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Me First, Motherhood immediately after...

Before having my son a year ago I was a self-care kind of girly. I kept my nails manicured, white polish on my toes, and brows threaded and came hell or high water I was going to do my hair. I got my waxes done every 4 weeks like clockwork and spent hundreds on skincare, all the things to make me look like I felt my best. Sometimes it was true, other times I was faking it until I made it. I always had time for myself though, time for my relationship, time for my family, it’s been a year and I have not yet learned how to integrate my son into my life cohesively. He is my life and it is consuming. When I got pregnant, I immediately knew the kind of parent I wanted to be. The Mother that I always wanted to be, I’m realizing, is a figment created out of my own childhood trauma, and although I am proud of the Mommy that I have been, I also recognize that I am lost in servitude, trying to reparent my inner child all while figuring out how to parent my first child at 33 years old.

A big part of my deep-nose dive into motherhood was due to me not having the birth experience that I wanted. I didn’t get the unmedicated home birth, the immediate skin-to-skin, or all the things that I had imagined it would be like. My birth story was traumatic and after not feeling like I had any control over the experience, I then grasped on to making motherhood the best for my son and not necessarily for myself because I felt like I didn’t or couldn’t give him the best entrance into this world. Sounds crazy and extreme but I felt like and still do feel like he deserves the best of everything after a year I wonder if I’m doing him a disservice when he’s getting all of me and I’m getting none of me. Is this what motherhood is supposed to be? I never really had an example. I had a great Mom, but her job and providing as a single parent to 3 children was definitely her priority. My mom gave us all the material things we wanted and she was as loving as she had the capacity to be but we barely got any quality time and yet she ALWAYS made time for herself.

Where’s the balance, if there is one? Looking back at pictures and videos of my son’s first year I see love and joy in him but I can’t help but see me there, unkept, bonnet and pajamas on, covering my new Mom body that I hate, sleep-deprived and masking all of that with a smile and my son on my hip. I think so many new moms or moms, in general, are afraid to voice this side of Motherhood because we get judged so harshly if we don’t have it all together. Still, I just wanted to offer some grace and maybe find or be an accountability partner to the moms out there that need it. To all of us who are to the point where we want out of this cycle of not being in love with our new normal, here are 5 ways I am dedicating myself to finding the balance and finding myself:

1. Morning & Night routine for yourself

(Strap for time? Put together a simple 5-step morning & night routine to help you begin and end your days.)

2. Health/Physical Activity

(Take your vitamins, drink your water, eat sufficiently, and move your body; exercise, walk, stretch, yoga, dance, etc)

3. Get dressed every day

(When you look good, you feel a little bit better! Get out of those pajamas and take the bonnet off)

4. Daily Affirmations & feel-good music

(Many of us are struggling with confidence and self-esteem postpartum so romanticize your life by instilling some positivity into yourself.)

5. Self-care/Solo Dates

(If you’re like me and like doing your own maintenance, I prefer nights when everyone is asleep, choose 1 night to do your maintenance or 1 day to get your maintenance done. Then 1 day of the week take yourself out for an hour or 2)

Remembers Mamas, this is just the beginning, give yourselves grace. Be consistent when you can because we are worth the effort. We deserve to be our best selves for us, before anyone else!

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