I was radically confused after my second child was born and I’m wondering if any of you can relate. To a certain extent, I felt this way even after my first. That original transition into motherhood is so life-changing. But that was more about wrapping my brain around what being a mom actually means. This was different. There was something about knowing that the next step WASN’T having more children that threw me for a loop. I had taken for granted that I would just be mothering for the next few years and didn’t think much beyond that.
It’s sort of hard to explain to rediscovering yourself after motherhood, but if you’ve been through this you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It was like I was in a vacuum of space. My identity had no markers to look towards. I knew what was
expected of me on any given day. I was well aware of my role as mother to my children and wife to my husband. And I was grateful because having a family had always been the deepest desire of my heart. I even had a job at the time in property management that kept me occupied with other non-maternal thoughts and responsibilities.
But I couldn’t see my future. Not in the crystal ball sense. It was more of a complete lack of vision. I was a person who had always been very driven. I liked achieving it. But at that point, I had no aspirations. No direction. Any pursuits beyond procreation totally eluded me. And I can vividly remember this one day, over piles of clothes as we sorted my closets, bringing tears to my own mother’s eyes when I confessed, “I don’t know who I am anymore.”
As it turns out, that moment WAS a sad picture of a woman lost (as my poor mom experienced it). But it was also the beginning of a breakthrough. So if any of you mamas are there right now – if you can’t see the next step and feel like you’re stuck in a vacuous space with no identity markers to show you the way – I’d like to share with you what I did (and continue to do) to reconnect with who I am and where I’m headed.
7 tips for getting back in touch with yourself during motherhood:
Take inventory of what used to make you sparkle (And if you really want to rock this, write it down). Us moms all seem to have a gut sense about no longer being able to do all of the things we once did. But we don’t always get specific. What exactly did we use to do? How much of that did we actually enjoy? What excited you? What got your blood pumping? How to rediscover yourself after motherhood? Even if there is no way you can fit climbing Mount Everest in between feedings, diaper changes, and parent-teacher conferences, put it on your list anyway.
You will probably find that a good number of things that moved you before no longer apply. You’ve changed…A LOT! And that can feel really sad. So mourn the loss. Parts of you have perished. But don’t despair, either. Because who you’re becoming is a much more complete version of yourself!
Your entire identity is shifting and this is a very big deal. It takes time and mental space to do it well. So don’t go chasing every shiny object that comes your way. Don’t get involved with projects or committees or job changes (if you can help it) or any other additional responsibilities to try and fill the void you may have inside. Resist the feeling that “I just have to do something” and hit pause instead.
Pausing is so important because of this next part. As you pause, listen. For me, it’s about stopping to hear what God is whispering to me. What do you notice when you become still enough to engage your spirit? You may become reacquainted with your sparkle. It might become suddenly clear that climbing Mount Everest isn’t right for you just now, but that there’s another, more innovative, way of bringing that passion back into your life.
Once you’ve reawakened your sparkle, whatever form it now takes, project it into your present and your future. This is just another way of saying, “Start dreaming again!”
Even if it’s just 5 minutes at first, make sure to commit some time each day to your dream. This isn’t about setting a goal and getting to it as quickly as possible. This is about mindset. You are reshaping your life, and you shouldn’t do it in haste. So don’t set crazy high standards for yourself that will end up leaving you feeling discouraged in the long run. You’re a mother juggling a lot already. Be deliberate, but start with small slices of time.
ring a part of your dream into existence every single day. During those 5 minutes, plan, brainstorm, make a phone call, visit a website, set an appointment. Do something to materialize your thought life and rediscovering yourself after motherhood. This will be what truly brings your new and improved self to the surface!
What are your thoughts? Has motherhood left you feeling a little confused about who you are? How do you reconnect with yourself? Leave me a comment. I’d love to know what you think! And don’t forget to share. Thank you, and lots of motherly love to you!