Most of us in our thirties, with young babies, toddler and kids, well, let’s be honest. We’ve let ourselves go.
What I mean is, we have let our SELVES go for a bit, for a season, because becoming a mommy means it’s not about ME anymore, my ambitions, my appearance, my successes, my time, no no no. Becoming a mom means it’s all about them, and it’s a very hard, but beautiful place to be.
Time for ourselves, forget it. The only time we get to ourselves is in the nightly struggle to go to bed early and get the much-needed sleep, or stay up late to watch a non-disney move or show. Between logistics of wake-up, make our kids breakfast, get them carted around to all of the activities of the day, throw some work in there, try and get to the gym, but you’re probably rushed or lucky if you make it more than twice a week, then home for dinner-making and prep for the next day, that’s when the whole “there aren’t enough hours in the day” saying came from that I honestly never understood why people said when I was in my 20’s.
Pre-mommy bodies, ugh. I don’t even want to start on this one. From the extra skin we may have from our belly’s expanding to accommodate a human or the fact that we now have to roll up our boobs to put them in a bathing suit, it’s just not the same. No matter how much I work out, there are some things that just can’t go back unless some actual surgery is involved.
It’s lonely at times. Being less about our own needs and all about our kids’ needs means little time for self-care, which means it can be lonely. We used to be surrounded by friends. We used to be in jobs where we constantly felt gratification. We got promotions when we did a good job, we were told things like, “thank you!” or “great work!” and now we have to take away treats to get the half-hearted “thank you” from our offspring. It can feel as if losing our selves means losing purpose (or significant purpose). Not to mention the lack of adult interaction that happens when you have littles as well. Even when you get time with adults, you are either trying to get as much done as possible while you’re away from your little or you have them with you which means no real conversation is happening. It can be thankless at times and lonely. Don’t even get me started on the constant guilt and struggle between being a mom and caring about doing your work well. I’ve decided that one won’t go away so I’m going to snuggle up to it the way I do Kennedy at night.
Being a mom of littles means it feels like we are LOSING ourselves. We remember who we used to be. We remember our fierceness and our drive. We remember how smart we were or how dedicated to being our best selves we were. One of the problems with our new season is that we DO remember and it can feel painful or we can feel insignificant. But take heart, because like I said, it’s just a season. I see those 40-something women in the gym looking way better than I do and remember, it’s just a season when our kids our little. It’s just a season when Kennedy says, “ I coming, mommy!” or pointing at us saying, “Mommy…Daddy…Baby!” It’s just for a season that I get to snuggle up to her and I can’t even do a work out at home without her climbing all over me while I attempt it. It can be hard. It can be frustrating. But it is also so beautiful. And even though it feels like we are less accomplished than we used to be, given that it can be days before we get out of yoga pants, but in the end, we’ll never regret the time we let go of ourselves and gave our lives to our children. We’ll never regret the time we took away from career, friends, ambitions to be with our children because like my mom always tells me, time is fleeting, and it goes by way too fast.
And momma, just because we are letting our SELVES go for just a season, doesn’t mean we won’t get ourselves back one day. One day we’ll be a wiser, more refined version of our former, fierce selves. One day we’ll get to do all of the things we used to do but will probably have more resources to do it! (Unless our kids are in private school) But for now, I’m going to remind myself why we lose ourselves for a good decade of our lives. When things get hard, when it feels like changing one more diaper will put you in the looney bin, or when you feel like if you have to ask your child to eat one more bit, one…more..time you are going to scream, then stop and remind yourself it’s just a season.
We get the privilege of our littles NEEDING everything from us. We get to be their mommy for just a season before they turn into their own fierce adults. We may feel like we got demoted in life sometimes, even though we love our children so much it hurts! But remember, Mommy is the most important job you will ever have. And I’ll leave you with this quote from Andy Stanley, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”
You are fierce momma. And even though this is a season we let our SELVES go, it won’t be forever so put on those yoga pants, put that hair up in a messy bun and snuggle away.