Finding Myself in Motherhood

As I was standing in line at the bank, waiting for my turn to make a late payment on a bill I had completely forgotten about, in walked a peppy early-twenty something. Hair straightened but up in a ponytail, flawless makeup, perfectly manicured nails, wearing Nikes and comfy athletic wear probably making a payment on time. I instantly teared up. That was me 5 years ago!

Here I was, exhausted from staying up too late making lunches with my husband the night before and waking up three times with my restless son. I had woken up late, didn’t comb by hair, completely forgot about make-up, threw on the first thing I could find before waking up my son, morning sickness in full effect, dressing him and packing him in my car to get our day started. I can’t remember the last day I treated myself to a mani or pedi. My last haircut seems so long ago that I don’t know what to do with it most days, especially with the wild baby hairs that came in after my postpartum hair loss. Plus, I have been meaning to get an eyebrow wax since December. In that moment at the bank, I felt like nothing but a fat mom.

I cried the whole way home. What happened? Who was I? When did I lose myself? I fondly remembered the girl who, upon hearing that most college students take 5+ years to graduate and usually don’t end up with a job that’s anywhere near their major, buckled down to finish school in 4 years and summoned enough intern experience to snag a full-time job (with benefits) in my chosen career field ONE WEEK BEFORE GRADUATION. The girl who was out of shape after a bad break up so she decided to join the gym and get fit. The girl who admired runners who were up at the ass crack of dawn so much, that she decided to become one herself, running 5Ks/10Ks/and ultimately a half marathon at the San Diego Zoo. The girl who educated herself on animal cruelty and food production so she decided to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, despite the laughs and taunts. I remember the bi-weekly manis/pedis, monthly massages at the spa, monthly haircuts, all the shoes and all the clothes.

This is not a rosy post about “then I got home and it was all better” or “I looked into my son’s face and realized my life is perfect the way it is.” No. Motherhood is hard! What’s sometimes even harder is remembering to slow down and take care of yourself because you matter too. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed or exhausted and mourn the freedom and flexibility you once had.

Today, I woke up, straightened my hair, painted my nails, did my makeup before waking up my son, morning sickness still in full effect, dressed him and packed him in my car to get our day started.

Wouldn’t you know, just looking down at my freshly polished nails I feel different – in control and full possibilities. So today I make a promise to myself, both the old me and the new me, to take care of me. Even if it’s a small gesture, like paining my nails. There’s no way I’m going back to the bi-weekly manis/pedis, monthly massages, etc. The moment I became a mother, I knew I wasn’t living for me anymore but for my son. Still, I need to remind myself that it’s okay for my little guy to stay with Daddy on a Saturday morning while I get a haircut. It’s okay to pick him up 20 minutes late after work if it means I get an eyebrow wax first. To some moms, it may come easy and sound very simple, but to me it’s not. I can’t explain it. All I know is it took standing in line at a Golden One Credit Union to realize I wasn’t taking care of my inner self the way I should have been. Here’s hoping it’s not too late to start!

Christy is a full-time working mom of two kids under two years of age and wife two a hard-working construction man. She’s used the writing experience in her public relations career as an outlet to the craziness that is parenthood. Her anecdotes and tips in motherhood can be found on her blog, Coffee + Chaos.