While all mothers love their children and will probably agree that being a mother is the best job in the world, there are times when all that self-sacrifice and hard work can get the better of you. Many women who become mothers, especially at a young age, let their interests and passions slowly fade away without even realizing. But while it’s true that being a Mom is inarguably an end to life as we know it, it shouldn’t be an end to life, period.
Mia Redrick, The Mom Strategist, calls losing yourself in motherhood the “silent war”, as women repeatedly give up the things they once held dear, such as their careers, studies, hobbies, and activities. Keep in mind a few important factors and don’t let being a Mom stop you from being you.
You’re important too – If you don’t make time to take care of yourself, you’ll end up suffering from burnout and resentment towards your partner, friends, or children. Remembering that you matter as well is vital to making sure you remain in good physical and mental health and that your family relationships are not strained. Call on help from your partner, parents, siblings, or other relatives and, failing that, drop your little one off at daycare and make sure that you get your haircut, go to your yoga class, study for your midterms, or see your friends. You're a role model for son or daughter, so think about what image you’re portraying of women.
Make the most of nap time – If your children are little and you’re at home looking after them, the chances are you feel so exhausted by the time they fall asleep that all you want to do is take a nap as well. But if you can fight back the tiredness, even just a couple of times a week, use that hour or two to update your blog, relax in a bubble bath, call your best friend, or update your resume. Don’t use it to do housework or make dinner for the family, use this valuable time for yourself.
Delegate when and what you can – Your partner should be sharing some of the burden of parenting and if you’re doing it alone, then you probably have someone who can take care of certain things for you, even if it’s picking up dry cleaning or taking your son to soccer practice. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, learn to delegate and share the responsibility.
Learn to say no – We all hate letting other people down but, why let your sense of duty extend beyond your kids? You don’t have to agree to organize the school fete. You don’t have watch your neighbor’s child, and you can say no without feeling guilty about it. If you find yourself resenting saying yes on more than one occasion, then that's a pretty good indication that you need to learn to start saying no every once in awhile.
Talk honestly with other women – While you may find that some women are unwilling to honestly share their motherhood experience and only want to talk about how perfect their lives are, the majority of women out there are just like you. If you don’t have any close friends to rely on, try joining a local support group, even online, you can find a place where you can openly share your feelings without being judged.
Don’t let go of your family – Being a Mom is hard work and with no time to spare, it might turn out distancing you further from your relatives, especially if they live interstate or international. If you’d like to keep them closer then you could create a family website where you can show your kid’s developments, funny photos and get creative.
Huffington Post claims that the economic slump across the States has created more long distance families in America than ever before and, if this trend continues, then it will become increasingly more important to unite your loved ones, even when they live far away. Keep your memories and family history in one safe, common place online, and who knows? You may even find that you pick up a new skill or let you old sense of creativity in. Like to write? Update a family blog. Enjoy taking pictures? This is the perfect platform. Being a mother should complement who you are – the real you – not the one you think you should be.
Michael Peggs is the founder of digital marketing agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.