Tried and true, by yours truly. I have lost myself, and then found myself once again. I have walked down the road of each of these 12 ways to lose myself, and the result was just that.
I lost myself in Motherhood and found myself once again by committing to daily mindfulness. Becoming a more mindful Mom helped me to hear my true voice and follow it as it got louder. This blog is written satirically, but I’ve seen these behaviors from Moms who have lost themselves too for years.
1. Cling too tightly to your ideals as a Mom – when my first was born, I had 1,000 rules about what she could eat, what she could look at (no TV until 1 year old), what toys she could or could not play with, and more. Ultimately, I isolated people and sucked the fun and any ease I could have granted myself while having my first child.
2. Choose a ‘title’ and stick with it – because breast feeding was important to me, I decided even further that I was a breastfeeding and crunchy Mom. That meant that I nursed my baby on demand, co-slept, didn’t use plastic, and didn’t buy anything from China. And you know what, these titles never allowed me to express my truth or shift toward what was actually right for me. Turns out, I actually didn’t want to nurse my baby 12 times a night or barely sleep because I was worried about her next to me all night long. You don’t have to pick a title of what kind of Mom and stick with it. You are free to choose habits and behaviors that make you happy. You don’t need to title what kind of mother you are, you just need to do what feels best for you.
3. Live in the past – this is where I really lost myself. When my second child was born, I spent a lot of time day dreaming about my pre-kid life. I romanticized the ‘freedom’ I had before having kids and how I could just get up and go. I also missed how cool I thought I once was, as now, a Mom in sweat pants and only one eye with mascara on it no longer hit my definition of ‘cool.’ Don’t dwell on the past in Motherhood. You’re not living there anymore.
4. Live by the ‘shoulds’ – according to me, once upon a time, a Mom should be able to take care of her children, find time to work, go to the gym, have sex with her husband, keep a clean house, never let the laundry sit too long, cook home cooked meals every night, and still find ways to see her friends. I had so many rules for what a stay at home mom or working mom looked like and I tried desperately to make my life work within these ‘shoulds.’ I wound up feeling terrible about myself, feeling less than, and like a failure when I couldn’t uphold my own made up shouldness of motherhood.
5. Judge, Judge, Judge – thank you social media for making this waayyyy easier than it ever should be. But because of this medium, it became too easy to judge what other moms were posting an in-turn judge myself for not showing off the perfectly filtered life that others were. Judgment sucks you in Mama, and judgment of another always comes back as judgment of self. This is a harsh one, but the judging has GOT TO GO!
6. Lose my sense of gratitude – this was another huge shit for me, personally. I had gotten so caught up in everything that I always ‘had to be doing’ as a Mom that most days, I would forget completely to bring my awareness to how grateful I really was for my supportive husband, healthy children, the roof over my head, and food always in my fridge. Shifting toward gratitude and expressing it daily instantly brought joy back into my life and allowed me to understand just how blessed I really was.
7. Think that being a Mom would fulfill me totally – ok, here’s my truth. I love being a Mom, but it does not fulfill me completely. Kudos to you if this is your truth, but I had a difficult time admitting that it was not mine. I just always thought that Mothers were supposed to want to live and die for their children 100% of the time. But my reality is that I need more in my life and other sense of purposes than just motherhood to fill my cup up all the way.
8. Live with Guilt – hello Mom Guilt! I actually didn’t even really believe you were a thing until I became a Mom and then WOAH! I made choices about what to do, how to parent, and how to be a daughter or friend based on how guilty I felt if I didn’t do it. So, I operated from this low-level place, allowing myself to get sucked into feeling badly and then acting out of that. Guilt sucks and leading a life operating from guilt makes us always feel unfulfilled, unworthy, and insecure in our own self and truth.
9. Distract myself – ok, I have loved watching the Maury show for most of my life. And when my kids were babies, I continued to distract myself with crap TV, zoning out on my phone, gossiping, and doing just about anything to keep myself busy. What was I running from? The answer is, the present moment. I filled my day up to stay out of the house, my mind off the dishes in the sink, or that fact that I wasn’t always happy in Motherhood. I used distractions to hide my truth and try to get myself not to feel.
10. Not accept help –help for me came in so many forms, from family members wanting to help watch the kids, friends offering to vacuum for me so I could take a nap when my second was born, and my husband suggesting I go out for a night with friends. And do you know what I said each and every time? NOPE! I thought being a martyr made me a better mom. Turns out it really was just making me unhappier.
11. Feel ashamed to speak my truth- do you know what? I hate to clean. I also like to have scheduled time away from my kids every day. I almost never cook perfectly proportioned home cooked meals and I used entirely too many paper towels and plastic baggies. But for so long, I was scared to share any of that. What kind of Mom feels that way about her home, her children, and her environment? Well, I do. And I’m no longer scared to say it all out loud.
12. Forget to feel my breath – we are all so lucky to be breathing each and every moment of every day. The one thing that keeps us alive, we completely take for granted, opting instead to live in our heads and almost never in our bodies. My life began to change completely when I decided to take moments to feel my own life force and be present for a just a few deep breaths each and every day.
Meditation is what turned my life around, gave me the courage to speak MY truth, and allowed me to flourish in Motherhood. I invite you begin your own daily practice and learn my methods to making it fit into your daily life as a Mom. Check out my DIY course that will teach you how to begin and commit to a daily practice in just 5 minutes or less a day!