I’ll never forget the first time someone said: “Oh, you must be Calvin’s mom!” It’s a moment that brought me incredible joy and pride, but it also made me think about how motherhood can change your individual identity. After becoming a mother, a lot of new adult friends and social circles revolve around whose parents are friends with your kids, and the life you led before starting a family can sometimes feel like it’s fading into the background. You might find yourself asking questions like: Who was I before I was a mother or a wife? What did I enjoy doing? For me, it was singing (in a former life I was an opera singer). I absolutely love music, and finding time to get back into it while raising my family has been a lot harder than I expected. Now, many of us are balancing motherhood, being a homeschool teacher, and working from home and it can feel impossible to find your identity in the midst of all of that. I recently spoke to Rachel Bertsche, author of “The Kids Are in Bed: Finding Time for Yourself in the Chaos of Parenting” about how to find purpose and passion even as a tired and multitasking mom. Here are her expert tips...
Let yourself relax and indulge: Letting yourself watch a TV show while folding laundry or making a to-do list really isn't an indulgence. No need to feel guilty about taking time for you. When the kids are in bed, napping, use that time to do whatever you enjoy most. For me, it’s a long phone call with my sisters or a ride on my Peloton bike with the music loud and no interruptions.
Wake up 30-60 minutes earlier than your kids: Especially during times like this, when you probably have kids crawling all over you for most of the day (I know I do), it’s so important to carve out alone time. I find it easiest to do that in the morning. Waking up 30-60 minutes before your kids will allow for the recharge you need. Take time to exercise, eat breakfast, read a book, or meditate.
Make a list of your favorite things: When I finally find a pocket of free time, sometimes I don’t even know what to do with myself! Make a list of simple rejuvenating indulgences to refer to next time you find time to yourself. I love flipping through our Chatbooks and reliving fun family adventures, especially now that we spend most of our time in the house.
Don’t wait until you have an hour: You don’t need a lot of time to practice self-care. Sometimes you will only have 20 minutes, so make those 20 minutes count. Writing in my journal, going for a walk, or texting a friend are easy ways I recharge. Just doing a little something you enjoy each day can do wonders!
Give yourself guilt-free time: Sometimes all you want is a nap. Don’t feel bad if you spend 30 minutes napping or giving yourself a facial rather than doing the dishes or finishing a project. You don’t have to be productive all the time! Rachel said it best, “You will not become a better parent by not enjoying your life”.
Put yourself on the to-do list: Our to-do lists are endless and if you do not add yourself to the list, you will never get to you. Make sure that somewhere between preheating the oven for dinner and watering the plants, face masks and FaceTiming friends make the list.
We all need some time to recharge our batteries and there’s no need to feel guilty about it.
Being a mom is a full-time job!