When a Momma is born, does she lose a piece of herself?

The day that magical little stick told me I was pregnant for the first time; I cried & had a minor panic attack. I wasn’t ready to give up my life, my body, my sex-life, etc, etc! It freaked me out. Especially since at that very second, a few things I loved were immediately off limits for almost a YEAR. The hubs & I had carved out a happy little life for ourselves. We had been married for almost 6 years, settled into good jobs and enjoyed living life to the fullest. Did all that have to change? Would all of this drastically change the confident, happy person I had become?

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: having a baby changes everything. Ya know what? If it doesn’t, well, honestly, that scares me a little. Let’s say nothing changes. You continue to work hard, party harder… spending your money as fast as you make it. Even if you take a break from things like drinking, staying up until 3am or whatever while you’re pregnant, do you really want to go back to the way things were pre-pregnancy? What kind of parent would you be if you just up and left the house & hit the road by yourself for a few days? (even if the thought does sound appealing some days) Threw house parties until dawn 4 nights a week? What kind of person would that child grow up to be? See what I mean? SCARY!

Change is something everyone can count on. Even if you don’t end up having children, life would be pretty boring if you did the same thing every single day. Some people get stuck in those ruts: never leaving their hometown, working the same job since graduating college, going to the same places for dinner, vacation, etc. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with tradition, but what happens when those people leave that comfortable bubble? Even for a weekend? They don’t know how to handle it. When I’m around people like that, it makes me uneasy too. I’m not a huge fan of change, but instead of fighting it, I’ve learned to embrace change.

It didn’t happen overnight though. At first, I questioned what kind of mother I was supposed to be. I had to change, right? My only goal is that I didn’t want to be the mother I had growing up. But is there really a type of mother we are supposed to be? Sure, there are basic things you shouldn’t do, but you don’t have to be Donna Reed. You can be Sharon Osbourne if you want! Your kids just need you to be the best YOU. If you feel you are sacrificing too much of yourself, then figure out what you can change to help dust off that part of yourself you’ve been ignoring.

Focus on investing in the best of yourself. For example, if you have a passion for music, like I do, share it with your children. We hated kid’s music, so we made it a rule that we wouldn’t succumb to that, and have allowed our kids to enjoy many of our favorite artists with us (although, we did have to lay off the Tenacious D when our oldest started singing along) Our girls have already been to a few concerts, and I’m looking forward to taking them to see Natalie Merchant & my 5 yo to see her favorite band, Green Day, later this summer. We have dance parties in the living room and I sing my youngest to sleep every night. When the girls start getting upset about something impractical, I go to the piano and play the I’M MAD song until they stop throwing their fit and laugh… asking for the I’M SAD and then I’M HAPPY songs. It’s sooo silly, but it works most of the time. We didn’t have a DVD player in our vehicle until we caved 6 months ago. Something that was *really* hard for me, but after several very painful road-trips, we had to give in. We now have to force music-time in the car, but, you have to pick your battles. If you like to travel, share that with your children. If they hate being stuck in their car-seat (another familiar challenge of mine, thus the DVD player), focus on short road-trips. You would be surprised what you can find within a half-hour of your town. Kids are natural explorers, and when they discover something, even if you’ve seen it a hundred times, it’s a thrill seeing them experience it for the first time! And don’t worry about finding “kid-friendly” events or places. Kids are people too. Sure, the fine-china dept may not be the wisest choice, but simply finding something fun YOU love to do may spark their passion for it too. We took our kids to an art museum a few months back. It was a very nice, quiet place where every sound echoed. My kids wanted to touch every piece of art, were loud & sounded like elephants running all over the place… but they had fun, and it was an incredible experience for us too.

Now, have we been able to sing & play our instruments as much as we used to? No. But this is a temporary no. I know the time will come when our kids won’t yell about our guitars being “too loud” for their sensitive ears. Once upon a time, my oldest would tell us to turn UP the volume, especially when we listened to Green Day. Sadly, those days are over, for the moment. Which is an important fact… all of these moments you are sharing with your children will be gone before you know it. But try not to be sad a certain chapter in your life may be over, be grateful you had the chance to live that chapter the way you did, and absorb the new chapters you are living now!

So, instead of focusing on what you lost when you became a parent, like a body free of stretch marks (they will fade, and trust me, if your hubby loves you, he doesn’t care!) or freedom to do whatever the hell you want, whenever you want; take what you can get in small doses, and make yourself a priority once in awhile. Nothing wrong with a day or weekend away from the kids! In fact, that’s good for everyone. We try to plan a long-weekends away from the kids once a year, along with random kid-free days & nights at least once or twice a month. We need to remember that even though we are parents, we are people too, and the little things we love matter as much as whether or not your little one pooped today. Once you become a parent, you are a parent for life, but our kids are temporary residents in our home. So after you tuck the kids into bed tonight, kick back with your partner, crack open a cold one and take in the moment… you deserve it.

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