Yesterday morning my child had a complete meltdown.
We’re talking full-on scream-mode for an entire hour.
His initial complaint was that I put a band-aid on his knee (you experienced mamas know, this is a delicate activity with kids).
But what should have been an easy fix to a small “owie” in our house turned to a full morning of uncontrollable crying and fragile feelings.
Nothing would comfort him. Not food. Not hugs. Not water. Not even Elmo, which usually fixes just about everything these days.
As I worked to comfort my child (who doesn’t quite have the words to explain how he feels yet), I felt pushed to my limit.
My nerves were so raw you could have toppled me with a feather.
I got to see a tiny glimpse of the real me – the one that I’m not sure I like.
My eyes were filled with tears the entire morning.
I wanted to yell at him, scold him for losing it, and get angry at the situation.
I wanted him to stop crying, because it was giving me anxiety, and causing me to lose control.
But I couldn’t’ even get the kid to take a toy, let alone a “deep breath in”.
As the morning finally passed and nap-time began (thank goodness for nap-time), I couldn’t help but feel ashamed of how I reacted.
Even with all the research, techniques, and daily stress-reducing actions I do to try and be a good mom, sometimes I’m just not sure who I am anymore.
Why You Can’t “Find Yourself” as a Mom Right Now
As a mother, you have a deep, uncontrollable urge to be there for your children.
Your days are tasked with teaching those adorable little humans how to dress, feed themselves, and take care of themselves so one day they’ll be happy, thriving adults.
But managing the lives of so many people (your kid’s, and your own) week after week can leave you feeling incredibly anxious.
And if you’ve gone through this cycle long enough, you’ll soon begin to feel like you can’t handle anything, because nothing is the same as it used to be.
What used to be a simple trip to the grocery store has turned into a full hour of planning, prepping, and rushing through it.
What used to be a nice Saturday morning off has now turned into just another day where you’re up before the sun because that’s when the kid gets up.
What used to set your soul on fire now sits in the back of the closet, unused, and collecting dust.
And even worse, you feel like a bad mom for wanting more out of life.
I get it.
I did the same thing too.
And I want you to know…that it’s ok.
And the reason you feel like you can’t find yourself right now is not because you’re a bad mom.
It’s because this job is hard. Very hard.
Especially as we try and navigate in a world full of addicting technology, overwhelming anxiety, world-wide pessimism, childhood depression, shameful political movements, and shifting tides.
If it’s enough to make our top CEO’s quit their jobs and become travel writers, you can bet this is a hard era to be parenting in.
Which is why you must be patient with your children, patient with your husband/partner, and most importantly…patient with yourself.
You’re not a bad mom for wanting more than just drudgery.
You’re not a bad mom for wanting to find yourself a little peace.
As I pointed out to one of my lovely mom friends the other day:
Motherhood is chaos pie with a dash of pride.
And we just want to feel whole, real, and fulfilled in this life.
It makes sense that you would want to find yourself somewhere in this mess.
And despite what the media or your friends or family may tell you, the negative thoughts you’re having are a good thing.
It means you’re still looking to find yourself in this wild and crazy ride called life.
It means you haven’t given up.
Four Thoughts All Moms Think When They’re Close to Finding Themselves Again
I feel resentful: My whole life revolves around my kid (and my husbands/partner’s does not.)
The Feeling: I remember feeling resentful towards everyone and everything when my son first arrived. Especially towards my husband.
I wanted to find myself as a new mom but I couldn’t get past the feeling of bitterness towards anyone who didn’t have to wake up at 2:00AM to feed a crying baby. As much as I wanted to feel whole in this new time of life, all I felt was resentment.
Why It’s Ok: While it’s normal to feel like your whole world has been turned upside down and your husband/partner’s world has not, that feeling of resentment is beneficial.
Resentment is there to help regulate the balance between your needs and the needs of your family. It’s important to listen to this feeling and acknowledge when you need more space than you’re getting.
Even though it’s hard, ask for help when you need it. And know that whatever phase you’re in, it won’t last longer than it needs to. Time moves quickly.
I feel grief and sadness: I miss my old life, and don’t have time for my dreams anymore.
The Feeling: Twenty-nine years of managing my own time, my own dreams, and my own life had quickly come to a halt after my son was born.
I was extremely depressed about losing the life I once knew and thought about it for weeks.
It was hard to admit, but I somedays I wanted to go back to when it was “easy”, and when I didn’t feel so pressured to perform as a new mom. It was painful to lose such a huge part of who I was.
Why It’s Ok: You’re feeling sad, and maybe even a little depressed about losing your old life – and that’s ok.
Don’t let those beautiful pictures on Pinterest and Instagram fool you – motherhood is a drastic life change. And grieving your old life is a natural part of moving forward.
It was a beautiful time in your life. You can grieve your old life and still be dedicated to the new one.
I feel suffocated: I can’t just “take a break” when I need one.
The Feeling: Some days, there’s just no time left for peace after getting your kids up, dressed, fed, in the car, to the pool or library or grocery store, back home for lunch, etcetera!
Having such a strict schedule left me feeling depressed, restrained, and lost within the baby-world.
I so badly wanted to leave my house when I wanted to, take a shower alone for once, or even scroll through my phone without my child needing me every second. I just wanted some time to find myself in all the chaos.
Why It’s Ok: No one is meant to constantly be solving problems all day long, yet that’s exactly what motherhood demands from you.
Feeling like you’re suffocating under the weight of it all is not only understandable, it’s necessary.
If you’re feeling suffocated by your role as a mom, you need to listen to those feelings. Dig deep and seek help. No one is meant to hold this much responsibility on their own.
I feel bored: I don’t have time for myself, or my dreams anymore.
The Feeling: One of the biggest things I struggled with as a new mom was the boredom.
Before my son was here I was in marketing, and loved the challenge that industry brought. That all stopped as soon as I had a child. Being a mother is such a wonderful experience, but the actual physical action of being a mom can be quite tedious. Monotonous. Boring.
I was constantly worried I would never use my brain again.
Why It’s Ok: You may not enjoy the hours of tedious tasks, nap time routines, and silly songs – and that’s a good thing. You’re not supposed to, because you’re an adult.
Caring for your child means sometimes you do things that he/she likes, and other times you do things just for you. Balance is key. And while you may not be able to avoid watching Sesame Street all day long, you don’t have to pretend you love it.
Since my major goal this year was to find myself again, I decided to start getting up earlier so I could work on something I’ve always wanted to accomplish – this blog! It’s essential to your well-being that you work on something that makes your heart feel full every single day.
I would love to hear about your Big Dream this year. What goal has been sitting in the back of your closet? What dream do you have that you wish you had time for? Comment below and let me know, let’s support each other on this journey towards finding ourselves this year!