I watched Adele’s speech about losing herself to motherhood the other night at the Grammy’s and I was struck. Struck by the strength it took to admit that on national television, struck by the truth behind the words she was speaking, and struck by the genuine nature of her delivery. Listen, no one prepares you for how tough motherhood is. There isn’t a class you can take, there isn’t advice anyone can give. You truly just don’t get it until you’re in it.
Today I woke up in a funk. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I missed sleeping in. I missed not being woken up in the middle of the night. I missed working out without having to schedule it. I missed having dinner with my husband and engaging in meaningful discussion. I missed my adult house. I missed my old body, before kids. I missed my husband. I missed vacation. I missed quiet. I missed time. I missed…my old life. But I think we all, not just moms but dads too, miss it. I think both mothers and fathers experience “The Funk.” It’s all about the season we are experiencing. My season: a 4 month old and a 3 year old. I know there are some of you going “oh yea girl, I KNOW!” But it’s not just limited to littles, it happens with the older ones as well. The timing and situations are different, but the seasons are just as difficult, if not more difficult.
I think folks are quick to judge, and probably just did, when I said “I missed my old life.” I get it, I truly do. I didn’t even think I was going to be able to have children. I almost didn’t survive the first one. So how could I miss a life I wanted to trade so badly? A life some aren’t afforded? It’s hard to explain it without sounding ungrateful, but I’ll try. When we bring children into the world, they become our world. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, NOTHING. However, in that, we lose a little bit of ourselves.
Again, this doesn’t just apply to women, I think it applies to men as well. In my experience, women just tend to lose a greater sense of self. I no longer am interested in the things I once was. Even if I was, I’m not sure I’d know how to fit it in. I’m having a hard enough time fitting in working out. I know many people will say “Oh shut up, just make the time. Watch less tv, give up X, demand your husband watch the kids.” But it isn’t that simple. I don’t watch tv, my husband does offer to watch our children while I go “take care of me,” but I feel guilty. And not only guilty, but as much as there are days I want to run and hide, I love being with them. I don’t want to miss anything. Except in that, I’m missing me. DO YOU SEE THE CONUNDRUM?!?!?
I’m not the woman my husband married, I know that (I actually blogged about it, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m actually not sure who I am any more. Who is this woman in the mirror? Why can’t she get it together? Why can’t she just get 5 minutes to herself? Why can’t she just sleep in? Why are they always in the bathroom with her? Why can’t she take a shower and shave her legs without interruption? Why are they always calling her name? She’s “Mamma,” that’s why.
Those days, the days I want to run and hide, I can’t and I won’t. Instead, I snap the f*!% out of it. It’s just a season. It will be over before I know it, and then I’ll miss it. I’ll miss the toys. I’ll miss the noise. I’ll miss them needing me. I’ll miss them calling my name. I’ll miss the cartoons. I’ll miss the diapers. I’ll miss all of it.
So I’ll accept and relish in my new life. I’ll schedule a date night to have dinner, drinks, and conversation with my husband and feel like an adult again. I’ll drop the kids at the daycare in the gym and run on the treadmill until my legs can’t take another step. I’ll take a shower and shave my legs even if they do interrupt. I’ll put on makeup even if I don’t plan to leave the house. I’ll call my girlfriends and schedule a wine night (*cough* “book club meeting”). I’ll make myself whole again. These weren’t things I had to think of or plan before I became a mom (or you became a dad), but they are things we MUST do.
No one can prepare you for the life you will have with children, but they can help you navigate the waters once you are in it. I know it’s hard. I know it’s confusing. I know it can be sad and happy all at the same time. But it isn’t a life I would change even in the least. I, WE, just have to do a better job of taking care of ourselves. Because if mamma ain’t happy, no body is happy, right? *laughing* Take care of yourself, put yourself first more often than not, embrace your new life, adjust to make it work, foster your relationship with your husband, and savor these seasons. Because before you know it the season of life will change, your children will grow older, and it will be just you and your husband again wishing it wasn’t so quiet.
So much love and light,