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The Unexpected Trick To Thriving In Motherhood

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The Unexpected Trick To Thriving In Motherhood

May 5, 2021

I saw a post from a new mom asking other moms how soon it was before they felt ready to “get back to normal.” I smiled at that. The truth is, things won’t ever be as they were before having kids. She has, as they say, a new normal.

Children bring a whirlwind of emotions, events, body changes, challenges, surprises, and celebrations into our lives. They cause us to adapt, to change, to grow, and at times, to sacrifice. Often the role of a parent is joyful, fun, and exciting. Sometimes, it’s really, really difficult and scary. As an older mom, I’ve seen and been through a lot with my girls. I don’t have all of the answers, but the one thing I do know is that I wouldn’t change a thing.

Through the laughter, tears, mistakes, and wins, I’ve learned to embrace what comes with parenthood--even when the embrace is a white-knuckled grip or letting go a little. While it hasn’t always been graceful or easy, it has all moved me profoundly. The joy, the adventures, the learning, the personal growth, the proud momma moments, the not-so-proud momma moments, and struggles all have shaped me into the person I am today.

And ah, the love. The love I have for my kids is fiercely protective, steadfast, continually growing, and deeper than anything I could ever have imagined. It still amazes me even after 25 years.

As much as I love and am fulfilled by motherhood, I am still an individual with needs that require nurturing. Needs that, if left unfed, deplete my ability to be present and give of myself in ways that I want to be able to and in ways my children deserve. Trust me when I say I learned that the hard way.

“When we unapologetically make space for ourselves, we show our kids how they, too, can make and take up space for themselves.”

It took me a long time to realize it isn’t selfish to make space for myself, stay connected to the other parts of who I am, and individuate a bit. It’s healthy. And necessary. Doing so models better, more realistic behavior for our children and keeps us happier in our role. Taking care of yourself, working, being social with other adults, and nurturing the relationship with a significant other demonstrates healthy adult living. When we unapologetically make space for ourselves, we show our kids how they, too, can make and take up space for themselves. We all deserve the opportunity to do that. Besides, playing small never served anyone well.

Perhaps the mom who posted about being ready to get back to “normal” is just trying to figure out how to carve out time for herself and her spouse, on top of feeling exhausted, trying to heal and acclimate to caring for this new, tiny human. Perhaps, she is asking for permission or wanting to assuage some guilt for craving some space. Or maybe she is wondering if it is ok that all she wants to do all day is stare at her infant. Regardless, it is all a process. And a very personal one at that. If she's posing the question now, I am confident she will get to where she needs to be.

This Mother’s Day, I hope you all get to where you need to be if you aren’t there already. I hope you feel loved. I hope you are, and feel, celebrated. I hope you learn how to manage the ebb and flow of the role. I hope you take time to nurture yourself, not just on this one day but frequently. I hope you learn and embrace how important it is to do so.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Be kind to yourselves and others.

Until next time,

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