The Tricky Balance of Motherhood and Personal Life

by Chelsea Skaggs: Postpartum Coach

Transitioning into motherhood brings about a boatload of emotions, from pure joy to sheer exhaustion. As your life unfolds into this new chapter, maintaining your personal identity may seem like a distant memory. But, let me assure you, it’s not just possible, but essential, for your overall well-being. Today, let’s explore how we can navigate the delicate dance between motherhood and personal life.

The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere anne lindbergh quote

As Anne Morrow Lindbergh (the first woman in the US to earn a glider pilot’s license, go women!) wisely said, “The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.” Your journey to finding balance starts with embracing your unique experiences as a mom, and realizing it’s okay to yearn for personal space amidst the joys of motherhood.

Being sincere means understanding:

  1. The roots of who you are and deep values that probably don’t shift or change much.
  2. The unique ways that motherhood has brought out new or refined parts of who you are.
  3. That it’s more than okay to not have your journey and experience look like someone else’s. (Even if they are Instagram Reel famous, you don’t have to try to be like them.)

Understanding Balance

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, finding a work-life balance significantly influences mental and physical health. Although the study primarily focused on the professional domain, its also holds true for motherhood, which is VERY MUCH a job in and of itself. Balance is not about splitting your time equally, but about harmonizing your roles. Remember, you’re not merely a mom – you’re a multi-faceted woman with varied interests and aspirations.

The reality is, you cannot be everything, all of the time, to everyone. Harmonizing means doing what you can to let these parts of you coexist, and knowing which is a priority when.

The Myth of ‘Me’ Time

The advice often given to new moms is, “Take some ‘me’ time.” But, when you’re knee-deep in diapers, feeding schedules, and sleep deprivation, that advice might seem like a cruel joke. I’ve been there. I understand. So, instead of prescribing ‘me’ time, let’s redefine it. Your ‘me’ time is not just about spa days or reading a book, although if you can do it, go for it. It’s about engaging in something that reconnects you with your individual identity outside of motherhood.

Perhaps it’s spending a few moments in the morning savoring your coffee in your favorite mug, or writing your thoughts in a beautiful journal each evening. It can even be walking on a nature path and taking the time and energy to really notice the trees and living things around you (you can do this while baby sleeps or rides in the stroller, bonus.) These small acts of reclaiming space can be incredibly empowering.

Rediscovering and Redefining Yourself

Motherhood may change you, but it doesn’t erase your personal interests or aspirations. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take an online course in graphic design, or perhaps you’ve been contemplating a career switch. Now could be the perfect time to pursue these goals, even if it’s a slow journey. Staying connected with the energy and zest that comes with aspirations can be really helpful for your mental health and it shows the world (and your baby) these parts of who you are!

Also, don’t discount the power of new interests. Motherhood broadens your horizons, opening new avenues of interest you might have never explored otherwise. Look at these as opportunities for personal growth, not distractions from your new role. It’s also a reminder that it is okay to be a beginner at things. In many ways, as a first-time-mom you are a beginner at a new role. If you allow yourself to be a beginner at a new hobby like improv comedy, rock climbing, or policy advocacy, you are likely to have grace with yourself when you don’t feel like a “perfect” mother.

And as a reminder, it is okay to enjoy things and not make them a “side hustle.” Side hustles are great. This blog was/is a side hustle. BUT, it is easy to believe that you have to monetize every interest and for the love, we need space to just enjoy things and for the enjoyment to be enough for it to be worthy of our time. (End rant.)

finding new hobbies as a new mom

Staying Connected: It’s Not Just About Baby Talk

Staying socially connected is vital for your mental health and sense of self. It’s tempting to isolate ourselves when we feel overwhelmed, but human connection can serve as a lifeline. Schedule a coffee date with friends, join a virtual book club, or even host a moms-only Zoom party. These interactions can offer much-needed emotional support and an opportunity to discuss topics beyond diapers and feeding schedules. It’s also really refreshing to talk to people in a normal voice, and not the high-pitch baby talk.

If you’re having trouble getting out, consider date night subscription boxes. They provide an excellent way to enjoy some couple time while staying in.

Motherhood and Self-Care: It’s More Than Bubble Baths

Self-care for new moms goes beyond bubble baths. Bubble baths are awesome, but don’t downplay the benefits of mindful care for yourself. It’s about taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and quality sleep all play a vital role. Invest in a supportive yoga mat for home workouts.

Honestly, the Amazon Basics Extra Thick Yoga Mat is great for yoga and exercise, AND it doubles great for a place to put the baby down for tummy time really quickly. We’ve worn this mat down with a lot of use.

Seek Help: There’s Strength in Vulnerability

Let me tell you, mama, there’s no award for doing it all yourself. Don’t shy away from seeking help. Reach out to your support network. Utilize babysitting services. Go to the gym that offers an hour of childcare. Say YES when grandparents or friends offer to take the baby for a couple of hours or come help you around the house. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but an act of self-care.

PS: If you are someone who feels any guilt about babysitting (I used to), please consider this. Your child gets the opportunity to diversify who they learn from, connect with, etc. when you give them a great babysitter to be part of their life!

Embrace the Chaos

In the end, the art of balancing motherhood and personal life lies in embracing the chaos. This new chapter might be messy, unpredictable, and exhausting, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and transformative. I like to tell my coaching clients to have an idea of how their life would best feel balanced, and create a huge margin for change and error that they can agree to still be happy with.

You are not just a mom; you are a woman with dreams, ambitions, and a life beyond motherhood. Your journey to balance might seem daunting, but remember, you are not alone in this dance. If you need further support in navigating this journey, I offer postpartum coaching tailored to your needs. Schedule a chat with me here, and let’s find your balance together.

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