Motherhood. One of life’s most incredible gifts. I’m grateful everyday for my little blessings. My content on momhood comes with open-mindedness, sensitivity, grace and respect – so please don’t take offense to any of my advice or suggestions, as they are simply that. You know what’s best for your children, and what works for your lifestyle. We’re all striving for our own versions of balance, and have different ways of defining that word.
On the contrary – we’re all in this journey together. The ups and downs, successes and fails, happy days and sad days, milestones and setbacks. A result of this roller coaster is what I call the game of lost + found – one that I’ve been playing since my first daughter was born 3 years ago.
LOST: adjective: unable to find one’s way; not knowing one’s whereabouts.
Sound familiar? Your mind. Your sanity. Yourself. Somehow – unaware – bits and pieces of yourself float into the distance like quiet drifting balloons. In most cases, they get snagged on a branch and are retrievable if you’re able to:
[ 1 ] realize you lost it.
[ 2 ] find where it went.
[ 3 ] untangle the knotted string.
I’ve spoken to many moms who experience this same struggle. If you’re a new mom, don’t let this scare you. It’s manageable, you’ll be great, and these challenges are why “motherhood” has such a powerful connotation. If you’re a seasoned mom, you understand the value of self-awareness, or you’re at least trying to comprehend what that even means because you’re feeling lost this very moment. It’s normal. There are days I’m so off-my-rocker I can’t even put a simple thought together. I feel like my head will literally spin off my body. After a good cry, a lucky nap or just a new day I usually feel better. But the deeper issue here is self-awareness. Who are you? What do you like? What are you good at? What hits your funny bone? What are your guilty pleasures? What makes you feel sexy?
Another challenge: Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. A common word in motherhood. I am annoyingly guilt-ridden. I drive myself crazy with mom-guilt, but I can’t help it. It’ll likely always be there and I accept that. But what I’ve realized, and what I’m sharing with you, are the moves I’ve made in this game that have helped me find myself and maintain some level of awareness. “Lost and Found.” You’re not forever gone, you just need to take control – go find your sexy self – and bring her on’ home.
[ 1 ] Add yourself to the equation. Time management. At night, roughly plan your next day and mentally (or literally) highlight areas where you can have some “me time.” What works for me: I usually do a short workout while the kids are eating breakfast. That’s when I have the most energy. Motivation goes downhill by 3pm. Then, if it’s a good day and they nap together, I devote that time to whatever I’m in the mood for – and that does NOT include house chores. It’s either work, a nap, a shower, yoga, a TV show, a book or simply diving into Instagram on the couch. I’m a big fan of ‘Eat Pray Love’, so when my husband’s traveling I’ll occasionally cozy up to this feel-good movie. Personal preference. Spend your time wisely and try to take advantage of any gaps where you can do something that makes you feel good.
I wish I spent more time cleaning, said no mom ever – anonymous.
[ 2 ] Talk to someone. A family member, a friend, a neighbor, or join an online group forum to connect with other moms. Support is huge. I’m extremely stubborn asking for help or unloading my challenges onto someone else. I tend to bottle things up and load it all on my shoulders until it feels nearly unbearable. Once I realized how much I was isolating myself – and how much it was back-firing – I started talking to other moms about anything and everything. I feel 100x better afterwards. As soon as I put the phone down I feel a strong sense of relief and camaraderie. Support is a must. Even if you’re introverted, try and find someone you can relate to and schedule time weekly to jump on the phone or email to vent, share stories, laugh or cry. Whatever’s on tap that week. Unload and connect!
[ 3 ] Sleep. This one’s tough for me. I know you’ve heard this a million times before, but sleep = sanity and good health. I’m a night owl (or at least I used to be), and an early riser naturally. If you’re not, I give you so much credit. I have plenty of mornings when the monitor [aka alarm] wakes me up to the repetiton of “mommmm, mommmyyyyy, mooooooooom, mom” seconds later followed by my toddler staring at my face inches away until I open my bloodshot eyes completely startled and wanting to cry of exhaustion. So for those of you who need those 8 hours, and even those who don’t, make sure you take advantage of their naptime (if they still nap) and give yourself some shut-eye. Again, I’m stubborn. But once my husband convinced [forced] me to start napping once in a while, I realized how refreshed and human I felt. After napping I’m a sloppy-zombie when I wake up, but I usually feel the benefits the next morning… and it’s glorious. Zzzzzz
[ 4 ] Nourish yourself. Body and mind. We’re so focused on the health and well-being of our children that many of us don’t give ourselves the nutritional attention that we should. When you feel good on the inside, it shows on the outside. You’ll feel stronger and more confident. Seriously, your skin will glow from good health and happiness. When you feel good, you look good. Make sure you’re getting all the vitamins you need, ideally through the foods you eat, and hydrate. I have plenty of tips on how to prep + make healthy meals and snacks easily and efficiently. It all starts with what you put in your body… and your mind.
[ 5 ] Stop comparing yourself. Whether it’s status, body shape, parental strategy/philosophy, monetary envy, followers on social media, number of “likes” you got on your last post. Whatever you’re obsessing about and wishing was something you had, try to detox that from your mind. It’s sh*t. The amount of time you spend on your phone looking at content that makes you feel worse about yourself, convert that time into following content that inspires you. Influencers or motivating people that you can relate to, connect with, or that simply make you feel happy. Nourish your mind with anything that will make it stronger, healthier and happier. I’m preaching this because I noticed how some ‘social media’ behaviors were making me feel low. As soon as I acknowledged it, and changed my perspective, the ‘free time’ I had on my phone began adding value to my life. Motivating and inspiring me. Do the same, and see how good you feel once you make those little changes.
So, when you feel like you’ve lost yourself or notice your sanity to start to sneak away, try some of these practices that have made a significant difference in my life. Dominate your life. You have control.
Try not to lose your grip, but if you do, go find yourself and grip a little tighter next time. When you do find yourself… strut your stuff through that door like a diva and yell… “Mama’s home!”