When my daughter was born I became completely selfless, the far end of a selfish mother. I tended to everything she needed and it was a lot. There were a list of issues for her and I. We didn’t realize she was dairy intolerant till around the six month mark and because of that she was a horrible sleeper due to being in pain or discomfort. We had to go to specialists and she was on medicine for a while. And because I was exclusively breastfeeding, that meant no dairy for me. Since I was exclusively breastfeeding it also meant it was me and only me feeding her. No bottles, no extra help on that end. Now I know a lot of people are asking themselves why? Well we had moved to Virginia when she was 2 1/2 months old. My husband had started a new job, which meant extra hours. I didn’t know anyone in the area so why would I not exclusively breastfed? Who was going to come over and help out? Why would I pump when I’m all by myself? Anyways….breastfeeding came fairly easy at first, but then I discovered I was an over producer. Which sounds great, but I didn’t know how to handle it. I frequently became engorged which caused clogged ducts making it miserable and painful at times. And because she had the undiagnosed dairy intolerance she wasn’t eating and draining me like she would have normally.
There are more stories I could tell you about why it was so hard with her as a baby. But basically, when a baby has a hard time sleeping and eating, which is all they do, that means you have a pretty awful first year. And we did. Obviously there were bright spots and she wasn’t in pain 24/7. She was an extremely happy baby despite all of that. All that means is I had to become extremely selfless. Pour my entire being into figuring out what was wrong with her and how to fix it. And on top of that I had to figure out how to be a mom. I had no idea what I was doing!
When you devote your entire being to someone else you become a shell of your self. Now I’m not saying anything new here. You’ve heard this a million times and it seems like a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. I eventually made friends out in Virginia and had a wonderful time, but it didn’t start till around the one year mark and even then, I wasn’t doing things for myself. Like basic hygiene or anything enjoyable just for me.
Now let’s fast forward to 2016, the year I started this blog. I finally said to myself, YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING and not just a mom. It took me two years, and my husband constantly pushing me, to get out of my funk. I told myself I needed my own thing. I needed to prove to myself that I exist outside being a mother.
Once I started working on my blog I found a new passion. I felt like a new human being and my husband saw the change too. He said he was finally starting to see the old me. I missed her and so did he.
So now let’s fast forward again when I became pregnant with our son, who was born early 2018. I told myself, from the minute I got pregnant, that it would be different this time around. I would be a selfish mother. My face would be washed, I’d take 20 minutes in the day to do a face mask. I’ll work on my blog at night. Tell my husband exactly how I was feeling. Take thirty minutes to myself while he watched the kids. And I’d finally ask my friends and family for help.
Becoming a selfish mother has changed my world. It’s made me a better mom and a better wife. Sure sometimes I think, maybe I should be cleaning or playing with my kids right now. But taking thirty minutes for myself, especially when you’re a stay-at-home mom, won’t be remembered in the end. No one will say to me, why didn’t you clean the dishes instead?
Now I’m far from living my selfish mother life. I still exclusively breastfeed my son and I haven’t been out at night by myself or on a date with my husband since my son’s been born – that’s nine months if you’re counting. I still have to remind myself it’s OK. I’m hoping that by writing all this down I’m reminding myself to reconnect with me and hopefully it’s doing the same for you. You’re going to hate me for saying this but I’m going to anyways. If I can help just one person remember they are still a human being, and not just a mom. That you have things you like to do, that you matter. Self love matters, that being selfish is what YOU NEED TO DO. Please try to dig yourself out of that funk. It’ll seem so slow but then, one day, you’ll realize you’re out of the hole. And then it will feel amazing.
So take time for yourself. If you find yourself going into a hole, or if you’re there right now, take thirty minutes for yourself. I know you want to clean the dishes, or make food or whatever’s on your list but life won’t remember that you weren’t completely on top of all the tiny stuff. Plus no one else cares as much as you. What they’ll remember is that you took a minute to reconnect with yourself, came back and had a smile on your face. So take a moment – here’s how I create my spa moments if you need some ideas.
You can do this. Be a selfish mother.