“Being a mother is not about what you gave up to have a child, but what you gained by having one.” -Sunny Gupta
Becoming a mother is one of the greatest joys in life. They have someone in their life whom they can love unconditionally. Being a mother changes you. But, change is good, right? Well, not always. Have we truly understood the meaning of motherhood?
Our children are our first priority, no doubt. But, should it mean that they are the only ones that matter? Does it mean that becoming a mother means you will leave your old self behind and become someone you never remember yourself to be? Has becoming a mother evolved you into a better person? And do you know what the mysterious part is? You are going to be the last person to know you have changed.
Let us try and answer these questions today by looking at the crucial aspects that will determine whether you have discovered yourself or lost yourself in your busy and demanding lives.
Here is a checklist of sorts that will tell you which way you have gone.
1. Looking after your needs
Your children are important, no question about that. Doing everything they need is your job as a parent. But what about your needs and requirements? You also happen to be a human being just like everybody else.
You have feelings and emotions too. They are valid. And if you forget yourself along the way, because you were looking after your children, then you have no one but yourself at fault. You have to look after yourself too.
It is okay if you take the first piece of sweet if you are tempted. It is okay to eat before your children if you are hungry. It is okay if you go out by yourself and have fun from time to time.
You are just as valuable, and you need to know that. The meaning of motherhood is not ignoring yourself. It is about caring for someone other than yourself too.
2. Your career is still intact.
I will go out on a limb here and say that every mother who is reading this has studied in her life to achieve something. You have been working your whole life, literally, to reach a goal in life. And once you have a child, it doesn’t mean that you have to put all of that in a back burner.
You struggled to be able to stand on your own two feet. Why stop now? Yes, it is understandable that you may need a break in the early stages of their life. But after that, you have to get back on track.
It is a part of your personality. And you shouldn’t have to give up on that just because there was an addition to your responsibilities.
It will not be easy, but you have to start at some point again to become independent. We never know what is in store for us. Always be prepared to fight your battles on your own without anybody’s help.
3. Having a life outside of your children
Children are a significant segment of your life. But what are you beyond that? Your entire life cannot revolve around them. Our children are meant to come into this world through us. And, after that, our job is to guide them on surviving on their own. It was not your only purpose in life.
And hence, it is not the only thing you need to keep doing.
Children become self-sufficient after a point. You don’t have to keep doing everything for them all the time. That is not good for them either. You are a mother, among many other things. Don’t ignore the ‘many other things.’
When they grow up, they are going to get a life of their own, and you will have a huge void to fill in yours. What will you do then?
4. You have fun
Now, here having fun means doing the things that you enjoy doing. After having children, their enjoyment takes precedence. Fair enough. But what is not okay is, you don’t do anything that you like.
You don’t always have to do what your children want. If there is something you like, for example, a show or a movie or any activity, then don’t hold back. Just do it. The fun-loving personality that you had before does not need to go away.
5. Keep doing the things that make you, YOU.
The meaning of motherhood is not that you scrap the old ‘you’ and build a new ‘you.’ Everybody has distinctive characteristics that make them stand out from the rest. You have it too. You are unique, and becoming a mother does not change that in any way. Rather, it shouldn’t. Your qualities make you who you are.
And if you abandon everything you had from before becoming a mother, then you are losing yourself. There will always be something that you will feel you are missing out. Don’t try to suppress yourself.
Yes, becoming a parent changes you a lot. But, some things keep you attached to your previous self. Preserve them, or else, one day you may look in the mirror and not even recognize yourself.
When you have this constant feeling that something is missing from your life, it shows in your actions too. You can never fully enjoy a moment if you are in a battle with your inner self.
Change is a part of every level in the game of life. But each level makes us better if you play it right. The meaning of motherhood is that it enhances your personality and magnifies your strengths. It tells you just how much you are capable of doing. You discover new things about yourself every day.
But all of this will add on to nothing if you lose yourself in the challenges of motherhood. It won’t be easy, but it isn’t impossible either. You can be yourself and a mother too. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Mothers influence their children even when they are not expecting to. Your life is a book on which they will base their opinions. Make sure that you present them with a good example. A mother is not just a mother, she is so much more.