What about me?

What if I give up on my achieving my goals?

With impending motherhood also comes a million and one anxieties. Those thoughts that keep you awake at night – will I be a good mother, what if I can’t breast feed, what if I can’t bond with my baby or suffer post-natal depression and God forbid what if he/she isn’t the next Beyonce or Justin Timberlake?

These issues can be readily solved – shower he/she with love, get over it and use a bottle, ask for help and goddamnit pay for extra dancing/singing lessons.

But the one thing making me lose sleep at the moment is the thought of losing my identity. What if I forget who I was before I was a mother? What if I let my goals/dreams and ambitions fall by the wayside for good? What if I forget the things I’m so passionate about? What if I start handing out Mummy cards?

I don’t want to just be known as so-and-so’s mum.

I’m not downplaying the amazing job mothers do and I know there are many out there who are more than happy to be forever known as so-and-so’s mum. But for me that’s not enough.

We all know that mother who has become a shadow of her former self. She was the life of the party, had her own opinions, had interests/hobbies, ambitions and a zest for life. Then she had kids. Now you struggle to have a conversation with her because motherhood has overtaken every facet of her life. All she talks about is what her children or partner is up to. What about yourself, you find yourself asking. ‘Oh no I’m much too busy with the kids/house to have time for myself’ she says rather hurriedly.

From the outset they seem content but I find myself wondering where their former self has run off to. Have they noticed the change? Do they miss who they were? Do they wish things were different? I’m sure deep down a part of them is screaming ‘what about me!’

I see myself as independent, strong-willed, ambitious and I admit it I’m a little bit of a narcissist – I’m writing a blog after all. Since becoming pregnant I’ve noticed a softer side starting to emerge and once the baby arrives I know I’m going to change even more but I still want to be me.

Obviously family will always be my number one priority but I also believe we all need to look out for number one – ourselves.

I want to be a role model to my children. I want to show them how important it is to have goals, ambition and a range of interests. I want them to see me as a strong independent well-rounded woman who has a life outside of being their mother and not just a cook, cleaner and housewife. I want them to be as proud of me as I will be of them. The thought of me giving up all the things I’ve worked so hard to achieve both professionally and personally scares the bejesus out of me. At this stage I will be taking a year off from work once the baby is born. But to be honest from then it’s anyone’s guess, I’m not going to know how I feel until the time comes. If I choose to return to work that’s fine and if I choose not to then I’m happy with that too. What I won’t be happy with is if I just turn my back on myself.

How dear reader do I prevent this from happening? I have no idea, and unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball to see what the future holds so in the meantime I’m going to set a few personal goals for the next year or two and go from there. They’re entirely selfish but to me a happy, fulfilled mum means a happy, fulfilled child. What do you think? Have you lost your identity since becoming a mum? Do you know someone who has? How did you keep your identity? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Personal Goals for 2012-13

  • Work on finishing my Masters in a timely fashion.
  • Run this year’s City2Surf – even if it’s just the 5km leg.
  • Plan the wedding and get married.
  • Write at least once per week, every week.
  • Devote time to keeping the relationship between me and The Boy fresh and fun.
  • Date nights – have at least one child-free night per month.
  • Exercise five times per week and live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Catch up with friends at least once per month.
  • Have at least half an hour of relaxing me-time every day.
  • Regular family holidays – even if it’s just a night away from home.
  • New Zealand in 2013.
  • Get the ball rolling to become a Les Mills fitness instructor.
  • Join a Mothers’ Group.
  • Keep learning/have an active mind.
  • Never, ever be seen wearing track pants away from the home (this one is really important).

Maternally yours, ME!

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3 responses

  1. I admire your goal list and hope you get through them all! Or some of them. Or those that matter most. As a girl who loves (a) goals; (b) lists; and (c) being in control, I nodded my head as I read through this post. But you know what? In all honesty, the past 13 months has seen me need to give on all three of those things. Not give up, just give. And I’m okay with that for now. I do lament “me” time, and one of my recent posts was about just that – and the mother guilt that I feel by wanting to spend some of my time just for me. I’m a single mumma (by choice) so it’s a little different than having a partner around at the exact moment I would like to do something for me (like now, when I’ve finally sat down for the day). As for my identity, it’s just expanded to being Bubba’s mumma as well as being me I was before mumma was added to the list: a full time corporate girl, an advocate for the voiceless, a great friend, a good cook, an avid reader, lover of travel and writing, and a general fun-loving chick who loves a giggle, some trashy TV, a good gossip and a bucket of Pinot! You should definitely join a mother’s group. I love mine. They’re a great group of girls even though our ages differentiate by almost 20 years, and our opinions by almost the same variance. We are supportive, respectful and have fun when we’re together. We don’t catch up every week now, as most of us have gone back to work, but we do catch up when we can – with our bubs during the day, and every couple of months for a night out and a few wines. We were lucky with our group. There’s support sans judgement. We have a closed Facebook group which was of particular blessing in the first three months or so – someone else is always there – any time of the day or night. If you don’t get lucky the first time around though, keep looking. After all, there are great girls like you and I out there who are mummas! My goals and ambitions have changed slightly – but they’re bigger goals and aspirations now (and it means more to me to see them through because someone else’s life also depends on them)! Wow, this is a ridiculously long reply. Enjoying your blog. Thanks for following mine.

    • Thank you for your comment 🙂 I am a huge fan of your blog! It always puts a smile on my face.
      I’m feeling more positive now about how my identity will evolve. I think people such as ourselves won’t let our goals or interests fall by the wayside. I’m more than happy to put a few things on hold while I grapple with being a first-time mum just as long as I don’t forget what I’ve set out to achieve outside of being a mum.
      I look forward to your next post 🙂 Bubba is a lucky girl.

  2. Pingback: Guess who’s back? | Newsroom to Nursery

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