how to not lose YOURSELF when you're a mama(29 Posts)
Husband who does his fair share of everything. Family help with childcare! Pray for a DC that is in good health and sleeps.
Ignore friends who claim you will "lose yourself" if you don't do things you used to that they wish you to continue to do (drinking til 3am in a city 6 hours away in my case)
For me, it's making time to have a social life, keeping informed by listening to radio and podcasts, reading and getting out and about with and without kids because that's what I want to do.
I also spend a lot of time with my kids because they're the most important things in my life.
I'm more likely to lose myself due to chores rather than to being a mother.
I don't get time away from them. I feel lost without them but also crave time for myself where I can refresh (maybe yoga?) or simply do something I live other than being a mum -
Work. Going back to work after mat leave has given me my sanity back. I am generally met with disapproval when I say this, but it's true.
I agree with teabelle. The honest answer is time away from them.
Running. I get a baby sitter in to run at least once a week child free. Find friends with children so I'm not the only one covered in baby vomit! Work helps too x
Do you have a partner? Could they care for the child/ren while you do yoga, go for a pint, read a book or something?
We make sure we have time for ourselves every day, even if it is a quick bath after work. At weekends we either do something as a whole family or my husband and I will take an hour or two in the morning to go for a swim or coffee or something.
Don't get dragged into the whole 'mama' hype, carry on with the hobbies you had before kids, I still read lots, paint. Not as much but you can still do it
Work, politics and box sets!
I couldn't work when the DCs were primary school age (trailing spouse) and did voluntary work and lots of school assisting. I think an element of 'mamaness' is inevitable and probably healthy in the early days though. How old are your children?
I made sure I got time alone - either leaving DC with DH - he is their father; I can't understand any woman having a child with a man who won't be a parent - and if it happens with the first child why on earth have a second ? .
I also had friends who would 'share' informal child care, ie: I had her DC for a day/night to give me a break and vice versa. I had a lovely child-free friend who genuinely enjoyed taking my baby out for a long walk - I made use of a creche at the gym and made sure I got my DC into nursery school as young as possible.
I kept up all my hobbies, did lots of volutary work, went to the gym - whatever I wanted really . Being a 'mother' is a very small part of the person I am.
By doing the adult stuff you used to do before you had kids. Not as often, obviously but still making sure it happens at some point. Sometimes you drag the kids along, sometimes you get a babysitter for couple time, and others you do it alone. Some things you have to accept won't happen again for a very long time, or possibly ever
popping out for a quick pint Friday night and getting home Sunday evening, but most can be adapted or rare treats.
Work is a great tool for being 'you' and allowing you to be seen as a person separate from 'Mum'. Plus you get to wee in private and don't have to share your snacks
It's a horrible feeling that you've disappeared. I felt it for a few months after DD was born. I started to claw myself back by cooking dinner with the kitchen door closed (DH had the baby), blasting out my music and having a sing and dance whilst I cooked. That hour a day saved my sanity, it really caught me off guard how quickly I felt I'd lost my identity. But it does get better if you make the time.
what others said:
if you have a partner, shared responsibility for the home and everything child related
keeping up with some adult hobbies/interests
if you haven't got a partner, look into babysitting circles
Ragwort, can you really not imagine a situation where a woman ends up alone entirely unrelated to any decisions she may have made? That seems to suggest rather a lack of imagination. When mine were little, I knew a couple of young widows, and several women whose husbands had seemed absolutely devoted to their families- until they suddenly upped and left one day. How on earth is the woman supposed to foresee that?
I am finding it hard now both children are in school. I feel very redundant (even though I work). I miss my time with them on my days off. We live in a big city and I feel very lonely - I look at other families sharing their children growing up and wonder why this is not happening more for us. I wonder if moving to a small town would help. What have others done to stave off the loneliness?
I don't refer to myself as a mama for one thing
Go to work, see friends, read books. I only have one though and I don't have a partner
I think that's the point of keeping up hobbies after becoming a parent Bagabee. It allows you to keep some of your 'self' in the early days but also means as your DCs inevitably gain independence and their own life you aren't left feeling a bit surplus to requirements. Before you had children what would you have done if you had a day spare to yourself? I wouldn't worry too much about everyone else sharing the growing up, people give a very edited version of their lives to others. It's doubtful they are doing so much more than you.
Agree with PP you should try to continue a pre-DC hobby or activity. It may be impossible to do exactly the same stuff as before but you should be able to do something just for you.
For example, I can't do 8-10 hours rock climbing on a weekend like I used to, but I can go running for 30-40 mins a couple of times a week which at least gets me out in the fresh air and keeps me fit.
I also think it's important for your DC to see you as a person with their own needs and desires rather than just a parent. I especially want DD to understand that a becoming a mother does not require sacrificing all other ambitions.
DD was quite confused to start with when I said I was a scientist. She said "no mummy, you're a mummy ", I said "I'm a mummy and a scientist, I can do both" and her face was like this >
You shouldn't need to have "hobbies" to get a break. You both need time off, assuming you're in a relationship with DC. And ideally, it should be equal.
It's hard to carve time out for yourself with young kids, especially if you don't have family support nearby. A certain amount of assertiveness is required, especially if you have one of these "lovely" partners who think only employees need a break.
I can't remember what I really like. Beiges kids I mean. I was 21 with dc1. and been with my dp since 17. First serious boyfriend.
They are ages 5,4,2, 7 weeks
I want to start yoga once a week but I'm met with the hurdle of having severe split tummy muscles. I will try though.
We both want to keep up a monthly date night but harder now with breastfeeding baby.
We both want to start maybe running or cycling once a week together if we can get the kids looked after.
He is out of season now as he does football once a week..and works very hard in the week. He's great with the kids, and encourages me to have my time. I just feel like I don't know who 'me' is! Do I try to get the old me back? Build a new one? No idea, probably not the old me as that's unrealistic, I've never really felt like I know the real me as I've constantly been told how I should be by others, and lack confidence.
Something j don't want to pass on to now, my living and to my kids. I want them to know themselves and their worth and thT their mummy knows herself too.
I think that a lot of people aren't who they were when they were 17, irrespective of whether they've had children. In your position I think I would be trying different activities/classes/hobbies to see what interested me and continuing with the ones that I liked the best.
Okay you don't know the real you is. Your dp sounds like he wants you to go out and do some things for you. My kids are 7,4 and 2(almost 3) and I've been with DH since I was 18 and we had DD within the year lol. So I get not really knowing who you were before kids. But you need to try and get time out for yourself. What do you enjoy? Do you like cooking, baking, fresh air, reading, movies, food, exercise? You could maybe go to a class one night, I'm sure your youngest would be okay for an hour or two, most colleges do just fun evening courses in pretty much everything's from baking to sewing/dress making, languages, photography, guitar and obviously so many more! I know you've mentioned about your stomach muscles, but I feel so much better when I get my exercise in. At the moment I'm only doing half hour run 3 times a week at the gym but I feel happier and stronger for it. Even just going out to the shops by yourself gets you time alone. It's nice to just be able to pee in peace lol
Work. One answer.
Continuing to lead my research network, lecture my students, supervise my PhD candidates, publish, present at conferences- makes me an infinitely better mum and gives me oodles of confidence.
And then I over plan and buy 7 month old DS more books than he can chew on
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