I’m 20 and pregnant. I feel like I was just starting to carve out my adult identity. Now that my daughter is coming, I feel like everything for me was put on hold.
How can you find yourself when you’re focused on raising someone else? How do you teach your child to cultivate a sense of self if you yourself don’t have one? -Blake
Younger mamas, I want you to know that us older mamas are just as befuddled at times as you are. I was in my mid-30s when I had my first child, and I don’t feel as if you ever finish the finding-yourself journey — nor would I want to. It’s part of the joy of being alive.
There are two major goals I have, and they are hard to do with a more-than-full-time job, a baby, and a very full life.
That said, here’s what’s helped for me to reconnect in areas of my life that need it:
1. Make time for date nights
Even when my partner and I have a date night that starts out crappy, it’s always ended well. The last one ended with us writing our goals for the year down and reading them to each other over glasses of wine on the deck. It was such a powerful moment of reconnection for us, and also helped me to define what I want to be and do in the next year. It was great.
2. Make new friends but keep the old
I’ve made new mama friends. But also continued to hang with my non-mama friends as well. And I make an effort to make new non-mama friends, too. I think that having a balance really helps you to remember who you currently are, and where you came from.
3. Get your partner into the mix as much as possible
My son is almost a year old, and still breastfeeding. At first I thought, “I’ll do more [fill in the blank here] when he’s weaned.” And now I’m like, “crap, just do the extra pumping and store that milk so you have no excuse not to [fill in the blank here]. My little dude’s dad is more than happy to hang with him. It’s just a matter of me letting go a little, and allowing myself to go and have fun… or write, or work out, or whatever.
4. Give yourself permission to do things for yourself
This is really hard for me. I feel so connected to my family that it’s hard for me sometimes to let go and make time for myself. But I am learning to do so — slowly but surely — because it makes everyone happier in our family. Plus, doing things like getting your brows threaded, or going horseback riding with your punk rock friend, really do help you to chill out.
Okay, those are a few of my tips that have worked for me. How do YOU find yourself as a parent?