BREAKING UP WITH WHO YOU USED TO BE: ON BECOMING A MOM

I recently heard another mom make an interesting observation.

“Becoming a mom feels like breaking up with yourself.” she said.

I have found myself reflecting on that lately, and in some ways I agree. Motherhood has changed me and sometimes it did feel like I was breaking up with the life I once had.

We’ve all heard the popular break-up lines and as it turns out, they apply to motherhood as well. See if you can relate.

“There’s someone else.”
I remember the moment I first saw my baby girl – her sweet little face, those tiny fingers and toes – well, it was love at first sight. And like every new love, I thought everything she did was extraordinary and amazing. Every conversation became about her. Every decision revolved around her. I gave her all of my attention. I put her happiness ahead of my own. Yep. No doubt about it. I’d found my new love.

Breaking up blog

“We want different things.”
In time, I began to notice subtle changes in myself. For example:

  • The TV shows I watched: Hey, it was kind of fun to see what actor, musician, athlete or politician might stop by Sesame Street to sing with the Muppets.
  • The books I read: Those Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed cracked me up.
  • The friends I hung out with: Well, you’ve gotta have mom friends!
  • The places I shopped: Loved those adorable little outfits with the matching hair bows and sparkly shoes at Gymboree.
  • Type of entertainment: Two words … Walt Disney.

It was classic break-up criteria. My interests had changed. We were growing apart. And we didn’t want the same things anymore.

Disney Collage

“I’m just not that into you.”
I’ll admit, before motherhood I was pretty much the center of my own universe. And for a while I enjoyed that. But honestly? Focusing only on me had become rather boring. Then baby #1 came along and life was anything but boring.

There’s something about seeing the world through a child’s eyes. Noticing the simple things. Taking time to stop and smell the roses. Motherhood made life more fun. I sang more. I played more. I laughed more.

Finally, I knew the time had come to say goodbye. “So long old self. I’ll always care about you. I’ll always remember the good times. But the time has come for me to move on.”

Breaking up collage

“I know this hurts, but it’s for the best.”
Break-ups can be scary. Messy. Painful. And so can becoming a mom. (And I’m not even referring to the labor and delivery part!) Transitioning into motherhood can be painful. It hurts to let go of the old. It’s tough to adjust to the new.

Unfortunately, all of that scary, messy, painful stuff continues as the child grows. Motherhood is not for wimps. It hurt when my baby was sick with the flu and I couldn’t help her feel better. It hurt when I looked into my crying toddler’s innocent eyes after she got her first shot. It hurt when she lost her first pet. It hurt when she didn’t make the team. I know its part of life, but nothing hurts worse than watching your child suffer.

Motherhood. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking, complicated and amazing journey. But if you’re a mom, you already knew that. So I’ll wrap this up with one final thought.

After the birth of my first child, I remember experiencing one other emotion that sometimes happens after a break up. As I watched a plus sign appear on that little white stick, I wondered, how in the world will I ever love another?

A few months later I looked into my second baby girl’s eyes – and fell in love all over again. And then it happened all over again when we had our third.

 

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