Becoming a parent comes with a whole host of sacrifices. From uninterrupted sleep to the six-step self-care morning routine – there are some things you can cling on to as tight as your baby clutches your pinky, but eventually, those little things that once formed part of your daily life - your identity, will start to slip through your fingers. Today on the Little Extras blog, we’re sharing our best tips to overcome the motherhood identity crisis.
1. Re-discover your interests
So many mum duties revolve around the home. One way to step out of ‘motherhood’ and into ‘otherhood’ is to literally get out of the house. Find an activity or hobby that you enjoy and dedicate part of your day or week to spending time doing it. Think back to as far as your time at school – did you love being on the netball team? There could be a local ladies’ team for you to join! Was swimming your thing? Sign up to the local leisure centre. Were you a budding artist? Find a life drawing class to attend…
2. Embrace your new identity
Let’s face it – life will never be the same again. As much as you promised your girlfriends you would still make it to drinks on a Friday night, and you told yourself you wouldn’t change, it’s much easier said than done. Time for a shift in mindset - rather than focusing on the losses, think about what you have gained. Rather than thinking you’re ‘stuck in with the kids’, see it as choosing to spend precious time together (they grow so fast, after all!); instead of getting FOMO when you see your childless friends posting photos of a night out, enjoy an extra large glass of wine once the kids have gone to bed and remind yourself to book a sitter so you can join them soon.
3. Give yourself a break
Let the dirty laundry pile up, leave those dirty dishes for tomorrow, order that pizza for dinner. Sometimes throwing the schedule out for the day can be just what you need to step out of the mum zone and remember there’s more to life than the to-do list. Use this new-found free time to watch a movie you love, listen to your favourite music, or have a long bath. It’s easy to lose yourself in the daily grind but you’re not a robot, and you are certainly allowed to take a day off!
4. Involve the whole family
Sit down together and flick through old photos to remind yourself who you are and introduce the ‘old you’ to your children! You might be surprised at how cool they think you looked in that fringed leather jacket with bangs. Let them know what you used to love doing and see if they’re interested in doing it together. They might not share your talents, but they will have fun trying out new things. You can’t separate yourself completely from your children, so rather than losing yourself, come together and find new paths with them.
5. Take it slow
Jumping right in to finding the ‘old’ or ‘new’ you could become overwhelming. Try to focus on one goal at a time – starting with the issue that’s taking up the most space in your mind. Are you constantly feeling down about not fitting into your ‘old’ clothes? Draw up a workout and healthy eating plan and stick to it. Are you feeling a strain on your relationship? Don’t be ashamed or worried about expressing them to your partner and finding a resolution together. Are you frustrated about being behind on your career goals? Consider taking a course or asking for more duties within your role. It’s unlikely that whatever’s causing you to feel this way can be fixed overnight, so take it one day at a time and celebrate your progress – no matter how small it may seem!