Welcome to Episode 17, where we debunk the rule "Being a mother means losing yourself." Mothers face enormous stigma in every society - they have to know everything about their child, about child-rearing, about human development, and everything else included in being a modern mom. On top of all that, they have to have a personal or business passion; be a powerful, independent woman; be a model feminist; and take care of herself. As Mia Redrick put it:
We must redefine who we are once we become a mother—all with less sleep, clarity and the greatest responsibility that we have ever had to assume."
The job description is completely impossible, and yet women have been doing it for centuries. What if there was another way? What if you could life your life like a regular person, with integrity and authenticity, and also be a badass mom? We've met enough outside-the-box moms that we know it's possible. In fact, you'll meet one next week! For now, tune in to learn more about where this rule came from, what contributes to it, and why you might consider breaking it!
NOTES + RESOURCES
The Myth of Motherhood: The Way Unrealistic Social Expectations of Mothers Shape Their Experience
By Dr. Regev (this is not a promotion)
- ...Aside from the obvious basic care such as feeding, changing diapers and bathing, there are many other expectations. for example, a mother should be strong and protective.
- She should be able to predict all the baby’s needs and provide them in an instant. She should know what kind of activities are appropriate in any stage of development, should be able to always soothe her baby, etc. The list goes on and on.
- On top of that, a mother is expected to feel happy and fulfilled at all times, thanks to the mere fact that she is a mom. The expectation that a mother should always feel joy and fulfillment is a part of The Myth of Motherhood.
The Good Enough Mother
By Elaine Heffner, CSW, Ed.D.
- As if that isn't enough, there are so many theories about how children should be raised in order for them to become emotionally well-adjusted, smart, successful and happy. And mothers are the ones on the hot seat.
- Now that so much has been learned about brain development, mothers feel responsible for that too!
- Child development research from its beginnings has, too often, assigned mom the role of primary influence, responsibility – and blame!
Making Yourself Happy First
by Kylee Sellak
- All about making yourself happy first
- Making a choice to keep sex and romance with your spouse active.
- Making the choice to keep your appointments
- Making a choice to have an evening out to yourself (once a week, twice a month, whatever you realistically have time for) and sticking to it.
- Making a choice to only make one dinner. You made dinner, your children will eat what you made, period.
- Making the choice to have every evening to yourself.
- Making the choice that what you say, goes, and there is no room for your tiny tot to make decisions for you.
- Making the choice to be well-rested and feel good about yourself because you are not chronically sleep-deprived. Being good parents is not synonymous with never having solid sleep ever again.
- Making a choice to take care of yourself.
- Read the full article by clicking the link above!
- This isn't a paid promotion, we just love Kylee!
How Women Lose Themselves in Motherhood
by Mia Redrick
- So many women lose themselves in motherhood. I call this the “Silent War,” the process of slowly fading away from yourself, your interests and your passions without even realizing that it is happening.
- Upon becoming pregnant, we moms are so focused on preparing for the new baby that we very seldom consider how to navigate this transition and affect our own personal growth once baby is born.
- Every mom get’s it wrong before she gets it right, but many mothers still struggle with being vulnerable. We must redefine who we are once we become a mother—all with less sleep, clarity and the greatest responsibility that we have ever had to assume. And it isn’t just new mothers that struggle with having to constantly adjust either.
- the best gift that I could give my family is a whole mom: A woman that liked herself, knew herself and respected herself enough to experience her own life.
5 Ways to Reconnect with Who You Are After Motherhood
1. Create a weekly ritual that allows you some time alone. Select the same day and time of the week and schedule this time on an ongoing basis.
2. Ask yourself, “What can I do right now to make me happier?” Whether it’s being happier at home, at work, finding a new hobby or volunteering, your next step is to act on what you have realized.
3. Create a vision board of simple goals that you have for your life. Include your plans like graduate school, starting your business, losing 50 lbs from pregnancy or completing a 5k, for example.
4. Enjoy something that you did before you were pregnant like ride a bike or travel.
5. Join Social Media communities to connect with other women that you can relate with and that might have non-judgmental solutions to help you in your journey.
- Learn a new skill: When a new baby arrives, it’s easy to let your infant rule your world. It’s perfectly natural to be engrossed in your offspring, but don’t forget that the adult side of your brain needs stimulating, too. Try enrolling at a community college for a short course in a subject that interests you, whether it be photography, art, cooking or dance, so your mummy brain is just as in tune as your baby brain.
- Say a daily affirmation: If you feel as though you’ve lost touch with your pre-baby self, try writing down a few words each day that really sum up who you are. Otherwise known as a ‘daily affirmation’, it can be as easy as writing 20 of your characteristics, or positive traits, on pieces of coloured card, putting them into a bowl, before picking one out each morning. Whether you pick up a card reading ‘generous’, ‘teacher’ or ‘happiness’, it can help set the right tone of each day.
- Remember your working self: Keep in touch with your old work friends and have regular catch ups with them. After all, work was most likely a mainstay of your life pre-children, and suddenly having to think non-stop about bibs, buggies and breastfeeding bras can one day become a bit tiring. So do some planning for when that day arrives, and keep a toe dipped into the work environment, so you’re in touch with your office buddies and keeping up to date with the nine-to-five.
- Get some mum me-time: Whether your kids are there or not, try and incorporate some ‘mum me-time’ into every day. If you love gardening, buy your toddler a trowel and get digging together. If you crave a daily exercise class, but don’t have a gym nearby, do like Gwyneth Paltrow, and practice a yoga DVD on your loungeroom floor with your baby crawling by. And turn off the Wiggles CD at least once a day and turn up the volume of some music that you love and sing into your hairbrush.
- See non-mum friends: Don’t just hang out with your mother’s group, but your other non-mum friends, too. After all, before you had a baby, you were going out shopping and partying together – what better way a to reclaim your pre-mum identity then by hitting the town and painting it red (or pink, at least). A good tip is to get your baby used to taking a bottle, so your partner can feed (formula or expressed milk) for you to get a night off. Just remember to pump and dump if you’ll be hitting tequilas and are still breastfeeding.
- Care about your clothes: If you’re still wearing maternity dresses by the time your baby turns one, take heart that most mums have been there… But what was a necessity in the weeks after birth needn’t carry on for much longer. Part of reclaiming your identity is dressing to express yourself, which means looking back to your wardrobe of ‘you’ clothes from pre-baby days. If boobs, feet or thighs have grown (or, miraculously shrunk!), and pre-baby clothes no longer fit, it’s the perfect time for some retail therapy and go shopping for some brand new threads.
- Set up your own business: If you’re longing to regain some financial independence, but can’t afford to return to work because of childcare costs, think about working with your baby by your side. Becoming a ‘mumpreneur’ means starting a home-based business – it could mean launching a range of babygros, hand-crafting baby shower invites or selling organic baby purees. Start talking ideas with your mum friends and then think about going into business, either on your own or as part of a team.
- Do something new (on your own): When your the mum of a busy family, it’s easy to get used to the noise and energy that goes with having the kids around all the time. But finding some time alone amidst the fun and chaos is a chance for you to get some me-time and realign and refresh your mind, ready to re-enter the fray. So when the kids are at school or kindergarten, visit a museum, take up an art class, or learn a language. Doing something new on your own is often the biggest confidence builder of all.
Gaby Abrams, client and founder of Casa Confetti Invitations on Etsy, says:
- Working and nurturing your own interests,
- having a date night with your husband once a month at least,
- talking to pre-baby friends on the phone or via group text,
- shopping for yourself so that you look and feel your best (so easy to fall into the yoga pant trap).
- Taking baby along to your things versus making your entire life about taking baby to classes and such. Baby won't remember that you took him to music class when he was 3 months old. You might as well bring him to a cute little bistro while you grab a glass of wine with a friend