We are more than just mothers

Be You with Jonelle is back and today I am looking at how we tend to lose ourselves when we become mothers, and how important it is to be you even after you welcome a little person into your world.

When we have our first child, our lives change dramatically. The things we used to love fall to the wayside. We put our children first, we care for them first and foremost. We worry and stress and panic and run to them. We drop everything in making sure that they are cared for, loved and nurtured. Occasionally, we drop ourselves along the way. We forget that we are more than just mothers.

We don’t intend to of course. It happens almost gradually without us noticing. We don’t even realise we haven’t had time in months for the things we enjoyed, we are too busy being mothers. Things that were once so important, suddenly lose their sense of urgency. Money that you spent on yourself buying little things, buying fancier things, now goes towards things for little people instead.

You walk into a store to buy jeans that you desperately need to replace the maternity pants you’ve been wearing for the last year post-baby and you get home with arms full of the cutest little clothing. Only then do you realise that you’ve forgotten that you actually needed a pair of jeans. The truth is, it doesn’t even matter. When we become mothers, these little things fall away.

Romantic weekends with your partner are soon a thing from “the old days” and a lie-in is what you call sleeping till 5:30. You don’t even remember the last time you drank a cup of coffee while it was still hot and you really wouldn’t even try to remember the last time you went to the toilet on your own. You’re a mom now. You don’t get these kinds of luxuries anymore do you?

When we are more than just mothers

What if I told you that you needed it? What if I told you that not only do you need it, but you are entitled to it too. You are entitled to still do the things you love. You are entitled to still spend time alone with your partner without your child. And you are definitely entitled to spend time in the toilet without an entourage. Being mothers doesn’t mean we can’t still be ourselves and have time alone!

Doing the things that matter to us is what replenishes our soul and prevents us from feeling completely overwhelmed and burnt out. It’s OKAY to go away for one weekend without your child. Yes, they will be sad and they will miss you, but they will also learn independence. They will learn how to cope without you. You might feel a bit selfish at the time but I promise you, you need it. You and your partner need the time alone to remember why you fell in love in the first place.

We put so much of ourselves into nurturing our children that sometimes we forget to nurture ourselves. Without the fuel needed to keep on going, soon enough we come to a standstill. We feel lethargic and exhausted and like there is just nothing left within ourselves to give at all. That is the moment you finally know for sure, you need to take time out for you.

Here’s the thing, you can easily prevent that feeling and you know what they say, prevention is better than cure!

My tips for Being You even after the babies arrive

  • Don’t be afraid of taking some time out with your partner – Just find someone you trust, a grandparent or a reliable sitter and go on date night. Even if it’s once a month. If you’re breastfeeding, pump some milk out and leave it behind in a bottle. One bottle feed won’t do any damage. Or an overnight stay if you can manage that is even better. Go somewhere nearby so that you feel confident enough to rush back if you need to. Chances are nothing will happen but being close enough to rush home does help to make you feel better about being away.
  • Remember the things that mattered to you – If you really enjoyed going to the cinema or sewing or even hiking then take a little time out every once in a while and go do those things. Find that reliable person you trust and go get that “me time” that you deserve.
  • Take breaks on your own – It’s really important to still value our personal space. Not necessarily all the time but a trip to the loo on your own every once in a while can be magical. As would a nice long hot bath with a magazine. Leave the baby in dad’s care and get into that tub.
  • Put effort into your appearance – I know as new moms especially, it feels impossible to find the time to even just get into the shower. As time goes by, we adjust to dragging ourselves out of bed and grabbing the nearest item of clothing. Take back who you were before motherhood by putting a little effort into how you look. Try and find even a tiny moment to put some lipstick on and make yourself feel a little happier when you look in the mirror. I’m not saying you’ve got to get dressed up like you’re heading down the runway, but it does feel good to know you look good.

Whatever you decide to do, whether it’s going away for the weekend or just putting on some lipstick, try to remember that you still need to take care of yourself. Being you is just as important now as it was before the baby came along and taking back little parts of your life can go a long way in making yourself feel more confident and capable in your own shoes.

Jonelle du Pont

Jonelle is a first time mom in Cape Town. Her main focus outside of her family is inspiring, motivating and empowering women through her blogs Tyranny of Pink and Jonelle du Pont. Jonelle has had an incredibly challenging journey through life, including facing and beating death just after welcoming her new baby into this world; and yet finds the positive and shares the learnings through it all. She is also the author of our column "Be You with Jonelle".

1 Comment
  1. Thanks for the reminder, Jonelle. Now that I am pursuing my own interests and dressing up again my little girl is loving It! She wore my necklace to preschool today so proud!

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