If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably heard about my excitement to partner with Plum Organics this year — a brand we have used since Piper started on solids! Today I’m sharing a glimpse into an honest look at motherhood with two and how I’ve tried to maintain a part of my own identity through it all. There are plenty of highs and lows that come with the first year of parenting — and already having a toddler has it’s own set of challenges (and rewards) too . I try to give an authentic look at my life as a mom in my Instagram stories…. and share the real, unfiltered look at life and today I’m sharing a bit more about what I’ve been struggling with (and what’s been amazing) and how I’m still trying to be myself and not just a mom. Being a mom is my greatest joy in life but it also doesn’t define the other parts of me that I love — my career, my relationships, my creativity. Plum Organics has an amazing campaign called Keeping It Together which focuses on the life altering experience of becoming parents! Check out Plum’s page for great expert advice, tips and more stories from parents like me on keeping it together in the first year. It’s a great resource for those days when you are feeling defeated and exhausted. It reminds you that you are not alone!
The truth is, becoming a mother is all consuming. But it doesn’t mean that my entire identity needs to be defined by my role as a mother.
I have many roles in my life and while I was pretty good about keeping my own identity when I had my first daughter, having two children has made it more of a challenge. But I keep reminding myself…. I’m only 3 months in. I’m still getting used to my new role of caring for a newborn and a demanding toddler. While trying to work from home and plan out the meals for the week, grocery shop, do the 101 loads of laundry that need to be done every day.
I hate to complain about this and often feel selfish and guilty when I think about how I’m complaining about “me time” when I have two healthy, beautiful girls who want and need my attention. I feel so lucky and grateful to be in this situation, don’t get me wrong but it’s hard to go from having hours a day to do what you want (shower, read a book, paint your nails, take a gym class, try a new recipe, get drink with friends) to feel limited to looking forward to your 20 minute shower.
What I’ve been telling myself recently is that soon this phase will be over, Flora will be sleeping at 7pm like Piper and Austin and I will have our entire evenings back again. 3 entire hours before bed to ourselves. And at the same time our sweet, tiny newborn will be older and I’ll feel sad I wished away this special time. So for now I’m trying to do my best at fitting in time for myself when I can and just reminding myself that time is such a thief. Soon my girls will be in school and I’ll have hours to work and tend to myself and I’ll be missing the days when they were babies.
I know that I’m a better, happier mother when I can maintain a part of my pre-mom identity.
Two weeks ago I was having a particularly trying week. It was just one of those weeks where nothing seems to go right, Austin had a not-so-great work schedule and I had minimal childcare. Trying to work with no childcare is really HARD right now and it takes a toll on me. I feel like I’m failing at being a good mom when I’m on my laptop around my girls and I feel like I’m failing at my jobs when I’m missing deadlines and turning things in late or taking over a week to respond to an email. I also have been missing city life and feel a little isolated in the suburbs. So I decided I was making plans to go into DC with my girlfriend, get inspired and just have some fun. Like I used to. I came home from that morning and felt so refreshed and so much happier than I had in while. And you know what? The next day, Sunday I was at home all day with the girls alone and normally I’d be annoyed I couldn’t prep for the week, clean and grocery shop but….we had THE BEST DAY. And I know it’s because I was refreshed and needed that time.
Taking half a day to indulge in myself, and just focus on doing what I wanted was such a good reminder that taking time for myself is SO important. Next time you feel overwhelmed, I hope you give yourself permission to take a break. It’s OK to get a babysitter for a few hours and go wander the aisles of your favorite store, get lunch with a friend, or treat yourself to a massage. It’s more than self-care.
It’s about keeping your pre-mom identity, doing those things that fill you up in ways that being a mom may not. Trust me, in the end you’ll be a better mom for it!
Do you have a story in motherhood to share? We want to hear it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your essay. Read other stories here.
Thanks to Plum Organics for sponsoring this post!
Images by Lauren Swann