out once in a while without the kids, taking that ballet class, enjoying books and music, and being outside. If you can do those things with your family (especially as the kids get older) than do it! Show them what you love and why. With any luck they will enjoy it too and you can make many happy memories of time spent together doing what everyone loves.
Do you have any tips from your Mom Life? Do you get out and spend time with friends or family kid-free? Or have your kids taken an interest in your interests? I want to hear about it! Or about other Mom struggles you’re facing. Mom Life can be tough – let’s face it together!
PS – For me Mom Life and Dad Life are the same. Meaning everything that gets tagged as Mom Life is interchangeable with Dad Life. Dads need the same escapes, outlets, and kid-free time as Moms. In my household I am the one who (at least lately) spends the most time with the kids so the Mom Life applies a little more to me than to Dad. He is currently working on 100 projects at work and for others that keeps him out and about until past bedtimes quite often right now.