“I remember it like yesterday. The day I looked across the room at my husband and told him I didn’t know who I was anymore. But my story starts long before I became a mom.
During my younger years, I craved being the life of the party. I was determined to have all the friends, be included in all the things, and share my life with the world. I did anything and everything to make sure you, your family, and your mom’s brother’s uncle were taken care of.
I came across as confident. Overly emotional and dramatic – no doubt – but confident. I seemed to have it all figured out. That I knew exactly who I was. But deep down, my insecurities ran wild. As I moved into early adulthood, my college years, and later into the working world, the person I always identified with seemed to slowly fade away. I soon realized I loved helping people. But I didn’t love sacrificing parts of myself in the process. It’s been a lot of growth ever since.
You see, I’m an Enneagram 2, 2 wing 1 to be exact. I’m the HELPER and the perfectionist. Supporting other people brings me insane amounts of joy! It also brings me insane amounts of unrest, emotional turmoil, and burnout without boundaries in place.
That’s one of the reasons transitioning into motherhood has been a journey unlike anything I could have ever imagined. It’s been filled with some of my highest highs, my lowest lows, and everything in between. After my son (baby #2) was born, I felt an unnerving shift in my life. You know that question, ‘What’s the hardest transition when it comes to adding kids to your family?’ One to two kids ROCKED our world. That was my magic number.
I couldn’t get out from underneath it. My anxiety felt more intense. The lack of control felt more overwhelming. The demands felt heavier than ever. I felt isolated in the dead of winter, trying to manage two kids 28 months apart and in the process, I had completely lost myself. I had nothing left for me. Nothing.
All of the added responsibilities took priority. And I wasn’t one of them. When I looked in the mirror, everything was different. Not only my body but my mindset. My thought patterns. My ambition. The picture-perfect family I had envisioned. It wasn’t there. What met me in the mirror was reality.
Becoming a mom is SO joyful. But the re-birth? Nothing prepares you for that. It’s an entirely new life building into our identity as mothers. On that day 5 years ago, when I looked across the room, sobbing and sharing my heart, my husband looked back at me and told me it was okay. That it was okay to feel the way I felt. That I was worth it. That I was more than enough. And that we were going to figure out a way to make things better. Together.
It was then I knew I couldn’t just EXIST in the world anymore. I didn’t want that as a woman. I wasn’t created in God’s image to simply go through the motions and miss the joy. My entire life, I had prayed for a family. I had prayed to become a wife and a mom. I had prayed for all the things I had. But in the same breath, I knew something had to change. And somehow, someway, I had to re-learn how to take responsibility.
Being a mom isn’t only about being responsible for our littles and our families. It’s about being responsible for our own needs. For me, that meant finding a way to set boundaries again, infuse joy again, and take care of me again (from the inside out). Let’s be real, though. Holy HARD, my friend. It’s still hard. Every single day, it’s hard to make the time. As moms, we balance tremendous amounts of pressure and unrealistic expectations and demands we’re expected to manage. Then add in trying to focus on self-care and ‘me time?’ Really? Some days, the last thing I need to feel is MORE responsibility.
But what I’ve learned throughout my motherhood journey is I’m truly a better wife, mom, and human when I MAKE the time for me. Little things can make all the difference. Little things like 10 silent minutes before the house gets up. Going to therapy to talk it out. Dedicating time to move my body. Walking with a friend. Choosing foods that feed my energy, not my insecurities. Reading quietly at night or watching a comedy before I go to bed. Unplugging for the weekend so the only things I’m consuming are my family and the outdoors. Self-care and ‘me time’ truly come in all shapes and sizes.
The most important thing is MAKING it a non-negotiable in your life. Mamas. Know this. Becoming a mom is a journey. Just like every other thing in life. Parenting is a journey. Self-care is a journey. LIFE is a journey. And every day, we have to remember the JOY we find in the journey starts with us. It stems from taking responsibility for protecting our peace and meeting our needs amongst all the other things.
I stepped into the work I do because I wanted to share my journey. I didn’t want to feel the weight of isolation anymore. As a stay at home mom, I needed more community and I knew the best way to find it was by vulnerably speaking up and sharing my heart about the hardship of motherhood.
I share because I want moms to have someone to relate to. I want you to know it’s okay to feel totally unglued in your new identity. And above all, I want you to know each and every one of us is just figuring it out as we go. This work isn’t easy, dear friend. It’s definitely not perfect… And it can feel super lonely and isolating. But I want you to know you’re the perfect person for the job. That the beautiful soul you are is still there! Just give yourself grace and time to evolve.
In the end, motherhood is all about growing into the newness — NOT working to get the old back. If we want to feel the joy, the fulfillment, and the happiness we deserve, we have to choose to be responsible with learning our needs and prioritizing our time as mothers.
Here’s why that matters…
Without responsibility comes irresponsibility. And in this life, irresponsibility never leaves. It always shows up in some way. Whether that’s financially in our bank account, physically on our waistline, emotionally in our heart, mentally in our head, or spiritually in our soul. If we don’t take responsibility to learn what makes us feel our best, it will show. PERIOD.
Not knowing our needs can leave us feeling empty, lost, and searching for validation in the wrong ways. I know because I’ve lived there. I know because I’ve allowed myself to get burned without boundaries. And I know because I’ve had to re-learn the value of taking responsibility for my self-care and at the same time, unlearn the idea of taking care of everyone else before myself.
I will always take care of other people because it brings me SO much joy! I’ve just learned I’ll always take care of myself, too – because it’s an absolute necessity to living my best life.
Mama, my best advice is to count yourself in on the list of responsibilities. I know that’s not easy. Some days, it feels completely impossible. But you have it in you. I know you do because I know how strong you are every day for the people around you. Take a step back and remember YOU are worth the time and effort. Just like every little thing on your to-do list. Don’t be afraid to lean in and speak up. Your heart, your soul, and your mind need you to make that choice. Because YOU and your peace of mind matters.
To share a bit of my background – I’m now a mama to four littles and I’m married to my husband, Dave. I run my own wellness coaching business and just recently opened a little shop online called The Momlife Mindset. It’s been a dream of mine to build out my personal brand where I can create more, write more, and offer deeper resources for moms. I’m failing forward one day at a time over here – and I pray one day I’ll also dive into becoming a published author. My hope is I can continue to connect with women all over the world as we all work to embrace this imperfect journey called motherhood.
It would be a joy to connect further to hear your story and learn more about how we can support one another as we work on ourselves as mothers, partners, and women. Wishing you all the best, mama. And may you know, more than ever… we’re on this journey together.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erin Trier from Park City, Utah. You can follow their journey on Instagram and their website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more touching stories from moms here:
‘I’ve never felt closer to my husband, and yet more distant. I’m so excited to watch them grow, but simultaneously, I wish they’d stay little forever.’: Mom explains why motherhood is ‘one beautiful contradiction’
‘When are you hopping on the baby train?’ I didn’t want a baby. I wanted to spend my money on traveling and selfish things, not diapers.’: New mom says motherhood is ‘easily the best thing to happen to me’
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