It’s 2:30 p.m. on a random Thursday in January, and I’m drinking a glass of wine while my kid kicks the wall from her crib because she’s clearly not napping today.
Wait. It is Thursday, right?
All I wanted to do today was get out of this freaking house. I wanted to have plans, for a change. I wanted to feel connected to the outside world in a way that would remind me what stupid day of the week it is. Maybe have an adult conversation with a cashier, or a random person in line. I wanted something miniscule and mostly irrelevant to look forward to. I just wanted to have a typical day like when we lived at 485 – where I could forget that my family now lives in the middle of nowhere, away from all of our friends.
I just wanted to roam Target.
I just wanted to savor a venti chai latte from Starbucks.
I just wanted to dream about my next DIY project in the aisles of Hobby Lobby.
I just wanted to have a nice little lunch date with my daughter at McAllisters.
(And a spud, because God I miss those spuds.)
Petty of me? Maybe. But this morning I decided I was going to make my little day of former normalcy happen. I bundled us both up to brave the arctic that is now central Indiana, strapped us into the car, and made the 40 minute drive to the nearest point of civilization.
Our trip ended before noon, with both of us in tears. Toddler meltdowns + mommy meltdowns = bad news bears.
Motherhood is rough, and frankly I have been struggling lately. My life, as I used to know it, no longer exists. Most days feel like Groundhog’s Day, and I’m constantly spinning my wheels. Where am I going? To make things worse, I am clawing for every shred of what used to make me me, because I no longer recognize myself.
In the last 14 months I have made a lot of sacrifices for the good of my family – giving pieces of myself away. I gave birth, for starters. I quit my job to instead raise our daughter. I agreed to uproot our entire lives and move closer to family so that our daughter and future children can have a strong relationship with their grandparents. We’re doing the right thing, of that I am confident, but never once did I consider how these sacrifices would make me feel until after the damage had been done, so to speak.
And if we’re all being honest here, I haven’t felt so hot.
Many nights over the last several months have been spent with me in an emotional mess, and my poor husband doing everything he can to give me the world. “Take a solo vacation to find yourself,” he says. “Go back to work, if you want. Need an afternoon off to get a pedicure? Go for it.” He’s offering everything he can to help me feel happy in my own skin again, but unfortunately I don’t even know what I need because I have no idea who I am anymore.
Am I not more than that?
Should I be?
I just don’t know.
My life is different. I am different. And I’m just in the beginning stages of embracing it even after all these months. I must redefine myself, at least in my own mind, because I’m letting the good in my life pass me by. What are my passions? What is my drive? Motherhood has stripped me raw, as it does to the best of us, but I can’t let my best role in life take away me.
I’m consciously slowing down. I’m finding what I have lost along the way…
…and picking up the pieces to a new normal.
Tell me you’ve been there. How has your life changed recently, and what steps did you take to adjust? What makes you more?
You could say a few things have changed here. Working fulltime as a nightshift ICU nurse, getting deathly ill for 8 months– depending on people for everything, being forced to quit the nursing job and embarking on a new employment, and getting engaged will uproar all emotions.
One of the best ways to help me adjust has been to start a list of things I’m grateful for–puts a better twist to the new circumstances.
You are really in tune with your thoughts emotions so you have that going for you. You will find a new you and then again and again. Being a mom for me means constantly reinventing myself as my children grow up and their needs change. Whether its them giving up their one and only nap (aka your only down time–which i literally almost came unglued over that milestone. Like total mental case crazy. Like I didnt even know how to go on being “me” with no naptime downtime) or that first time you drop them off school and you wonder around feeling lost/empty/scared/not needed etc for those few hours. It’s an on going “find yourself” battle but somehow you will always land on your feet-especially when you are trying and as tune with yourself as you are.
You’re a great mom and you have to remember that things have the potential to get so much better. (And so much worse, think the Tyrannical Three’s)
I moved to Central, IL just after my first was born, without the husband temporarily, so that we could raise our kids with the family rather than “alone” in Indy. I got a new job that was so much different than I ever expected. Changed jobs again two years later, the day after I had kid #2. We moved five times in just over 5 years and lived in two temporary locations in between the moves. I’ve never felt so out of sorts.
Life is better however with my in-laws help with the kids. We always have a sitter. My kids know the pure love of their grandparents. It was really hard some days to live in the middle of nowhere…but looking back now it was the right thing to move. With time, I met like-minded people in Decatur, and now I even have a job I love. You may need to look at more blogging opportunities or other opportunities to carve out your identity away from Dot’s Mommy. It will be good for both of you.
Andi Gayle says
I had very similar feelings about missing my old life, friends, and activities when I moved from Bloomington up here…and then I also stopped working. I joined a mom’s group and a group at church and both have helped me have more things to do and make new friends. Maybe try to find two groups close to home….one where Dorothy is welcome and one just for you. You can always drive to see your friends…but it’s nice to have some that are close as well. I think winter is the hardest time because there is less happening in the community, and it’s so cold you can’t be outside as easily.
Try to be patient. Making new friends and adjusting to a new place takes time.
This resonates with me SO MUCH. My oldest started school this year, the youngest started preschool, and I just…I dunno. I felt detached from everything.
Stay strong. Hold on tight to your wine glass through the bad days. Sending lots of hugs and good thoughts your way!
Katelyn Fagan says
This is so beautifully written. I totally hear you. Motherhood does strip you raw. I started motherhood with a lot of changes too – full time student to stay at home mom, moved across the country, stuck at home during the day as we only had one car, no money to get a needed getaway, and didn’t really know anyone. Oh, and I had twins. I was lonely. I had no idea what my purpose was past “mother.” I had lost so much of what I had thought made me, me.
It took a while for me to adjust, for sure. Moving to a place, and a church family, with more people in a similar situation as me really helped. Having a monthly book club helped. Having things just for me to do, from a good book, to an art project, to a new homemaking goal, all helped. I just needed something to give me a purpose that was solely for me. And I also needed regular social interaction. I joined a weekly, large, playgroup that I greatly looked forward to. I reached out to people and invited them to my house, even though it was a small apartment. And lately, I have turned my blog into a real business which gives me so Mich purpose, drive, and now even income.
Best of luck. Time will help, but so will some great friends, and a new project.