A couple of nights ago, I had the greatest pleasure as to spend an evening with four other moms for a moms-night-out. We drank cocktails (mine was virgin of course), ate tacos, and just chatted about the joys and inevitable pitfalls of this beautiful thing called motherhood.
After planning for this blessed event for a little over 2 weeks, I didn’t realize until about 5 minutes in how badly I needed this night. No baby to look after, no husband to entertain, but most of all, no trench to crawl into to avoid the rest of the world around me. Every night after I put Shiloh to sleep, it’s like my brain literally switches off and I spend the rest of my night drowning in the latest Netflix series or playing solitaire for 2 hours straight on my phone. Anything to shut my brain off and avoid my own thoughts.
Did I get enough done today? Am I moving towards my dreams and ambitions? What are my dreams and ambitions? Am I a horrible person if I don’t have any? I should really shower. I should read more. I should write more.
Within 20 minutes of walking through the door, and after about two sips into my margarita mocktail, it was the first time in a long time I felt like me. I wasn’t the lady with a kid, or the sick pregnant chick who has no life. I was me.
Throughout the night we discussed topics such as dressing like a mom, husbands, and what brand of deodorant we use (or don't use). But the thing that stuck out to me the most was how common all of our thoughts were. I would say something and the rest of the group roared in agreement. Not only was it easy being honest with them, it was a lot easier being honest with myself. I guess when you know someone else is going through it too, it takes the weight off the issue so it becomes a little more normal and a lot more comical.
For example, I realized that I’m not the only woman in the world to worry about if I actually Iook like a mom or not. I shared how everywhere I go, if I’m with my daughter, do people think, “Oh wow, she totally looks like a mom”? Or do they think, “She’s a mom?! I would have never guessed!” Obviously we would all prefer the latter. Shopping for myself is a nightmare because all I ask myself is “Does this make me look like a mom?” If it does, no thank you. If it doesn’t, is it still appropriate as a mom?
Just hearing that the other girls felt this way too gave me major relief. Firstly because this was a room full of some of the most stylish women I know. Secondly, I finally found some confirmation that I’m not a selfish paranoid… it must really just be another “mom” thing.
After bouncing topics like these around, the overall consensus of the night was this— becoming a mother is the greatest thing in the entire world, but it genuinely messes with your identity.
Our identities can so easily become about our children. Guilt runs over you when you leave them to do something for yourself. You would rather spend money on their wardrobe because who's looking at me anyways? You sacrifice your own sleep, food, cleanliness, because they are the ones who are most important. But what happens when your identity grows up and leaves the house?
Who are you then?
It’s so difficult to think about or even care about what you’ll be doing in 18 years. But if and when you do take the time to think about it, I’m sure we can all agree on this— in 18 years when our baby leaves the house, we’ll want to have hobbies, we’ll want to still love our husbands, and we’ll want to still love ourselves.
If I don’t learn to love myself today, I don’t know if it will be easier to love myself in 18 years.
During this mama’s-night-out, we watched an interview by Willow Smith asking her mother, Jada, “How hard is it being a wife and a mother?” Jada’s answer was exactly the reminder that I needed.
The re-messaging we as mothers need to have and gravitate to is that you have to take care of yourself in order to have the alignment and the power to take care of others at the capacity that we do.
If you have 6 minutes and 21 seconds to spare, watch her entire interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQK9Ufr4yrY
Now, a lot of this advice isn’t some new discovery of mine. I’m not sharing with you the most insanely profound wisdom that you’ve never heard before. Unless you live under a rock, you most definitely have heard this before.
There are two things I want to share with you…
Walking away from that night, I felt like one of the luckiest moms alive. I had four other women that I could share my heart with. Four other women who felt comfortable enough to share their struggles with me. Four other women who I trust will hold me accountable if I’m not taking care of myself first.
If you follow any mom blogs or mom Instagram pages, I’m sure you’re flooded with this kind of self-love talk all the time. But there is something magical when you physically surround yourself with women who speak these truths into your life. You actually start to change.
Back in the day, it literally took a village to raise a family. Nowadays, we think it just has to be us. We have to sacrifice everything and do it all ourselves. Well, when we crawl into our little bubbles and do it all on our own, we lose ourselves.
So if you don’t already have a community of moms that you belong to, I want to encourage you to find one. Even if it’s just one mom. Call her. Tell her your heart. Listen to hers. Ask each other what your dreams and ambitions are. What do you see yourself doing in 18 years? And then hold each other accountable. There is something extraordinary about being vulnerable with one another.
Find one moment of every day to be selfish.
Since that night, I’ve continued to find little selfish moments each and every day. Letting Shiloh watch a little Sesame Street so I can sit and just enjoy my morning coffee. Finally booking an overdo wax. Exercise. Writing this blog instead of doing laundry along with the long list of house work.
Not only are you practicing self-love, you're showing your babies that mom has needs too and sometimes it’s not all about them.
Just because I had a baby doesn’t mean I have to dress like a mom. Just because I had a baby doesn't mean I have to give up my dreams and ambitions. Just because I had a baby doesn’t mean I can never be selfish again. Just because I had a baby doesn’t mean I don’t exist anymore. So let's take care of ourselves, k?