Raising Kids While Not Losing Yourself

May 09, 2023
Not losing yourself

As women we hold space for different identities throughout our lifetime. Some we are born into and some we step into.

One identity many women have the honor of stepping into is motherhood. As soon as that baby is placed into your arms your title quickly changes to “Mom” and your identity follows.

As you embrace this new identity it can be easy for other roles or identities to slip away as motherhood is a 24/7 job.

With the birth of each child, you may find yourself thrown into the deep end of navigating the challenges of postpartum difficulties, surviving more sleepless nights than you can count, comforting sick and cranky toddlers while trying to manage your emotions, running kids to and from sporting events and school, and the list goes on and on.

If you are not careful and intentional, you may find that you are drowning in the depths of motherhood, unable to recognize your former self – the fun, smart, energetic, ambitious woman you can hardly remember now.

This is important to recognize because when you lose parts of who you were before motherhood you may lose sight of other attributes, qualities and values that make up who you have always been. This can shift how you view who you are or how you think other people see you.

This can, in turn, lower your view of yourself and lead you to allow how others’ view you to define your worth and impact your confidence.

Here are 5 tips to help you raise your kids while not losing yourself:

  1. Stay connected.

We are relational beings. Community and connection are important as you navigate life. Making time to interact and see other adults can help you tap back into who you were before having kids and allow you to embrace parts that make you who you are. If you experience “mom guilt” while being away, remind yourself that time away can help you recharge your battery. This, in turn, allows you to have a wider window of tolerance. This can allow you to be more present in the time you are with your kids. This time away can decrease feelings of exhaustion, stress, and help you avoid burnout.

  1. Engage in self-care.

This is an important part of stress relief and wellness. Taking time, whether at home or outside of the home, to focus on caring for your own mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health can have a positive impact on how you’re able to show up and engage as a mom. Making time for this can also send a message to your kids that self-care is important and beneficial to everyone.

Some forms of self-care can include getting a massage, having your nails done, taking quiet walks alone, getting enough sleep, spending time reading God’s Word, focusing on gratitude, or practicing mindfulness.

  1. Schedule dates.

Looking at the calendar and planning ahead can help you carve out time for your social or wellness needs each week or each month. This may be time out with friends, time alone, or time spent with your spouse to catch up and connect.

  1. Teach your kids who you are.

Take intentional time to show your kids your gifts, talents, and interests. Show them what you enjoyed doing while you were growing up or things you still enjoy doing today. This is a great way to connect and bond with your kids, while reminding yourself of aspects of who you are outside of motherhood. It’s important for them to understand that you are so much more than just the provider of their needs.

  1. Mindset shifts.

Remember, one day your kids will be grown and living on their own. So as hard as it can be to be in the midst of motherhood, one day you will be an empty nester. As many say, “the days are long, but the years are short.” When the days feel challenging, remind yourself that it will not last forever.

Having three small children myself, I know that none of these tips are going to make everything run smoothly in your life as you raise your kids. There will still be arguing, fevers, misbehavior, discipline, hugs, and hilarious chaos, but you have the opportunity to embrace these tips, and each day to look for opportunities to allow some time for yourself so you have the physical and emotional strength to show up for your family.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Kristen Weleba, MS, LPC

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