What I Regret About Motherhood
The moment that you find out you are going to have a child, your whole world changes. Certain things that you cared about stop mattering and other, child related, things take their place. Your life becomes a storm of preparation for a brand new family member.
Then, the day comes when you welcome that sweet child into your life. There is joy, fear, excitement, and a plethora of nameless emotions. You go home with the huge responsibility of raising a whole person.
When my husband and I brought my daughter home, everything was different. I was consumed with the need of this baby. I ate, breathed, and slept motherhood. Like other first time mothers, I didn’t care about myself. Sure, I cared for my basic human needs, but I put myself on the backburner. After my son was born, this mindset continued. My day revolved around my babies from the moment I woke up until the moment I closed my eyes.
I was so bored. Of course, I loved my family and the life that we had built but I think I can speak for a lot of women when I say that I felt like a shell of a human by the end of the day. I cooked for, cleaned up after, cared for these two little creatures. They took up every spare second of my day. When they went to sleep, I cleaned the house for the umpteenth time, watched an hour or two of TV, went to bed and woke up to do the same thing again in the morning. I felt too worn out to add anything else to my day. However, I was desperate. I needed to feel like a human again. I felt as though I was letting my husband and my children down. After all, what could I contribute to my marriage or the formation of my children if I didn’t even believe that I was any better than an empty shell? I needed to do something to lift myself up. I needed to feel alive.
Here is what I did:
- I picked up an easy read from my library. I read it in the 30 minutes before bed and I took it to work with me on Saturdays and read it on my break.
- I woke up in the morning and did 5 minutes of stretches to get my blood pumping.
- I got dressed and washed my face in the morning alongside my daughter.
- 3 nights a week, after my daughter went to sleep, I passed my youngest to my husband and went for a 30 minute walk or run.
- I started reaching out to my friends again.
- I remembered how much I enjoyed writing so I began to write again.
If you are struggling with your identity after having children, no step is too small. Make a list of your strengths and find things that you can do to cultivate them. There are no deadlines. Figure out what you want to do, then do it. I am still working on my list. Carving out time for yourself is an uphill battle, but it is so necessary. You are a strong, beautiful person and as a mother you give so much.
It took months of little steps, each step making me feel more human, before I could feel myself coming back to life. I do not regret having my children, I regret that I allowed myself to disappear. I do not regret putting my family first, because I welcome the struggles and joys of motherhood with open arms. I regret not loving myself enough to cultivate my soul. I regret that I could not be a good example of strength and independence to my children. I regret not being a strong, independent woman in my marriage. I will not say that I will not have times of feeling empty. I am at the beginning of my journey. I will say that I will never again allow myself to believe that what I feel defines me. What I am defines me. I am a person with aspirations. I will never allow myself to be content on autopilot. I am an individual and I have something unique to contribute to my marriage, my children and the world around me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SARAH SURETTE
I have been a cosmetologist since 2009 and am currently a stay at home mother of two. I enjoy expanding my horizons and sharing my experiences through writing. My passions include the english language, soap making and exploring new places with my children.
Location: Boston, MA