Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Just Because You're A Parent Doesn't Mean You Have to Lose Your Identity

My husband and I were together for 7 years before Scarlett was born.  We had seven years of it just being us, and sharing life and memories together.  There were no nighttime feedings or parenting woes and we had all the time in the world for each other.

When I became a mom back in 2014, it was both a scary and exciting time. Jay and I were responsible for taking care of an 8 pound 4 once pooping and eating machine.  As time went on, Scarlett got older and I was able to have a little bit more time for myself.  She would play on the carpet with toys while I watched.  Nowadays, she's too mobile and active to be left unsupervised for a long period of time.  

I think the hardest part of parenting thus far has been making sure that my identity as a person, not just a mom, hasn't gone away.  It's very easy to get swept up in motherhood and only live life for your children.  I try to make time for my hobbies during nap time and when Scarlett goes to bed at night.  I don't have any friends who don't have children at this point, so our playdates and outings with the kids consist of talking about them and comparing stories.  People who don't have children don't understand what this life is like and cannot relate.  When I do meet up with my friends without the children, it's very nice to have adult conversation and get a break from the little ones.  

Motherhood is a busy, never-ending world of preparing meals, diaper changes, bottles, cleaning, laundry, sleepless nights, and homework checking.  There's nothing wrong with taking some time to yourself to do something that's important to you.  Whether you want to finish that book you keep putting down, knit a scarf, garden, or anything else that is meaningful to you, make sure you do it.  When you have "me" time, you'll feel better about yourself and in turn you'll be a better parent and person.  At night when Scarlett is sleeping I enjoy catching up on my favorite TV shows and relaxing with my husband.  I'm very tired at night from being with Scarlett one-on-one for 12 hours a day, and I'm desperate for adult conversation.

I try to have a date night with my husband once a month.  We go out to dinner or see a movie and just enjoy the time together.  We're never gone that many hours, but we appreciate the time to reconnect and have some time away from our child.  After all, we were together for so many years before Scarlett was born.  It's healthy and essential to remember why you're a couple and why you love each other.  It's inevitable that the children will come up in conversation, but try to savor the time with just your partner.

Don't lose yourself in motherhood.  There's plenty you can do to avoid this like doing an activity that you loved before having children.  Don't forget to ask yourself what you can do to make you happier at home or at work.  Some women enjoy volunteering to help benefit others.  Having just an hour or two of time for yourself everyday will make you a happy and satisfied person.  

Go ahead and be the best you can be, you deserve it. 

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