My story started five years ago with the birth of my daughter in the Philippines. We were blissfully happy with our gorgeous baby and despite the challenges of having a newborn, we were excited about the addition to our family. Adding to the ongoing changes was our relocation to Central America. Suddenly from a new mother I had become a new mother with a four-month old in a brand-new city. I felt like the ground beneath me was slipping away.
In the past when I had found myself lost and confused, I had turned to family and friends, to my writing and my books to find my footing. But my husband was working full-time, my dear ones were continents away and as a new mother I couldn't very well pick up a book and read when I had a new baby to tend to. And so, I threw myself heart and soul into raising my daughter. Me-time was something I did not even think about.
I would go to playgroup meetings and wonder how other mothers got the time to get haircuts and manicures and pedicures. I would see friends discussing books and movies and wonder when was the last time I sat down to even finish a full cup of coffee. I struggled to finish my manuscripts since I worked only when my daughter was sleeping. As the months went by I realized that I had become a shell of what I used to be. My daughter was thriving but I, her mother, was not. And this was not sustainable.
Though my husband and parents had been telling me to let go a little bit and find myself, I was under the impression that even spending a little bit of time for myself meant too much time away from her. Till I happened to go to a mindfulness meditation workshop where I sat still with my thoughts, for the first time in a very long time. And I realized everyone I cared about wanted me to be myself again and the only person in my way, was me. My daughter deserved a truly happy mother. My family deserved the old me back. And most of all, I owed it to myself to find myself again and bid regrets goodbye.
Once I decided to quit being a martyr, these were the three things that I did not sacrifice.
1. My writing
I started to make time for writing again and not just when my daughter was asleep. I was jotting down ideas and editing languishing stories. And as I felt my zest and passion get the creative outlet they required, I felt that I was fast returning to who I used to be.
I started off by starting on a couch to a 5K training program. Once I completed that I enrolled in a gym. Not only did I see the pounds fall away, but I also felt the difference that endorphins could bring. I work out only around thirty minutes a day, but those thirty minutes made a difference to my mood and attitude for the rest of the day. Post-workout I am ready to dive back into the world of everyday motherhood.
3. My Art
In the quest to return to who I used to be, I did a lot of soul searching and I realized that I wanted to do something that was purely and selfishly for me, with no commercial gains whatsoever. This is when I started to dabble in learning how to sketch. And this is something that I return to every now and then, purely for myself. Sketching either scenes from places that I have visited or just everyday moments, centered around me. It was almost a form of meditation.
I believe that all moms must find the things that they love and make them whole and hold on to them. If society judges you for it, then look elsewhere for inspiration. Get inspired by brands like Baby Dove who urge you to follow your instincts, reassure you to have the confidence in your abilities as a mom and understand that there is no right or wrong way to be a mother, just your way. According to Baby Dove, there are no perfect moms, only real ones. This is why we, as mothers, need to trust our instincts for our babies, above everything else.
Let’s get inspired by the moms who you know who take off on retreats or pledge to read thirty books a year. Get inspired by your children who think nothing off doing that which makes them happy. And always remember that you deserve happiness too.
Baby Dove believes that there is no right or wrong way to be a mom because there’s no such thing as a perfect mom – just real moms, doing it their way. Mothers instinctively know what’s best for their child and Baby Dove is here to reassure moms to trust their way!
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