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.