It was a Sunday afternoon that I'll never forget. My son, now three years old, was playing in the middle of our family room with Legos. He was fully content and absorbed in what he was doing and didn't need me right next to him. I sat on the couch and watched him for a while, still in awe of this human being that I created, but soon, I grew restless. "Surely there must be something I should be doing," I thought." As I started pacing the first floor of my house contemplating cleaning, laundry, or dishes, I tried to remember what I used to do on weekends for enjoyment before I became a mom. I drew a total blank. For the first time in years I had energy to do something, I had the time to do something and I felt like I was ready to conquer the day. The problem now was, I had no idea what to do. For the past three years, I had been by my baby's side waiting on him hand and foot. I hadn't taken a solo trip to the bathroom in longer than I can remember and I surely couldn't recall what having spare time in my day felt like. And yet, there I was. I felt like I had entered an alternative universe, had an outer body experience, but mostly, I felt like myself. My real self, the one who was driven and who didn't need a nap to get through the day. It had been so long since I had been that woman, and I decided on that Sunday afternoon that it was about time I got reacquainted with her.
Most articles and books I read talked about the fog of new motherhood and insinuated that it would clear in six months to a year. And there I was, one year, two years, three years later thinking this was just the new normal. I would always be this tired, I would always struggle to keep my eyes open mid-afternoon, and I would never have time to myself before 8pm again. Little did I know that this version of myself wasn't the real me, my fog just lasted longer than most. It has finally started to clear and while I miss my son needing me every moment of every day, I'm also really starting to love the rediscovery of who I am. Over the past couple of weeks I have started several new ventures, gone on solo grocery shopping trips, and read two books. I have given my son all the love and attention he could ever need or want, but for the first time in three years, I'm giving some to myself as well.
Motherhood is exhausting, this is nothing new. It takes every ounce of energy you have and then some. Again, this is nothing Earth shattering. And while with every new stage of parenthood there are struggles and challenges, things do get better. Mamas, you will find yourself again. It may be six months from now, two years from now, or 10 years from now, but one day you will look in the mirror and recognize the woman staring back at you. When that happens, reintroduce yourself, tell yourself those bags under your eyes don't look as bad as you think, and take yourself out for a cup of coffee. You have a lot of catching up to do and Mama? You sure are worth it.