‘When I became a mother, it enveloped my entire being. 4 1/2 years ago, I began rediscovering myself.’: Mom of 4 reflects on self-growth in motherhood

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Striving For Perfection

“When I became a mother, like many others, it completely enveloped my entire being. It felt like everything and anything I knew about my own self *poof* forgotten. It’s like all I knew was how to be a wife and mother. And I was okay with this for a while; however, an emptiness came creeping up on me, which eventually left me feeling very lost.

Now, before your mind runs off and potentially assumes the worst (like I know mine would after reading that), I love being a wife and mother, and those things absolutely have become a part of my personality. A part that I adore about myself.

Mom and daughter go down a slide together at the park
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

The problem was I was nothing more than this; I didn’t let myself be. It was my entire personality and being, which in turn made me feel the need to be the ‘perfect’ mother and ‘perfect’ wife. Which is impossible because those two things don’t realistically exist. I was just constantly comparing and beating myself down.

Denying myself the option of what I was perceiving as ‘failure’ or anything less than what I thought ‘perfect’ should be. This was causing me much more harm than good. One could argue it was actually driving me farther away from this image I had in my mind.


I had to accept it wasn’t possible to be perfect.

About six months before I got pregnant with my third, I realized perfect wasn’t real. I was draining myself and neglecting who I was as a person; forgetting who I was in the process.

So, I started taking time again to find the things I liked. Doing things I once enjoyed before I got pregnant and trying new things.

Now, I won’t sit here and try to tell you, ‘It was so easy,’ because it wasn’t. I held a lot of mom guilt because of this. Every time I would go for a walk without my kids or I would decide I was going to go work out and leave my husband upstairs with our children, this mom guilt would wash over me.

I felt like I was letting them down or being selfish to both my husband and my children. When obviously this was not the case, I had just made this idea in my head that it was.

Mom of four enjoys a hike in the woods without her kids
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

The New Me

This journey for me started about 4 1/2 years ago, and there are still days I struggle. I still have to remind myself I can do things, things that serve myself. I do not need to be a perfect mother or a perfect wife and I am my own person outside of these roles.

The things is, however, once you start looking for yourself outside of motherhood, you may find that you may not even be the person you were before becoming a mom. It can feel like you are discovering an entirely new person, and that in and of itself can feel scary. But the things is, if you start to look at it as an opportunity to meet yourself all over again, you may come to find it as a blessing.

I’m not saying throw away every inch of who you used to be. What I am saying is, ultimately motherhood does change you – whether you want it to or not. So when we do go searching for who we now are (if you need to), you may just find a whole new person.

Husband and wife take a selfie in the snow with one of their children
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

How I Changed

I went from being an extremely sociable person who took every opportunity to try and have those around me be happy. (I was the first to lend a hand, and often got walked all over and then shoved aside.)

After becoming a mother, I learned I can be helpful and sociable, but I also have boundaries and set a standard for myself. To know my worth, honestly I can contribute this to knowing yes, other people may ‘need me’ but my children, my marriage, and myself come first. All the other people and situations in my life come second.

Mom lifts daughter up to pick fruit off a vine during a walk
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

This was a good thing; I needed to learn this. I’m sure my parents are finally happy I did. I can’t count the number of times I would go to my mom upset growing up because I had put myself in a situation that if I had just set boundaries, it wouldn’t have happened.

All in all, there’s no point in stressing about the past, all I can do is learn from my mistakes and past self. which is what I have done. I took all of the things I have learned, all of the things I knew and loved about myself, and I grew. I took the time to relearn myself all over again to reignite the fire within myself.

My passions and interests have changed, but I learned the time I set aside for myself, and the things I pour into, can be more than just being a mother and wife.

How To Start

Now, it’s understandably hard to know where to start. It can feel so daunting to look at the situation at hand and find which direction to even start when trying to find who you are outside of a mother and wife. It can be done.

Start small. Don’t jump in head first, because you can begin to feel overwhelmed and back out, revert back to where you started or even feel more lost than you did in the first place. Dip your toe in start with one thing at a time, maybe try an activity you’ve always wanted or buy yourself an outfit that makes you feel like you. do the small things first.

Take some time to think of all that you want for yourself, all the things you love about who you are, the little things you want to work on. Self-growth is one of the biggest forms of self-love. It can be so powerful and healing.

There is nothing wrong with looking at parts of yourself and acknowledging you need to make changes or a shift. Maybe you need to add something or take a part of you away that makes you feel any less than how amazing you truly are. Once you open this gate, you will see yourself flood back in.

I can’t sit here and tell you that you have to or even exactly how to. But what I can say is, if you are like so many mothers, who feel lost within motherhood. Take the time to revisit yourself and learn who you are all over again. You are worth it, and you are so much more than just a wife and mother.”

Mom of four looks out over the water while sitting on a log in a bikini
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashley Cirka of Canada and originally appeared here. You can follow her journey on InstagramFacebook, her blogTwitter, and PinterestDo 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 from Ashley here:

10 Things I Wish I Knew During My First Pregnancy

‘My kids are annoying. I love them, but oh man do they get on my nerves.’: Stay-at-home mom hilariously shares parenting confessions

‘You see it all over social media: ‘HOW TO LOSE YOUR BABY WEIGHT IN TWO WEEKS.’ I’m so tired of it.’: Woman says ‘wear your mom pouch as a label of honor’

‘My home isn’t quiet or as clean as I’d like. There’s always an appointment or task on the to-do list. My husband and I are clearly out numbered.’: Stay-at-home mom chronicles life with 4 kids

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