4 ways to rediscover your womanhood in mamahood
By Jade Abbey @motherher_
Who are you outside of all the external roles you play?
Putting to one side mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend..who are you? As a woman.
When was the last time you asked yourself…
What do I enjoy?
What’s important to me?
What do I want to achieve?
How do I want to grow?
I know personally as mother’s it can feel challenging at times to keep connected to who you are as a woman when it’s so innately ingrained in us to devote ourselves to our external roles and meeting the needs and requirements of others.
Becoming a mother comes with significant changes, both external and internal. It’s a point within a woman’s life where everything she once knew about herself and her life shifts and very quickly for that matter. Our bodies, relationships, daily routines, priorities, careers completely change in those first stages of motherhood and so it’s no wonder that such a large percentage of mothers around the world claim to experience feelings of identity loss and disconnection to themselves.
From my experience and the conversations I’ve had with mama’s in the MH community, this loss of identity can be something that is experienced long into motherhood and for some mothers it’s something that’s often not identified until there babies graduate and leave the nest. It’s at this point many mothers come to realise how 18 years of their life has past and they have completely lost sight of who they are as a woman, outside of motherhood. They find themselves with all this free time but unsure of how to use it.
One of the major drivers for mother falling into this loss of self within motherhood is the societal expectations we have been exposed too that continue to paint the picture of what the “ideal” mother looks like. These idealisations have been fed through the decades to our parents, our grandparents, our great grandparents in which we often take on the all self-sacrificing mother traits we are exampled in childhood.
When I first had my daughter, I really struggled with adapting to the changes. In the early stages of becoming a mother I can’t count how many times I had emotional breakdowns and grieved the loss of my old life. There was times I felt so disconnected and lost, before I became a mum I had many hobbies, regularly socialized, I loved to travel and keep active. When I had my daughter I let a lot of that go, it was almost like I had this mindset of “I’m a mum now, I can’t travel anymore, I don’t have time to do my hobbies, I should just love and commit myself to being a mum now” until I came to a point when I realise actually, no..it doesn’t have to be that way.
Through my self-development journey I started to learn about self-connection practices like meditation, journaling and breathwork. As I slowly started to implement these into my daily routines I soon started to realise just how impactful it was, not only to the relationship I was growing with myself but how I was beginning to show up more fulfilled and present with my daughter. Becoming disciplined with these practices was very challenging at first, I felt so much resistance come up in those times I was having time to myself. Guilt, doubt, shame – I felt it all.
It really took time for me to shift my mindset around having “me-time” and letting go of the notion that I was selfish for having time away from my daughter. This mindset shift landed when I came to realise how me making time to connect to myself, to do all the things that bring me joy and to devote time to my own growth, benefiting my daughter significantly. This one realisation has now allowed me to consistently commit to myself and show up for myself in motherhood free of guilt and shame and in those off times when it starts to creep in again (which it inevitably does) I remind myself of why I’m having that me-time.
For me connecting back to myself after motherhood has been a process of small daily commitments to self. Some days it looks like 10 mins of sitting in stillness and feeling my body, while others it might be dedicating a whole day to myself doing things I enjoy. The beautiful thing is, self-connection doesn’t require hours or days out of your week. The key is creating the time you have the capacity and resources for and being consistent with it. As mothers, we all live very different lifestyles and all have excess to different levels of support but one thing we all do have is time even if it just 10 minutes out of your day.
So if your feeling this mama, if your feeling a little lost..
Here are my 4 ways to start rediscovering your womenhood again and build consistent, daily self-connection routines that will help you stay connected and empowered within this journey of motherhood:
1. Reflect on your values/passions/desires
Find a quite moment to sit down with a pen and pad and reflect on what it is that is truly important to you. What are your core values? What are your strengths? What do you stand for? What is a hobby you would like to take up? What is something you would like to achieve for yourself? Get intimate with yourself again, start to re-learn what makes you, you outside of motherhood.
2. Create self-connection routines
Start small, think of one short daily self-connection practice you can commit to each day. If your struggling for ideas, check out my latest post on a 10 minute morning self-connection routine which will get you started on creating your own! This could consist of meditation, breathwork, journaling, getting into nature, doing a hobby, it’s essentially any practices that connects you back to you and builds on your sense of self.
3. Set simple personal goals
Again, start small and simple. Reflect on just one thing you want to achieve for yourself, it might be getting into a better health routine, it might be reading book you’ve been wanting to read, it might be starting an online business. Whatever it is, break your goal down into small bite size daily goals. For example, if your goal is to get into a better daily health routine – your first daily commitment for the next 7 days could be “I will go for a 15 minute walk everyday”, once you’ve achieve that consistently look at how your can take your commitments to the next level, gradually working towards you main goal.
4. Make baby-free time
Whether it’s catching up with a group of girlfriends, doing a hobby you love, going for a pamper session, sitting on the couch with a good read or having a fun date with your partner. Try to create space within your schedule for baby-free time. Whether you get a loved one to babysit, hire a nanny or swap babysitting duties with a mom friend don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help and support so you can get the alone time you need!