Sparkle? It sounds vague, but deep down I knew what she was talking about. You see, my mother knows me better than I know myself. She picks up on the things I’d never say aloud. It’s as if she can read my internal monologue.
So, here it is… I’m overjoyed to be a mom. My son is an incredible blessing. He fills portions of my heart I never knew were empty. I’m beyond grateful that he is happy and healthy, that I have the flexibility to work part-time and be with him when he’s young, and that he’s growing up in a safe, secure environment. What more could I ask for? In fact—the mere consideration that something might be missing—sends waves of guilt washing over me.
Still, I can’t deny the truth. Somewhere between pregnancy and Hudson’s first seven months, I lost part of what makes me, me. Of course, change is only natural when you become a mother. You emerge a different person. You have to be. We’re called to be more patient, less selfish, more nurturing. But, I also believe fulfilled moms are better moms. It doesn’t take much to reconnect with our former selves, so why not try?
For me, it involved identifying three things:
Think about what makes you tick. What kind of projects and goals push you forward? How can you stay involved/connected to that world, even in a small way?
I am extremely career-driven, perhaps to a fault. I’ve known I wanted to be a journalist since high school and have been honing my craft ever since. After more than a decade of living and breathing deadlines, I found myself missing the adrenaline and challenge of live television. I longed to sit down and write, to tell compelling stories.
Reconnecting with journalism has been easier than I expected. I began investigating freelance opportunities and launched this blog. Both fit well with my new schedule as a mom and help me feel more productive, more complete. I write when Hudson goes to bed.
Take one hour per week and make time for your passion or hobby. Do you love reading? Pick up a book. Maybe you’re a runner or crafter? Give yourself a sliver of time to engage in your favorite activity.
I just rejoined Purdue’s Latin and Ballroom Dance Team. While I don’t have the time to be super-involved, I can fit in one class per week. I come home happy and re-energized, able to give Hudson my full attention. In fact, he likes being my “practice partner” in the kitchen. The second thing that helped me was reconnecting with fashion and style.
I’ve always loved dressing up. My “mom uniform” is certainly worlds apart from the pencil skirts, brightly colored sheath dresses and stilettos I adored as a news anchor, but it can be stylish in its own right. Lately, I’ve been living in jazzy sweaters and leggings. I look for pieces that have just enough detail to keep things interesting, but are also comfy enough for baby-wrangling.
Are you taking care of yourself? Are you staying physically active? If not, ask for help. Get the support you need to make it happen.
Hudson is not a great sleeper and likes to eat a LOT at night. After 6+ months of sleep deprivation, I finally asked my husband to get up with our little dude a couple of mornings per week. He was happy to do it. In fact, he would have gotten involved a lot sooner had I asked. An extra hour or two of zzzs has really helped jolt me out of my zombie-like state. I’m also getting back to my workout routine. Nothing fancy, just basic exercises in my living room and on the treadmill. I feel so much healthier, and consequently, better equipped to take care of Hudson.
I’m curious, what did you do to reconnect with your old self as a new mom?