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!