6 Ways to Find Yourself AFTER having kids [and How You Can, Too!]
Becoming a mother was EVERYTHING for me. At the time, I thought it was what I was brought on this planet to do. So, when my first was born nearly 11 years ago now, I poured EVERYTHING I had into him. When I say everything, I mean EVERY-thing.
I gave him my physical body as his castle for 9 months, and then worked through a 38-hour labor marathon (because he, the Little Prince, didn’t want to leave said castle).
Once the dust settled, I was left with 40 extra pounds and a body I didn’t recognize. Still, he wanted, and needed more. So, I breastfed for 18 months; feeding on demand, AND pumped 3 times a day while I was at work.
I felt guilty for leaving him with my husband to go exercise...so I didn’t.
Oh, and let’s not forget on his first birthday I found out I was pregnant with number 2! This pattern went on until we hit baby #4.
Does any of this sound familiar?
As I talk to more and more moms, I realize this pattern of losing ourselves and our identities after having kids is, unfortunately, very common.
Fast forward six years and I realized I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted anymore outside of being a mother. I had lost myself, my passions and my desires. And while I loved being a mama, I wanted the rest of me back.
SO, here’s what I did to find myself after having kids.
I READ BOOKS
books are my mentors. They help me see that I’m not alone but also give me some direction to get through the stuck place that I feel I’m in. Here are some of my absolute favorites that helped me find myself after having kids!
I WENT TO MARRIAGE COUNSELING
I know you’re thinking, I want to find ME, not my marriage, but hear me out.
I walked into that first day of counseling thinking we were amazing, there wasn’t much we needed. Just a fine tuning. I was SO wrong, and I’m SO glad I was. Marriage counseling was a real eye opener into ME, and the things I needed to work on to make me whole for myself, so that I could approach our relationship without expectation or co-dependence.
Those marriage sessions 100% changed me and how I approach my own health and well being.
I INTENTIONALLY DID THINGS THAT WERE SCARY AND A LITTLE BIT, OR A LOT BIT HARD
I started small here. First, I taught a class on money to my local church community. But at the time, for me, that was like walking into a room naked.
Now, I try to push myself every day. It helps me remember that I’m alive, sometimes embarrasses me a little, and keeps me grounded in the “it doesn’t matter what people think” reality. Oh, and it will likely move you towards the life you actually want to live! As my YMCA instructor screams while she’s telling me to give her 10 more burpees, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”
You aren’t just one thing friend, you’re so much more. And the world needs you to be ALL of you. What are your strategies for finding yourself after having kids?
Here are Katie’s thoughts on the matter:
Before kids, I thought I was awesome. Seriously, I thought I had it all together. I was driven, I had a good job, I was happily married (so I thought, more on this later), I had just completed my Master’s Degree. I was killing it. Then a tiny human decided to wreck my body and literally stretch me in every single way I thought possible.
WTF! This is not what I signed up for.
As I journeyed through early motherhood, I began to have so many doubts and mom guilt. Oh, the mom guilt! Especially after returning back to work each time. The working-mom guilt was extreme. Still to this day I have to quiet that voice in my head...TINA, and tell her to take a back seat.
Then, after a few years of this mothering gig, I realized I had completely lost myself. Me, the workhorse of my life, the passionate one, the one who had dreams and goals. It was that awareness that helped me change course. Now, I am on a journey to get her back.
I don’t have it all together, I am learning too, but I wanted to share a few things along the way that are helping me create who I want to be on this side of having kids.
Make some real friends.
Seriously, you don’t have time for bullshit friends anymore. This was really hard for me and it may sound harsh, but let me explain.
Motherhood has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. Even to this day I struggle to feel like I have any sort of balance in this area and like I’m good enough (yes, this is Tina talking again). I always thought I’d be a naturally good mother, whatever that means, and somehow it would just come easy to me. I realized immediately that this was the hardest freaking job on the planet! Yet, when I tried to share this with some of my friends at the time, I got blank stares.
If one more person asked me if “it was the most wonderful thing,” they would have gotten sucker punched to the face. For this reason, it is so important to get some people in your life who are willing to fess up to this struggle alongside you. Friends who are focused on developing themselves, not sitting over there judging you.
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Get a therapist.
Working with a therapist has been a crucial part of getting to know myself and really challenging my self-limiting beliefs and blind spots. When my youngest daughter was just shy of two, I felt so disconnected from myself I hardly recognized who I was. I was angry, irritable, and screaming at my kids all the time. This made me feel even more out of control and to put it bluntly, I felt like a shitty mother.
Therapy is not fun. There, I said it. It can be brutal to dig up all this stuff about yourself that you’ve worked so hard all these years to bury, mostly unconsciously. Therapy makes you really inspect who you are and how you got to be the way you are.
Let me be clear, not all parts of you need to change, but we have been carrying a lot of shit that doesn’t belong to us or serve us anymore. It’s time to let that shit go, and quite frankly, it’s holding us back from being the best version of ourselves.
You have to own your past, my friend, before you can own your present or your future.
Write out who you want to be.
Start visioning your life 5, 10, 20 years down the road and the steps it would take you to get there. It’s like a roadmap for your life and reignites your purpose. I have just recently done this for myself in the past 6 months and it is changing my life.
[If you’re looking for a specific way to create a Vision head over to the Greatest Worth Shop and get your hands on the Step 3 Visioning Workbook! Nicole will walk you through, step by step, how she creates 10 year Visions and then aligns her money to get her there!]
I have always been a pretty well planned out person, but as I got married and had children I put my dreams on the back burner. I made myself believe that my partner and kids now took priority and it was my job to assure everyone else’s happiness but my own. I am realizing now, if you don’t go after your dreams, no one else will.
I am also seeing the value of my partner and kids having a goal-driven, big dreaming hustler as a wife and mother. It makes everyone else around you level up and reach for their own dreams. It is also possible to be a devoted wife and mother and still pursue big dreams.
It’s OK to take time to find yourself again. Let go of that mom guilt and realize how much more awesome you’d be if you were content and in love with who you are being in the world! With all the roles you fill, it’s time to remember who you are and what YOU were put on this planet for. Outside of your babies, of course!
Join the Greatest Worth Family for accountability and support while you’re working to find yourself after having kids. Katie and I are both there and we would LOVE to support you in your journey! (You can also find Katie on Instagram at embraceyourselfwhole).
Let’s grow together. Because when one woman rises, we all rise.