Friday, May 31, 2013

Being Me AND a Mother

First, thank you to everyone who has shown me kindness regarding my previous post on post partum depression. It really helped me a lot to share it. I don't feel as alone any more. Knowing other people who have gone through it or are going through it had already been a blessing to me. I'm surprised with how many people responded with similar feelings.  
If you contacted me, I haven't gotten around to responding yet. I wrote the post and then decided to leave it all behind when I went on vacation. It was freeing for me. Thank you for being kind to me.

If there's one thing I've (started) learning as a mother it's that taking time for yourself is essential. 
For every one involved. 
If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy- canigetanamen?!

A few weeks ago....maybe it was over a month ago...maybe it was months ago....the days fall together....any way, it was a hard day. For some reason Ainsley was not sleeping. I had gotten maybe two hours of sleep and I was physically and emotionally not prepared to take on the day. So, I loaded Ainsley up in her PJs and took myself to chick-fil-a. Sure, it helped that I didn't have to fix lunch and that Ainsley slept in the car, but I also felt recharged that for once I did what I wanted and wasn't a slave to her naps, feedings, diaper changes, etc.

Does that make any sense? 

I know we've all heard someone say something like, "she was the best mother, always putting others before herself." I think this is a nobel trait a lot of mothers have. Putting others before yourself comes with the territory of being a mom. However, sometimes I think we get the impression that putting others before ourselves means that we should never do anything for ourselves.  

Because of this, I think a lot of mothers lose themselves. It's a tricky balance, but it's really important to find ways to be you while being a mother. At least, that's what I'm learning to be true for myself. I know some people find so much happiness and purpose the moment they become a mother. I really think that's great, but it hasn't gone like that for me and that's okay! It can take a lot of effort. 

Clint and I had a good talk about this last night. He came home to his wife as a puddle on the floor. I sobbed  in the middle of the living room for over an hour (mostly) about how I didn't know how to be myself anymore. Sometimes I feel like when I became a mom I switched from being Alexis to being Ainsley's mom. I don't remember how he said it, but Clint told me that it's more important for him to have me than a perfectly cleaned house. I think part of the reason I've had a hard time embracing motherhood is that I feel so inadequate. He told me I don't have to be perfect at something to be good at it. He's a smart one, that Clint. He thinks I'm a good mother. He has never doubted my love for Ainsley. He loves me. That counts for a lot.  

Back to learning to be ourselves. Sometimes, being me means skipping the laundry and making something or spending time outside or even writing a ridiculous blog post! I don't feel like it's selfish to do things for ourselves either. In fact, I think we owe it to our families. I don't think Ainsley would want me to leave behind everything I was to be her mother. I think she deserves a mom who has goals, hobbies, wants, and experiences. Furthermore, I think Clint deserves the woman he married.  I had never thought that me "losing myself" has effected Clint too. He married me because he loves me. He didn't marry me to change me into what he wanted. I'm already wanted. I think a lot of happiness lies in learning to be content with yourself with where you're at. That was a bit of a tangent from the whole finding yourself theme...but still important. 

I haven't quite figured out how to be myself and a mother at the same time. 
Not at all. 
But I'm learning what's important. 
I'm dedicated to figuring out how to embrace motherhood while not leaving behind the person I've been for 23 years. 


Annastasia Richardson said...

I'm not worried about you one bit. This post tells me you know where you're headed and you're gonna get there. Maybe not in 5 minutes and maybe not tomorrow, but you will and you will feel the progress along the way. I'm sure you will have a hard day or two where it feels like you haven't made any progress at all and you're back to square one, so when that happens come read this blog post again and realize you have already made incredible progress and then ask Clint to remind you that he has seen the progress you've made. :)
I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you for all the crosses you've had to bear in relation to pregnancy and motherhood. You are strong (even if you don't feel like it). You are already teaching Ainsley some very important lessons about life. :)

Courtney B said...

Ooooh girl. I only spent half a day with you and I think you're an INCREDIBLE mother! I could never go through the salad line with a baby on my hip. Well... maybe I could. But not right now! Anyway, you truly are amazing!
I totally agree though. We HAVE to do things for ourselves! It's okay to be selfish. We still need our own "me time" or date nights or junk food or blogs to stay sane. We aren't supposed to lose ourselves because we have children. That wouldn't be fair to our children, our husbands, or ourselves. LOVE this post!

Leah said...

This is probably my most favorite post that you have written about motherhood so far because it's SO true. I've talked to several people a number of times about realizing that with motherhood comes sacrifices, and I think a lot of people think that means that you have to sacrifice your wants and needs to be the perfect wife and mother... and that's not what I mean! It's like your husband said, you don't have to be perfect at something to be good at it. Sometimes it's just a matter of sacrificing getting the laundry done and wearing sweatpants out instead in order to keep your sanity. I know I can't be the only one! :P

Us moms are still human, we still have our wants and needs and if we sacrifice all of those to make sure the house is spotless then we're going to go crazy! And then our husbands and babies won't want to be around us :P

Leah said...

Also, I'd like to add that I feel this way towards romance and having a relationship with your spouse... Having a baby changes your relationship, and as you have mentioned before you both lead busy lives so there are even more adjustments going on, so I'm sure you're aware of it too. I feel like if I don't get at least one night every two weeks to just spend with my husband without le bebe, even if it's only an hour, then I will go crazy... like you said, he married you for you, not so he could get you pregnant and make you into some sort of Stepford Wife or something. It's important to continue to foster that relationship and show affection because (I believe) that the relationship mom and dad have is the foundation for the happiness in your family...