We did it. We made it through the holidays, the road trips, and the tables full of cookies. Now, we are left with copious amounts of leftovers and the long wit for warmer weather. In the past, I have spent most of January attempting to uphold my resolutions, which usually consisted of daily exercise and unrealistic travel plans.
This year, however, the phrase “new year, new me” means something different. It’s no longer in reference to the weight I hope to lose or to the book I hope to write, but to the new title I’ve acquired, altering the composition of who I am.
People always talk about how having a baby is a life changing experience, which it
totally is. But, what they don’t say is that it is a self-changing experience, too. Life changes in the way it’s supposed to, with new time commitments, expenses, and sleep schedules. Those are things we expect, and then there are things that come out of left field, knocking us on our backs.
» DRINK MORE WATER [DUH].
» SPEND MORE TIME APPRECIATING, NOT CRITICIZING, MYSELF.
» MEET EACH NEW TOOTH, CHANGE IN SLEEP PATTERN, AND GROWTH SPURT WITH GRACE AND GRATITUDE… AND WINE.
The sense of loss and confusion is overwhelming, and frankly, terrifying. What happened to going back to school? What about my spontaneity or my selfishness? Why are my interests different and why don’t I feel confident in anything I do?
Let me tell you right now, these are questions I deal with every day. Why? Because in a matter of four seconds, I was promoted to Mama and thrown to the wolves that are society, family, and a newborn. I was expected to live and breathe this new role, which is what I did. Unfortunately, I was equally as successful in losing myself in the process.
New Year, New Book
THE MOMMY SHORTS GUIDE TO REMARKABLY AVERAGE PARENTING: ILANA WILES
WORK. PUMP. REPEAT.: THE NEW MOM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO BREASTFEEDING AND GOING BACK TO WORK: JESSICA SHORTALL
BRINGING UP BÉBÉ: ONE AMERICAN MOTHER DISCOVERS THE WISDOM OF FRENCH PARENTING: PAMELA DRUCKERMAN
I would be feeding Sloan or taking a shower and I would have a moment of realization where I would ask myself what I wanted or who I was. Of course I was a mom, and I probably wanted a nap or a snack, but what about the other stuff?
There was a point, shortly after I went back to work, when I was gushing about Sloan and my friend stopped me, saying “Great, but I asked about you.” That’s when it hit me: I was not my baby.
And I’m still not. I am an online graduate student. I am the wife to a hunky UPS driver. I am the mother to a bada*s little baby. Taking on these roles is something I have gladly accepted as my responsibility, not my identity. If we resort to defining ourselves by the jobs we have, instead of the people we are, then everything outside of those titles will crumble and fall.
As parents, it is our job to raise good people. As people, it is our job to be good. So, start with yourself. Start by acknowledging the skills you bring to the table. Stop referring to yourself as just one thing, because you’ve worked too hard to discredit everything you’ve accomplished. Understand that searching for yourself and losing yourself are two different things.
What I've Learned...
» WALKING AWAY TO TAKE A BATH, OR AIMLESSLY WALKING AROUND TARGET IS OKAY, AND ENCOURAGED.
» MAKING SURE YOU ARE HEALTHY, LOVED, AND SAFE IS EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT AS MAKING SURE BABY IS HEALTHY, LOVED, AND SAFE.
» PAINTING WITH YOUR BABY MAY BE A STRUGGLE, BUT THE RESULTS ARE ALWAYS WORTH IT.
This January will be dedicated to one resolution, and one I intend to keep. I am going to dedicate every day to rediscovering who I am outside of being a new mom. I am going to reevaluate what brings me joy, and cut out what doesn’t. I am going to remind myself that my daughter deserves 100 percent, so I can’t start each day with 50. Our children deserve the best versions of ourselves.
So, figure out what that is. Take the time you need to discover what has changed and what has stayed the same. Allow yourself to honor your worries or your shortcomings and know that this is what life is all about. We are supposed to evolve and grow throughout life; it just seems magnified when you are simultaneously in charge of someone else.
Trust yourself, and trust that taking the time to understand who are you as a person will only enhance who are you are a parent.