Becoming a mother has left my heart filled with so much love I could never have imagined possible. Everyday spent with my girls is a blessing and I can't imagine my life without them. Motherhood is the most satisfying but also the most tiresome "job" in the world. It is non stop 24/7, never get a sick day, never get to sleep in or truly be on holiday, when they are little anyway. It is all consuming and we often lose "ourselves" in the process. We are so preoccupied with our children and taking care of our families, home, jobs that we sometimes forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. We get to a point, where we start to feel a yearning, if you will. A yearning to be "ourselves" again.
I remember with my first child this said yearning happened when my daughter was about 16 months old I all of a sudden just felt"this wasn't enough" and that made me feel guilty, why am I not feeling complete with being a mother, why isn't this enough and why am I yearning for my old life. I soon came to realize that it wasn't my old life I was mourning, because I didn't want to know a life without my baby/ies, it was simply that I was out of balance. The scale was tipping and it was not in my favour.
I remember growing up my mother use to put a lot of emphasis on having a balanced life, that all of the different roles you play in life, mother, friend, wife, child etc needed to be in balance, the same for the aspects of your life, you career your health, exercise. Back then I didn't realise that she was teaching me one of maybe the most important life lessons. Years later after having my second baby and having that feeling of loss or yearing return I finally understand what it is. My life is simply not balanced. While being a mother and taking are of your family is so important, you can not be your best peson if you are not taking care of yourself. So how do we go about this...because after sleep, time is the the most scarce thing in a mothers life.
I certainly do not have all the answers, but here are a few things I have found worked for me.
Accept your feelings of longing and wanting time for yourself & stop with the guilt. we mamas tend to carry around so much guilt and really it isn't benefiting anyone. Not ourselves and not our children. Rather be the best mother you can be and start listening to your body and your feelings. Be kinder to yourself, it isn't easy and yes, you are doing a great job! I think the most important thing is to take time for yourself every day, even if it is only 5 minutes to sit and meditate or even just enjoy a cup of coffee. Try and plan your day ahead, if it is in any way possible get up 1 hour earlier than your children and fit in a yoga session, go for a run or just take a long shower. Do more of the things that make you happy, that you used to do before having kids, whatever it may be make time for it. Take care of your body, make a point of getting a relaxing massage or facial at least once a month, your body is amazing-love it with all its beautiful imperfections.
Never stop dreaming, there are millions of mothers out there following their dreams and being moms too. Just because you are a mother doesn't mean you have to stop dreaming & pursuing your goals. I feel it is so important for my girls to see me taking care of myself, to see me dreaming, because in the end I am the only person who can give my daughters a mother who loves life.