“I have no idea what I want in life.”
“I don’t know who I am anymore.”
“I don’t know anything BUT being a mom.”
Those are phrases taken straight from the women I’ve worked with in and around the Design Your Fulfilled Life Program.
I remember once a friend asking me what I liked to do, such as hobbies, etc., and I couldn’t produce an answer. I honestly had no idea what I liked to do other than work, take care of the kids, attend the kids’ events, and catch an occasional episode or two of an interesting series I happened to come across. I also had a tendency to give the same answer anytime someone asked me how things were going in life. “Oh you know, same ol’, same ol’, work, kids, living the dream!”
It wasn’t until my kids began to get older that I began to realize I had completely lost myself in motherhood. Over time, after years of taking care of everything for everybody I slowly faded away from myself, my interests, my passions, my hobbies, without even realizing it was happening. It wasn’t all of a sudden. It wasn’t as if one day I woke up and thought to myself, “Oh snap, I’ve lost who I am!” It’s a gradual shift that we don’t even realize is happening until one day we’re standing there and nobody needs us….for anything.
As our kids get older we enter this sort of new territory as a parent. The kids get older and they themselves slowly need us less and less. Slowly they no longer need us to fix their lunches, or take them to the doctor. With every milestone they achieve, it’s one less thing they need from you. When we realize our role as mom, the only role we’ve known for 18+ years, has drastically changed, we feel as though the rug has been pulled out from underneath us. No longer do we need to check backpacks, fix lunches, or schedule appointments. Sure, they’ll still call for advice, or money, but they’re flying off from the nest to start anew and we’re left sitting there wondering what in the heck do I do now. As we start to come to terms with our new reality, we realize we’ve lost our identity. We’re unable to answer some of the most basic questions. What do I enjoy doing for myself? What are my hobbies? Who am I?
Part of the reasoning behind this is the socially accepted idea that it has to be either/or. You can be a great mom or you can do things in life you personally enjoy, but you can’t have both. Being a “good” mom equates to surrendering anything and everything you have ever loved in order to devote yourself solely to your children. Self-care is deemed selfish, women who take time away from their kids to enjoy their own activities are deemed poor mothers, and we continue to validate this damaging idea of either/or.
Or, we are so dependent upon the kids needing us that we completely immerse ourselves into being a mom and frantically panic as time passes by. This is why I dislike the phrase, “these are the best years”. Every year should be the best year. Every season of parenting brings something new to enjoy. Thinking that you have to give your everything to being a parent and saving nothing for yourself because “they’re only little once” or because “these are the best years” is living in a scarcity mindset that there’s not enough joy to last a lifetime.
As mothers, it’s ultimately up to us to create this balance, when we’re ready. My role is to hold a safe place for women to touch their toes into the water as they begin to rediscover themselves. We must all come to this crossroads on our own terms, on our own timeline. Some of us create this balance from day one, for others it’s much later, and that’s okay.
If you’re ready to embrace the idea that it doesn’t have to be either/or, but instead a healthy, symbiotic mixture of both, here are 5 Ways Mothers can Rediscover Themselves.
5 Ways Mothers can Rediscover Themselves
Pick up a hobby or activity that you enjoyed before becoming a mother. This could be yoga, painting, movie dates with friends, knitting, reading. Something that you truly enjoyed that you have all but given up since becoming a mom.
Create space in your daily schedule that allows you time alone to reconnect. Be sure to schedule this as a non-negotiable, and use this time to journal, meditate, or just rediscover you again.
Surround yourself with like-minded women. Find other women who are ready to create this balance, and create a safe space together as you begin to explore shifting your mindset. The Wanderlust and Wellness Community Group is a great place to start.
Open up about this shift in mindset. Be open with your spouse, your family, even your children. Change shouldn’t happen in a bubble, share with your loved ones things about you that you’d love to rediscover again.
Visualize Your Perfect Day. Take time to visualize what your perfect day would look like. Often times we’ve spent so many years shutting ourselves away that we have a hard time visualizing what a balanced life could even look like. Visualize yourself doing the things you once loved, rediscovering yourself, and your family and children supporting you along the way.
Ready to go deeper and fully rediscover yourself?
Hi, I’m Jennifer!
I love food, coffee, cats, wine and traveling. I’m on a mission to create a balanced, yet fulfilled life, and help other women do the same. Somewhere along the way, after years as mom, wife, career woman, we lose ourselves. We stay in careers we despise, we put our health on the back burner and we start wishing and never actually doing. We’re taught that you can only chase your dreams when you’re young, not when you’re 40+ and I’m here to show you that you absolutely can create a life that sets your soul on fire.