#MoreThanMom Love yourself enough not to lose yourself in motherhood

(For my sister from another mister- not really as my dad regards her as his daughter- my bestie Cherise Lombard who will be a mom soon!)

Becoming a mother changes everything … or does it?

Sure, your priorities shift, your sleep changes (and trust me that sucks!), your body transforms and your heart expands … but what happens to your identity when you cross over the threshold to motherhood?

When I was pregnant with little miss Kiki, someone I very much looked up to told me I would completely lose my identity once I had my baby. “Life as you know it is over. There will be no time for you anymore. Accept it,” she said. I was shocked.

Even though this person was older (78). Mother of 3.  And I made my choice NOT to accept that piece of advice that didn’t sit right with me… Or loads of other well-intended advice from friends, relatives, strangers, doctors, experts, magazines, books and the like. And of course, there have been PLENTY of suggestions and pieces of wisdom that have rung true for me in the 6 years since I’ve been a mother. I’m grateful for it all. Truly I am. But… here is the big BUT- I am still me.

So much of my younger years were spent suffering and searching in unhealthy places because I didn’t have a clear sense of who I was or why I was here. Once I found myself, I realized I really liked myself. I am an okay soul, who loves reading a little too much, likes working with people and loves children. Sacred self-care and “me time” became my non-negotiable foundation from which everything else flowed. I was happier than I had ever been, in my work, in my life, in my soul. This was a hard-won discovery. This was my anchor, my roots into the earth. I do not need to feel guilty for the hours spent with friends, my love or even by myself.

I wasn’t willing to buy into the notion that my identity that I had invested time, money, energy and faith in claiming would simply cease to exist once Kiki was born. Sure, it would evolve, but it would not disappear.

I’m now the proud mama of 2 beautiful girls and I’m learning and growing every second of the day. It’s humbling, hilarious, messy and life affirming.

Motherhood is the most intense personal growth path I’ve ever walked (in addition to marriage (ok, I have failed) and entrepreneurship!). My advice for new moms: listen to your Inner Voice about what feels right for your child, you and your family. You will be receiving contradictory tips and suggestions from here on out. Don’t fret. Go within. Breathe. You will be okay 🙂

Wise beyond measure, you know your child so well. Take time to know yourself deeply, too. This relationship with your sacred self is a profound catalyst for confident and fulfilling parenting even during your toughest days. And we all will have them.

Love yourself so much that you’re not willing to lose yourself. Because when you lose yourself, everyone loses. Your family needs you. Most of all, you need you.

So, be kind to yourself. Spend time in nature. Write in a journal. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea/coffee or wine  that makes you smile. Move your body. Dance in the shower.Flat iron your hair. Enjoy date night with your partner (even if it’s simply a quiet movie at home after your baby is asleep).

Bless your mess. Ask for help. Know that you will sleep for long stretches again. I promise. I don’t know when, but I am sure it would happen. I still sleep every night with miss Z and I am careful to say that it is getting better.

The days sometimes feel like they stretch on forever, but the years fly by. Enjoy your children. Because they are your legacy.

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