Motherhood is a funny thing. A lot of us dream of being moms and having a family from the time we are little girls. Then, when we become moms we are suddenly filled with uncertainty, questions and often an odd loneliness, not to mention anxiety that we weren’t prepared for. We rely on our friends to give us advice and a shoulder to lean on with the hopes that maybe they’re experiencing the same thing. Occasionally, we will even troll the “mom group” for a group of strangers to find something in common with.
We get wrapped up in being “normal” and finding “normal” and doing the “right” thing. We search for answers to questions that most likely don’t have “right or wrong” answers and we lose sleep over things like ‘when is a good age to transition to a big boy bed.’ Most importantly we hope, wish, and pray that we are making the right decisions and not royally screwing up our kids.
In the United States, we are also forced back to work entirely too early, which is a-whole-other topic in itself, and strive to live to up to this ridiculous working-mom standard. I have had so many conversations with mothers who were working their dream job which suddenly became significantly less fulfilling when their baby arrived.
Priorities change upon becoming a mother. What used to matter seems a distant memory and your focus is drastically modified.
When we become parents, we often lose sight of what we’re looking for. We forget what our ultimate goals and dreams are, or, probably more often, those goals and dreams change.
A good friend and co-worker of mine randomly asked me one day what my goals were. I was so confused by the question that I honestly couldn’t even answer. I had two babies, pretty much back to back and had always dreamt of being a stay-at-home mom. However, after they were born I returned to work and continued going through the motions. It wasn’t that I disliked my job, it just didn’t match my vision. I’d found that as motherhood took over, I wasn’t even sure what my vision was-did I really want to stay home? It took some soul-searching, a lot of tears, and an even larger amount of mom guilt before I realized that the piece that was missing to my puzzle was a vision. I had fulfilled the dream that I’d dreamt the longest and wanted to grow and dream bigger. But, what did that look like to me? What did “more” look like when I’d already been blessed with two, healthy baby boys?
Take a step back and allow yourself to dream.
Stop being so wrapped up in living the life of who you think you were meant to be, and start forming new visions to create the life of your dreams.
Here are 8 ways that you can re-find yourself and create a new vision as a mom.
- Nutrition. Yup. It is the one thing no one wants to do and it is the one thing that is truly going to help you get your mind right. I’m not talking about joining weight watchers (although I’ve heard great things). I’m not talking about a crash diet, starving yourself, or doing anything crazy. I’m talking about focusing on nourishment and just watching what you eat. Ease up on the sugar, drink more water, less processed foods and more veggies. Keep it simple but be in tune with what you’re eating. As a former donut-loving, soda-drinking, carb-a-holic, small changes have made the world of difference. Cleaning up your diet will clear up your mind.
- Sleep. Yes, you AND your kids. I’m talking about the practice of true, solid, and good sleep habits. Babies come, and sleep goes to shit. There I said it. Let’s not pretend that there is some magical sleep solution for making babies sleep. STOP with the sleep training, and all the reading. Just listen to your child’s cues and recognize that it is a short lived phase. Follow a routine, but let your child guide the routine. The parents with the best “sleepers” are the ones who don’t listen to the expectations but listen to their kids. In addition, keep yourself in a routine, as much as you can. Get to bed at a decent time. Eliminate electronics for at least 30 minutes before bed. Wake up on YOUR terms, not your kids’ terms, which may mean getting up at 5am for a quiet cup of coffee. Developing good sleep habits is going to drastically change your outlook on life and will make a large impact on your desire and ability to achieve more.
- Move your body! This one is simple. Similar to food, I am not telling you to make drastic changes here. No need to join gym. You don’t have to run a marathon or become a yoga guru. Just move more than you’ve moved before. If you have a desk job, set an alarm to take a 5 minute walk every 30 minutes. Strive for 10,000 steps daily. Park in the spot furthest from the store. Just move-you’re alive for a reason, so remind your heart and body that you’re still there by using it.
- Create a vision board. Put those hopes and dreams right in front of your freaking face. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to shower alone or to own a multi-million dollar home. Physically put a picture of it right in front of you. All of the experts say that by visualizing your goals, you’ll automatically be more inclined to chase after them. So, create a vision board. Find pictures of the things you most want in life, print them out, and put them in places that you will frequently see. Take a brief moment, each day, to look at and visualize the things you want most in life. These should be your guiding forces.
- Self-Reflect. Each week do a brief self-evaluation. Pick 3-5 areas that are important in your life-motherhood, marriage, career, hobby, etc. List two columns… what went well, and what are your goals or areas of opportunity for the next week. This doesn’t have to be intricate or lengthy. Just quickly evaluate the most important things in life. You’ll stay fresh and focused with this simple technique and you’ll be guaranteed to be closer to your goals each week.
- Surround yourself with success. Don’t settle for anything less that uplifting, positive people in your life. Listen to podcasts of people you admire. If you’re able to, have lunch with someone you look up to. Surround yourself with success and individuals who will support your vision and do everything they can to help you reach those goals.
- Gratitude. BOOM. Well if this isn’t the most important thing on the list, I haven’t done my job. Take time every day to express gratitude. This can come in many forms. Pray to that higher power and be thankful for your blessings. Not into prayer? That’s okay- journal your gratitude. Another option, pay it forward. Consciously think of your blessings while anonymously buying the stranger in the car behind you in line at Starbucks their cup of coffee. Just be thankful. Regardless of where you are in life, assuming you’re breathing and have a pulse, you have something to be grateful for, even if some days it is just that- a pulse and a breath.
- Take time for yourself. This is one of the tougher items on the list but it is so important. Make time for yourself. Even just 10 minutes a day to “do you” will help reset your focus. As moms we get so focused on serving others, that we forget to serve ourselves. The old saying “you can’t pour from an empty pot” is one of the wisest mantras ever spoken. It is crucial that you take time, even moments, for yourself. You are the center of your tiny human’s universe and if you aren’t well, they won’t be well.
As my girl Rachel Hollis says-if it doesn’t serve you, it doesn’t serve your kids. I live by this. Dream. Laugh. Pray. And, for the love of God live your freaking life. Live this shit out of it. Dream, grow, and then dream bigger. Your life didn’t stop when you became a mom.
Mama, your life has JUST begun.