one of my favorite parts about being a blogger is building relationships with women in the blogging community. i’ve ‘met’ some incredible mama’s i wish i could grab coffee with on a regular basis and listen to their hearts, share stories and do life. today, i’m excited to have Caity from grown-up adventure girl, guest-posting! i hope you enjoy + make sure to hop over and show her some love!
I was terrified. It was as if someone had rammed me off the edge of a cliff, stuck a revolver to my temple, shoved me behind bars with a life sentence.
“This is it,” I thought. “This is the end of me.”
I had become a mother.
Nine months and two days of pregnancy had not prepared me for the enormity of holding that little life in my hands.
I had the most fantastic support team in all of history: a husband whose love never left my side, a mom who flew 1300 miles to stay with us for a week, friends who brought us meals and baby clothes and answered my frantic texts with reassuring words. I had it all, but it wasn’t enough.
I still felt like I couldn’t do this motherhood thing.
There was this overwhelming feeling that motherhood had stolen my identity. I was gone, replaced by a robot. I was controlled by urges I didn’t understand – I had to take care of a baby that belonged to me, more certainly than my own hands did.
Marriage had been about me – bringing my individuality to play a key role in this new relationship. Pregnancy had been about me – keeping myself healthy so I could grow the human within. But motherhood was not about me at all.
This fear kept punching me in the gut: I will never get to be me again.
How we envision ourselves is one of the most powerful things in the world. And when we can’t see past the word “MOM” emblazoned on our chests, we start to drown. I don’t want you to drown the way that I was. I don’t want fear to rip you apart and leave you an empty shell with nothing to offer your family.
So I’m here to tell you something important: you are not a mom.
You. Are. Not. A. Mom.
Wife, businesswoman, daughter, friend, mom…all of these things are words we use to describe ourselves, but they are outside circumstances. They are titles; hats that we put on as each situation demands us to.
But what are you, really?
A woman. No, a girl.
If you’re having trouble seeing yourself that way, stripped of titles and stresses and standing as just a girl, then I want you to try one of these three things with me today. You may not have much time for yourself, but I guarantee you have time in your day for one of these things.
We should do this automatically, but who has time for that? Inhale slowly through your nose. Feel the way your breath fills up your chest and stomach, creating space where there was only stress. Exhale even slower through your mouth. Push out all the air you possibly can, feeling the emptiness in the release. Do this a few more times. Focus all your thoughts on those deep breaths. You are breathing for you. God put breath in your lungs because He wants you to be alive.
Pick a sensation.
Rain on your face. Bubble bath seeping into your skin. Sun warming up your bare feet. Cool night air filling your lungs. Hot (not lukewarm!) coffee being sipped leisurely. Did one of those sound like a little piece of heaven to you? Have your hubby or a friend watch the kids and set a timer for ten whole minutes, or fifteen if you can. Go focus on a single sensation. This is your time. Relax (and don’t have your phone with you). There is hope that you still exist in there, tucked behind all the cooking and messes and sleepless nights. Is a tiny piece of yourself restored?
Wear a dress.
Dress-up time; you used to do it when you were little, didn’t you? Pick something that you never take the time to wear. Maybe it’s a fancy piece of jewelry or a pair of high heels that are just too impractical. Whatever it is, go and put it on. Look at yourself in the mirror – being adamant to ignore the voices in your head that tell you you’re not beautiful. Instead enjoy the view. Imagine the woman in your head who gets to wear this out in public. Is that who you are? Is that who you want to be? It’s okay to dream. Let it refuel you to be that little girl along with the mom you already are.
The mom title is with you forever and always. But it doesn’t have to bind your dreams with shackles to the ground. Take time to see who you are past the messes and the sleepless nights and you will radiate a joy that benefits your whole family.
If you’re willing to make yourself a priority a little more often in the long-term, I suggest picking a real diversion for yourself. A skill you used to have or something completely new. Kayaking, sketching, latte art, ballet, gardening, you name it. Sometimes you don’t know who you are until it is manifested in the things you put yourself into. Try it and see where it takes you.
Caity is a chaco-wearing, God-fearing Texas mama seeking adventure in the most ordinary of places, holding fast to the idea that motherhood is a glorious beginning of self – not an end. She longs to share the freedom that she’s found in yoga, hiking, baking from scratch in a double-wide trailer, and craving a God who satisfies.