Becoming a mom changes you. It shifts your priorities and gives your life new purpose and meaning, but it’s easy to lose sight of the things that were important to you before motherhood in the process. It’s normal for being a mom to define you, but there’s more to you than raising kids. Your dreams from before motherhood are still there, you just need to re-connect with them.
- Identify your goals
What are you striving for? Are you simply pursuing your career or continuing education because it’s “the thing to do?” Is your heart really in it? I’m sure there are plenty of moms that are miserable working because they’d rather be home with their kids. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a stay at home mom, it’s something I often yearn for. What I mean is that spending time away from your kids doing work you hate is a bad deal. Before you haphazardly agree to take on more responsibility with your limited time, it’s important to sit down and reflect on what you want your life to look like in 5 or 10 years. For me, connection with others through teaching gets me fired up. Becoming a better educator and communicator are things I’m stoked to invest more time in.
- Set aside time for being creative
Identifying your biggest goals might not come to you initially. You might not know anymore what you’re passionate about. At these times, it’s helpful to spend time playing or doing something creative. Scheduling time to paint, write, draw, take photos, dance, or make videos can energize you. I felt so depressed and tired this week. Do you ever feel that way? Like you’re in a fog and just going through the motions? I decided to take a pause to free-write for awhile to get to the bottom of what was bothering me, and it helped me a lot! I’m looking forward to spending more time developing recipes and creating art on a more regular basis.
- Commit to something and finish it
Once you identify your goals, you have to start somewhere. The first piece of creative work you do might not be amazing, but you’ll be excited to have finished it! Good work comes through practice. While I was pregnant, I worked for many hours on countless drafts of a continuing education article for dietitians. I wrote a short course on the role of RD’s in prevention and treatment of obesity in kids. I’m not a strong writer, but I was determined to finish the project. While it’s not a very exciting read, but I’m so proud of myself for finishing it. Even if nobody reads it, I’m glad that I was able to accomplish this thing that I had set out to do.
Check out the full article here! (pages 53-58)
- Nurture friendships
It’s easy to feel isolated when the only people you spend time with are your kids. First of all, it’s so good for your marriage to schedule date nights (without your kids) to reconnect with your husband. It’s nice to have meaningful conversations like you used to before having children. Similarly, it’s good for your sanity to have other adult friends to connect with. Talking through what you’re concerned about or excited for with other women can be super therapeutic. If you don’t have many mom friends, join a mom’s group to make some! There are plenty of mom MeetUp groups, Facebook groups, and church groups.
- Stay connected spiritually
Trust me- if you feel like you are just drifting or becoming overly self-centered at this stage in life, spending time in the prayer or meditation will re-align your purpose and fire you up for something more. To be honest, Colby and I haven’t been going to church since Everly was born. I miss the richness that participating in fellowship with other Christians brings to my faith, and I know that getting back to it will get me on track with my priorities and the way I want to live my life. The kind of person I want to be, the type of personality I strive to have are manifested through a spiritual life that is well nourished. Not sure where to start? Begin by implementing a gratitude practice. I like to start and end each day praying thanks for the blessings in my life. I’m also really digging this app, Headspace, for guided meditation.
- Don’t overlook the power of getting your blood flowing
This may seem trivial, but it’s a simple habit that can make a huge impact in your happiness. Exercise is a free and accessible form of self-care for most moms. If you can do it outside, it’s even better! Getting fresh air and surrounding yourself with nature can make you feel more grounded and refreshed. Awhile ago I figured out that my bad moods are almost always linked to being completely sedentary for more than a day. I know my body craves joyful movement- dancing, cycling, running, swimming… If I go too long without moving my body, I get disproportionately down. I can’t emphasize enough how much better you’ll feel if you get up early, move your body, and then go about your day. It just gets things started on a positive note and will give you an extra bit of energy in a way that sleeping in won’t!
If you’re a mom, what do you do to keep other aspects of your identity alive? If you aren’t a mom, what habits do you practice to keep sight of your life’s purpose?
Great post! My youngest child is 8 and I am just now trying to find myself again. That being said I recently realized I’ll never find that “old me” again because she doesn’t exist. My kids have changed me and made me into a “better me”. So I guess my search has evolved into finding who I unknowingly have become, if that makes sense. ;)