losing yoursel

Rediscovering Yourself After Motherhood

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Becoming a mother changes your life in ways you couldn’t imagine. You experience a deep, fierce and undying love for your children. A kind of love you have never experienced before. A love so strong that you probably can’t even describe it.

You become willing to give up anything and everything to keep your child happy. And so you do.

Your child becomes the most important thing in your life. You spend almost every waking moment taking care of their needs. You are responsible for every aspect of their life.

Your days are spent cooking for them and cleaning after them. Making sure they have completed their homework and teaching them manners, skills and responsibilities. You organize play dates and activities to keep them happy & socially connected with their friends. The list is endless.

Sleep is hard to come by especially in the first year.Research has shown that for 7 years after having your first child you will lose XY hours of sleep every day.

You are too exhausted to make good use of the little time you get for yourself. So you end up watching tv or surfing the internet.

You want to do something more fulfilling, but let’s be honest you don’t have enough time or energy to do it. Slowly you become to lose your identity of who you used to be and everything revolves solely around your children.

That’s what happened to me

After having my son I became a stay at home mom so that I could spend as much time as possible. I was able to enjoy his silly sense of humor and his childlike excitement about everything. I loved making him laugh hysterically. And I loved how safe and content he felt with me.

But something was still missing. Gradually I realized what was wrong. I wasn’t engaging in activities that challenged me and made me think. I was no longer doing the things that I loved. The things that made me feel alive.

Before having my son I had been an adventurous person. I had enjoyed travelled the world and meeting new people. I went skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting. But now those activities were a distant memory.

And the truth is those were things I didn’t even want to do anymore. Because motherhood had changed me. It had changed my priorities and what I wanted for myself.

Rediscovering Yourself After Motherhood

And so I began the journey to rediscover myself. Speed reading comes naturally to me so I started reading all the self development books I could. And using the advice of experts & science backed research I created a plan to rediscover myself & redesign my life accordingly. I have outlined my process & the steps I took so that you can do the same

Step 1 –Make time for yourself.

The first and most important step in this entire process is setting aside some time for yourself. You may feel guilty when you first do this. I know I did. After all my husband worked. I was just a stay at home mom. What right did I have to be tired? Why did I need time for myself?

But it was something that needed to be done. One day after a particularly tough day my husband casually commented “Do you notice that Bubba (nickname for our son) mirrors your moods. When you’re happy he’s happy. When you’re upset he gets fussy.”

That was a wakeup call for me. If I wanted my son to be happy, I had to make sure I took out the time to make myself happy first.

The amount of time you are able to make for yourself will depend on a lot of things. I set aside 1 hour a day just for myself. My husband would come home after work, relax for half an hour and then he would take over responsibility for my son.  And in that hour I would spend time rediscovering myself.

Every other Sunday my husband started to spend special father-son time. Again time I used for myself. That meant no cleaning, no cooking, no housework. Real me time.

Step 2 – Self discovery Journaling –  

Once you’ve set aside some time for yourself start journaling to figure out what things you enjoy. Here are some prompts to get you started. They are what I used during my self-discovery journey. And they resulted in lots of aha moments for me.

  1. What makes you happy
    • For the next half hour right down the times you’ve experienced the greatest joy in your life. Write down who you were with and what you were doing. How you felt during those activities and why. Try and pinpoint the what and the why for each activity in as detailed a way as possible.
    • See if you can find any patterns. In particular include the skills and strengths you were using. Here is a list of signature strengths to get you going.
    • Try and include incidents from as far back as you can remember. Yes even when you were a child
    • Be specific. Don’t just say when you went on vacation. Write down the particular activities that you enjoyed during that vacation. And try and think about what made you feel good.
    • If you’re writing about time you spent with your kids write down what made that particular activity  more enjoyable then others.
    • Write down At least 5 instances. More if you can think of them
  2. What are your top strengths? Complete this questionnaire
  3. When do you feel most alive? Why? What were you doing? Who were you with?

Step 3:

Reread what you have written. Can you spot any patterns? Use these prompts to create a list of activities that you may enjoy. Just brainstorm. Pick the top 5 that seem the most fun. These are the activities that you will experiment with.

Step 4: Experiment

Try each activity & then come home & right about it. Did you enjoy it? Why? Why Not?

To give you an idea of how this plays out I’ve written down the activities I tried out while trying to figure out what I liked . You’ll notice that I completed a lot of activities where I learnt new skills. That’s because learning is particularly important to me. Something that the signature strengths test I completed in step 2 also picked up on.

My Experience

Photography

I’ve been terrible with taking photos of us as a family so i thought I would work on improving my photography skills.

I didn’t invest in a DSLR camera or anything because I didn’t want to spend the money unless I enjoyed photography. Instead I attempted to hone my smartphone photography skills using this website.

I tried to follow the tips and strategies and work on taking amazing photos. But I soon realized photography was just not going to be my passion. To be honest I found it quite boring.

I lasted all of 3 days with this particular activity.

Conclusion: That’s a hard pass from me. I had no interest in learning photography

Learn Python

I’ve never studied computer science so I was learning this language from scratch. I signed up for free coursera class and started learning.

Learning python definitely exercised my brain – in a good way. I’ve always been slightly afraid of coding so i was hesitant to dive into this course. But studying python made me realize that coding is not as difficult as is sounds.

The fact that I was able to learn even the basics of python was also fantastic for my confidence. Just because i’m a stay at home mom doesn’t mean that i’ve lost my ability to learn or think!

Conclusion: Better then photography but not a skill i would be investing more time in.

Meditating

I completed a 30 day meditation challenge and by the end of the month I was meditating twice a day for 10 minutes each.

When I started meditating I found it difficult to focus and considered stopping. But after being told time and time again that meditation becomes easier with time I stuck with it.

And i am so glad I did.

Soon my meditation practice was what kept my calm and clearheaded. Mom brain was something i suffered with since giving birth. But meditation helped give me clarity and made me more mindful. It definitely made me a more attentive mom as well.

Conclusion: Meditation was something that I needed. I try and meditate at least once a day now.

Write a Blog

I almost didn’t start my own blog but i’m SO GLAD I did. This was definitely my favorite activity to do. It kept me engaged, mentally stimulated me and was definitely a learning experience. Most importantly writing a blog allowed me to help other people.

As I mentioned before i’m a sefl help junkie so I’ve probably read every personal development book that exists. I decided to use my blog to convert the techniques and tips provided by experts into daily actionable steps that anyone can take.

When i started writing my blog I didn’t really expect much

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