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You've probably heard of the "quarter-life crisis" and the "mid-life" crisis. But are you familiar with the "mother-life crisis"? If not, it's something I'm experiencing firsthand and I'm happy to share my experience with you. I'm certain I'm not the only mom going through this, and I hope this helps others deal.
You see, ever since I became a mom, I've lost my personal identity. Back before I had kids, I was an aspiring singer/songwriter. I took the time to wear nice clothes, put on makeup and curl my hair. I went out with my friends. I had the occasional alcoholic beverage. I was free to wake up and go to sleep whenever I wanted. I could pee without an audience and have a big bowl of ice cream without some little person mooching off of me. I enjoyed meeting new people and occasionally finding a new book to read. I was free-spirited and fun. I was all the things most people are before they have children.
Now? Most days, I barely make it out the door on time. I usually discover that at least one article of clothing I'm wearing has stains on it and the bags under my eyes are no joke. I'm bombarded by calls of "Mommy!" all day, every day, and on the rare occasion my husband I actually go on a date, we're home and in bed by 10 p.m. The most exciting thing we've done was ride go-carts. All of my focus is pretty much on my husband and children these days, while I get neglected. (Other than the times I have someone needing me for something.)
Don't get me wrong — I LOVE being a mom and I wouldn't trade it for anything. And I knew that my life wouldn't be the same once I had children. I guess I didn't think I'd be so far down on the self-care totem pole once that happened. But the other day, I realized that I'm deep in the middle of a "mother-life crisis."
It all started when I heard James Bay's "Let It Go" on the radio. For whatever reason, I was catapulted back in time by a major dose of nostalgia. Something about that song brought back memories of my college years, which were some of the best years of my life. It was during that time that I was saturated with music. My friends were all musicians, I was writing songs and going to as many live concerts as I could, and I was also performing my own songs in venues and coffee shops, networking with fellow musicians.
I enjoyed the occasional shopping trip and going dancing with friends. We'd drink and dance into the wee hours of the morning. I knew who I was and who I wanted to be. And yes, I knew that someday I wanted to be a mother, but I didn't know that would involve losing myself.
I literally spent the entire day reminiscing on my younger years after hearing that song. I was emotional and "detached" from reality, longing for those days to reappear in my current life. It was then I decided I would not go back in time, but rather, reinvent myself with my former persona.
I'm a firm believer that women can have it all. And it's time I start believing in myself. So, I'm committed to continuing the pursuit of my interests and passions. I've got to make time for things that I love and the things that bring me fulfillment outside of motherhood. I'm going to start writing music again. Sadly, whenever I sit down to play one of my original songs lately, I can't remember how to play it. I've got to get back in my songwriting groove. My plan is to enter a few songwriting contests and sit at the piano at least one day a week. Even if nothing comes of doing those things, at least I'm doing something for myself. Practice makes perfect, and the more I nurture my inner talents, the more confidence I'll have to keep pursuing my dreams.
I'm going to spend more time with my friends, and not feel guilty about nights away from the kids. After all, the best kind of mother is one who is happy, satisfied and well taken care of — which is why I've also got to prioritize self-care. Whether it's making sure I pamper my skin with a new face mask or go to bed early some nights to catch up on sleep, I've got to make changes. I can no longer put myself last. This mother-life crisis will not defeat me. It will instead push me to blossom into the woman I've always said I would be; the woman I've always been but who got lost somewhere along the way. I'm a quirky, creative, ambitious lady who refuses to be defined solely by her roles as wife and mother. From now on, I will also take on the title of "best self" and wear it proudly.