Before I became a mom, I always swore that I wouldn’t lose myself in motherhood. I was that person that looked at my friends that had kids before me who didn’t seem to have lives outside of their kids and thought, that won’t be me. Like most people who don’t have kids yet, I didn’t quite realize how hard it would actually be once I put myself in my friend’s shoes.
It started off with me just being too tired to do anything outside of taking care of a baby. Newborns are a lot of work and I truly did try to sleep when the baby slept. When the baby wasn’t sleeping, I was trying to manage everything that got neglected since having a baby. I wanted to reconnect with friends but just didn’t have the time or energy to do so. I vowed that when my daughter started sleeping more (and me) that I would take back my social life.
And I did, somewhat but it wasn’t the same. Going out and having fun just wasn’t as carefree as it used to be. As much as I said I would never become them, I quickly became my friends I used to tease for yawning the entire time we were out. I too became that person who checked the time constantly to make sure I didn’t stay out too late. I turned down that last drink because I didn’t know how early I’d be up in the morning or the middle of the night. Because I wasn’t able to let loose the way I wanted, I found myself not really wanting to go out at all.
I would love to say that this all magically fixed itself over time but that’s not true. It did get better over time, but it took some work and self-discovery. I had to come to grips that my life was forever changed. The activities that I used to love to do regularly I couldn’t do anymore.
I had to learn to give myself a break. I am only one person but I was trying to do the work of many. One of the most important lessons I learned as a new mom is that things fall through the cracks. If the laundry didn’t get done on laundry day and my daughter had to sleep in a onesie and pants instead of pajamas, it wasn’t the end of the world. If dishes got left in the sink overnight, they could be loaded into the dishwasher the next day. If there was no energy to cook dinner, takeout was fine. The less pressure I put on myself to be perfect, the more I was able to find time to do things I wanted to do instead of feeling like I was failing at finding balance in my life.
I also had to learn to trust my partner more instead of trying to do everything myself. We all have different resources that are available to us. Yet, most new moms are so busy trying to prove that they can do it all that they don’t use these resources. There’s also a tendency to not want to use these resources if they aren’t doing things exactly the way we think they should. As moms, we get so good at doing various mom tasks because we have practice. The more we give our partners and other resources a chance to practice, the better they’ll become as well.
Finally, I had to find some new hobbies or at least alter my old hobbies. That also meant finding new friends whose schedules were more in line with my own. I found some friends with kids around the same age as my own. They liked to do all of the things that I liked to do pre-baby but were completely on board with me to just do these activities earlier in the day. When hanging out with these friends, we still had fun but instead of me feeling guilty for leaving early, we were all on the same page and wanted to get home in time for bedtime!
I’d still hang out with my pre-baby friends when I had the energy and time just not as often. Things like dinner and drinks with friends would happen quarterly now instead of weekly. As much as I thought this would make me sad, I was completely happy with it. I didn’t have the energy or desire to do this weekly but the frequency at which I could do it was just enough for me to get my fix and not miss my old life too much.
Need to create a baby registry? To get started with a Registry on Amazon, click here!