Mamas, are you feeling lost and disconnected?
As a stay-at-home-mom, you may feel like the world around you is a bit cloudy. At first the more you try to focus on what you need to do, the bigger the cloud gets. The fog feels thick and next thing you know the baby is crying and the toddler spilled milk and you can’t even remember what you were doing in the first place.
That feeling keeps reoccurring until you feel like you are deep into the fog feeling so lost in motherhood. Becoming a mother is an all encompassing experience, and it is hard to know what it will truly be like until that baby is sitting in your arms. and those little eyes are looking back up at you. But it will test you in every way, pushing you to your limits. As we all strive to be the best for our children, it’s crucial to remember that each mother’s experience is unique. While seeking guidance and support from others is important, what works for one mother may not work for another. And that’s okay.
The good news is that it is entirely possible to find yourself again and get rid of that lost feeling in motherhood. Rediscovering yourself and getting out of this fog starts by acknowledging your sense of lost identity as a mom and determining what you truly enjoy doing. You might feel overwhelmed by the idea of finding your passions, but the truth is that you’ve been so busy taking care of everyone else that you’ve forgotten to take care of yourself in the process.
What has helped me and many other moms regain their lost sense of self, and mental clarity, is setting aside dedicated time for self-care and personal development activities such as hobbies, exercise, and socializing with friends.
In this post I want to share with you some of the most fundamental and easy-to-implement steps to begin the process of rediscovering yourself.
Why do moms lose their identity
When you become a mom, you start to make different choices. You might start to say no to going out with a friend or no to hobbies you used to do because you have different responsibilities and even different desires. But each decision starts to add up to a change in who you are, and it could be without even realizing it. For me, all of a sudden I started realizing I felt like I was in a fog wondering, “Who am I?” and “What do I like to do?” This realization started to appear as my kids began to give me short pockets of time as they got old enough to entertain themselves. I didn’t know what to do with this time which made me feel lost and unsure of my identity.
The Benefits of Asking Others: Unlocking New Possibilities
Don’t let assumptions hold you back from potential new experiences. Instead of assuming others’ reactions, take the initiative to ask and involve them in your plans. You might be surprised by their positive response and the opportunities it creates.
Think of one time you assumed someone wouldn’t be interested in what you wanted to do. However, days later you found out they would have been happy to participate, but you lost the chance because you never asked. Sometimes this happens because, as adults, we get into the mind frame that “we know” how others would respond. So we end up losing out on new experiences.
Also, many times we think we should already know something. Therefore, if we ask a question, then friends, even close ones, might look down upon us for not knowing. So at the risk of people thinking we are nosey or uninformed, one may decide to ignore that impulse to be curious. But the real result is that we miss out on some wonderful opportunities to connect with others, try new experiences, and grow.
I recently caught myself stuck in this cycle. My family and I were in Florida for the Christmas Holidays, and I’ve always wanted to go parasailing. But I wasn’t sure anyone else would, though as our anniversary was during the trip, my husband said he would go with me. But I really wanted the kids to have a new experience and make it a family adventure day, but I wasn’t being clear with this desire. And so, indecision and not being straightforward started leading to arguments as I wouldn’t say: “I want to go.”
The kids weren’t sure what it was and if they wanted to go. So feeling like the people pleasers I wanted to give up since they seemed unsure. However, I kept looking at my watch figuring out can we still do this up until the last day at 1 pm when I marched down to the beach full of venom wanting to stop living in limbo: asking ARE WE, ARE WE NOT??? But that approach isn’t always the best, yet it did move my husband to realize how important it was and the kids suddenly got onboard that by 3 o’clock we were in a boat. But I waited until the last minute and did it in an angry manner which could have been avoided all together.
Though I am glad I didn’t give up asking for what I wanted because the result was my youngest, who was scared to go, asking “Can I go back up? That was sooo much fun.” And they were so excited that we did it as a family. And so the struggle to make this happen was all worth it as I know the regret would have been so much worse if I hadn’t stood up for what I wanted. It’s not always an easy process but the results are worth it all. For me, the expectations I had for what it felt like were completely obliterated. I assumed I would have felt the up and down and the pull from the boat, but instead I got to float in the sky with my son and feel the peacefulness and beauty that birds get to always see.
Unleash Your Curiosity: Exploring New Interests and Hobbies
Exploring new interests and hobbies can have a profound impact on your mental and emotional well-being in motherhood. Unleashing your curiosity allows you to tap into your creativity, learn new skills, and discover passions that you never knew existed.
You may be surprised to learn that you are not alone in having lost your sense of curiosity. According to Robert Stokoe, Director of the Jumeirah English-Speaking Schools, “Three-year-olds, on average, ask their parents 100 questions a day, every day! However, by the time they are ten to 11 years of age they’ve pretty much stopped asking. Of even greater concern is that by the age of 25, only two percent can think outside the box. Curiosity seldom survives childhood.”
I felt lost because I let my schedule and sense of busy guide me into the have to dos instead of exploring possibilities through curiosity. Are you going through a similar experience?
As a stay-at-home mom, you are in a unique position to bring back that curiosity. You have sitting right in front of you the most curious creatures around. However, there are too many other things getting in the way of experiencing that curiosity.
Think about your day, what pops up? For me, it used to be getting the dirty dishes taken care of, making sure we were on time to all the enrichment activities that my child needed to do, and making sure I stuck to the nap schedule. My mind was filled with this information that I didn’t leave any room for curiosity and planning to do what I actually enjoyed.
Therefore, if you have had any of these same problems, it is time to get low and take a little bit of intentional time to look through the eyes of your child. Jim Rohn explains, “Have you ever noticed that while adults are stepping on ants, children are studying them? A child’s curiosity is what helps them to reach, learn and grow.” So it’s time to get curious with these kids that are right in front of you. As the goal is to answer this simple little question, “What do I like to do?”
However, at least for me, that became such a difficult question because I thought I didn’t have time to do anything about it and my brain struggled to process an answer until I started looking through my kids eyes and saw how their eyes light up when they were curious about how something worked or what imaginative game they could make up. And that intention allowed my mind to open up to see new possibilities to what I liked doing.
For instance, I’d been fascinated by Taekwondo which is why I had signed my kids up for it. But what was stopping me from doing it with them? I had sat there watching them in class playing on my phone until I started to lead with curiosity. I signed up my youngest and decided to sign myself up too. What I didn’t see coming was the connection between my son and I grew so much we became black belts together. He was the one supporting me in learning my forms as we worked together to achieve this goal. I worked extra hard to catch up to him in time to take the test together, but I couldn’t have done it without his help. He took such pride in being the one to teach me. All because I led with curiosity, what would it be like to try it myself?
Unlocking Your Mind’s Potential
Once you decide to use your curiosity to look for activities you like to do you activate your RAS system in your brain. An article for the NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Institute of California explains, “All of your future goals and dreams are not only a reflection of your subconscious thinking, they are also mediated by your Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is the part of your brain that serves as a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. “ This is the part of your brain that looks for what you focus on.
Have you ever noticed when you get a new car, all of a sudden that car is everywhere on the road? This is the RAS at work, and so, when we intentionally activate it through our curiosity, it will help to find what you are looking for.
For example, look at how the intention of each of these statements makes you think and feel:
- I hope curiosity will help me figure out what I enjoy doing.
- I want curiosity to help me figure out what I enjoy doing.
- I intend to use curiosity to figure out what I enjoy doing.
The third statement will enlist your RAS to help your subconscious activate your curiosity and discover things you like to do. As you put intention into activating your curiosity, the following questions will help to guide that intention.
- What is something I am tired of doing?
- What is one thing I can do for myself today that brings me joy?
- What is one creative release I feel speaks to me?
If you struggle to answer these questions, keep reading, and let your curiosity guide you as you read my answers and start to form your own…
Making Time for Yourself: Breaking the Cycle of Habitual Time-Wasters
From a mom survey on friendship I conducted, I discovered that the number one concern that comes up for moms is that they have no time to do anything for themselves. So I pose the question to you, what am I tired of doing?
Many of the activities that a person does each day are out of habit. For instance, I had found myself daily playing Candy crush, scrolling social media, watching tv shows not because I particularly wanted to watch them but because I didn’t know what else to do and next thing I knew I was down a rabbit hole of time. After spending time doing these activities, I realized I had less energy. I’m not sure there was ever a time I got off social media and went wow I feel like I caught up with everyone and feel energized, more often, I felt wow I didn’t do that, I should be doing that, why wasn’t I invited, or why am I not doing that?
The other thing I noticed about myself was I was tired of always complaining. When I’d get together with other moms, it would become a competition for who got thrown up on more or who didn’t sleep, basically who was struggling the most. And if since I wanted to feel like I belonged, I continued to contribute.
These were some of the things I wanted to either take out of my life or at least lessen the amount of time I spent on them.
It’s important to remember that it’s okay not to be perfect in everything and for everyone. Trying to do so can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. Instead, focus on finding activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, and let go of the pressure to be everything to everyone. Also, it’s important to be mindful of how you’re spending your time and make sure you’re not wasting it on things that don’t align with your values or bring you any satisfaction.
Remember, you deserve to make time for yourself and do things that make you happy. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t know exactly what that is yet, the journey of discovery is part of the fun.
The problem then became what do I do with my time? This leads into the next question.
Find Inspiration in Your Children’s Interests
Stress and busyness keep us from thinking intentionally about what truly brings up joy or even experiencing more joy. So I pose the question: what is one thing I can do for myself today that brings me joy?
This is seriously a tough question for me to honestly answer. The way I started to answer it was by looking through the eyes and curiosity of my kids. I would see their eyes light up with a new project or even a coloring book or their next imaginary play. Granted my eyes don’t always get that excited but it was a clue. I started to look at the things I actually liked doing with them.
I love to try to draw with Bella or make videos with Liam or play board games with Lily. I don’t necessarily like to play legos or build an imaginary town so I don’t always partake in those activities. But as I started to actually take stock of what I enjoy doing versus what I think I need to be doing, it started to make a difference. When you look at the things your kids like to do, what is one that you like to do with them. Or maybe one thing you like doing that you would like to teach them?
I finally admitted I didn’t want to go back to the classroom, but I did want to have something for myself. And so, this led me to starting this blog and working with other moms who are trying to figure it out. I really like connecting and learning together with others. I am one that does better in a community with accountability.
Personalizing Your Self-Care: Experimenting with Habits and Activities
It’s crucial to find one creative release or self-care that speaks to you. So I pose the question: what is one creative release I feel speaks to me?
This is where trial and error comes in and it’s not one size fits all. As I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of self-development I soon found out that there are many different prescriptions out there about stacking your habits in this precise manner so that you will find happiness.
If I spent an hour in the morning before the kids wake up doing x and y, then all will be right with the world. And it’s not that they don’t work but finding the right prescription for you is only something that you can determine through trial and error.
For instance, as many times as I try different aerobic classes, I dread going to them and hate doing them even more. My jam is more yoga based which I know aerobic fans don’t all like either. In this example, the key is moving your body so ask yourself do I enjoy aerobics, yoga, weightlifting, walking, hiking, biking, swimming, dance, martial arts, tennis and then do more of whatever you enjoy. Curiosity might lead you to different ways and classes, but the key is to experiment.
One creative release or self-care activity is enough because overwhelm is real and will stop you from making any progress. So, I caution you to only start with picking the one choice that stands out to you right now as you are reading.
Whether it’s the first one you lay your eyes on or your gut takes a step and says it’s time to do that. This is where the magic happens, this is where your prescription is, listening to what you want to do, not what you think you should do. Therefore, choose one of these activities, implement it five times out of the next seven days for 10 minutes and see how it makes you feel. If you sense it’s helping you rediscover yourself, keep doing it, otherwise try something else. If you get to the point you want more, add on a second choice and see how two fits. Though this should be at least after a week of experimenting. (More details on habit stacking in a future blog, for now, pick one and see how it feels).
Schedule it next to something you are already doing. First thing when you get up or maybe after you get your pjs on at night, you choose.
CHOOSE ONLY 1 TO START
|Meditate||Meditation does get a bad wrap because a lot of people think you can’t have any thoughts and that you have to be in a certain state to meditate. Thoughts will come and go. But I love how Emily Fletcher explains that meditation is about getting good at life not about getting good at meditation. Thus, are you able to be calmer through your day, respond more than react, feel more focused, etc. These are the signs to be looking for when you ask if meditation is actually helping you.|
|Journal||The helpful part about journaling is getting rid of that condescending voice in your head. That voice that keeps looping when you put it on paper with your own hand, it loses the edge. If you feel that voice is getting out of control, give journaling a try.|
|Gratitude||Gratitude is really the most powerful feeling because you can’t feel negative when you express it. However, at the same time it can be hard to go there. Pick a time such as getting to that dreaded red light or seeing a stop sign and use that as a trigger to your brain to think of one thing at that moment you are grateful for. Or schedule it into your day and list specific things you are grateful for such as the smile your child gave you or the stranger opening a door for you.|
|Movement||The word exercise might get a bad rap, but another way to think about it is to find movement in your day to get up and move. Schedule a walk with a friend, a family member, or nature itself. Go to a class or simply give yourself a timer to work and get up to stretch or dance to a song because you’ve earned it. The key is to make a plan on how to put more into your day. (I like using the timer, it’s been a game changer).|
|Affirmations||Anytime I say this word, my husband laughs and thinks back to Saturday Night Live and Stuart Smalley. And yes telling yourself something you can’t actually believe really isn’t going to help. I love how Mel Robbins explains it in The High Five Habit as calling them meaningful mantras such as I deserve to feel good today, I am enough just as I am, I can handle this so bring it on, I am growing every day. It is about finding the words that you can honestly believe and move towards and then repeating them to truly impact your subconscious.|
|Learning/Growing||I’ve heard the best thing you can do is read 30 minutes a day and that will set you up. But really the key is learning something and growing in your thoughts. So intentionally set time to read or listen to an audiobook, take a new course, listen to a podcast, watch a motivational video., or read a blog.|
|Creative Projects||This is great for the busy mama. Did you always like to draw, make a vision board, color in a coloring book, create a lego project? Do it and do it with your kids, stop letting them have all the fun without you. My 6 year old loves the adult drawing books now and doing a page together can be so fun and relaxing.|
|Self Inventory||You might think you don’t have time to add anything else into your schedule or simply are still now sure what you want to do. So here are two choices: take stock of how you spend your day, write it down, and decide from there if you do or don’t need to make any changes. Or take stock of the things that make you smile, laugh, or enjoy and write them down. Take time to pay attention and get curious.|
|Socializing with Friends||Try something new with a friend. We all have our habits of what activities we do with our friends, but if there is a new experience you want, take the step and ask them. (Ideas: axe throwing, smash room, personal growth class/lecture together, whirlly ball, parasailing, simply ask yourself what would make me feel childlike/alive and then try it?)|
The biggest mistake I made was trying to do it all at once. I thought if I do everything then I’ll feel so much better, but that puts a lot of pressure and overwhelm and so many shoulds. So take only the first step and try one this week.
Ultimately, our goal as people as mamas as women is to bring more joy and connection into our lives. The question becomes how do we do that especially as mamas when it becomes more of a habit to let everyone else’s needs come first that we can simply forget or not realize what we need or want anymore. If you feel that desire to do more and feel a sense of purpose then it’s time to get low. Use your curiosity through your child’s eyes and rediscover through these three questions: (1) What is something I am tired of doing? (2) What is one thing I can do for myself today that brings me joy? (3)What is one creative release I feel speaks to me? You will activate your RAS and discover what you like again, and when you do you will start to make those genuine connections without even realizing.
So take accountability right now and declare in the comments what creative release are you committing to for a minimum of 5 days? I want to help cheer you on because it will make a difference in your life. And then, come back and add how it went.