Tips for Balancing Motherhood and Self

Balancing Motherhood and Self

Now that Mother's Day has passed, with it's sleeping in, time alone, relaxing, eating a meal prepared by someone else, and maybe even a lack of complaining and whining (or at least an effort to!), real life has settled back in. And at least for me, real life is a constant struggle to hang onto the bits of me that are not mama, and keep the motherhood role from completely engulfing me. 

Don't get me wrong - I love being a mom. But the things is, I loved being me before I was a mom. I love being a wife, and a writer, and a friend, and word game addict, and a Pioneer Woman kind of cook wanna be. And sometimes it feels like this motherhood thing is so big, there's no room for all the other parts of me. 

So I turned to my group of blogging friends, and asked them for their best tips for balancing motherhood and self. I am so glad I did - I know have all kinds of ideas to try and the motivation and encouragement to find that balance and still be me!

Tips for Balancing Motherhood and Self 

Yours truly at Structure in an Unstructured Life

For me, balance is not an everyday thing. It comes in waves, or sometimes fits and spurts. There are times when I need to be a mom, and not much else; times when my kids are struggling, or when I am struggling as a mom. There are other times that I need to devote to being a wife, or being me.

Right now, I am mostly a mom. We are in the thick of baseball season and at the field pretty much three days a week. The end of the school year brings field trips, and concerts, and class parties. My older son and I are training for a 5K together, in part because we needed something to do together to build our relationship. My younger son is in a "mommy phase", and I'm struggling with him growing up so fast, so I let him cling. This winter, however, my husband had just gotten a new job and I was working on a committee to get our school bond passed. That was a time for me to be a coach's wife and to be me, working on a project I was passionate about. So my kids got dragged to meetings, or to hand out flyers, or I missed something here or there.  Just like now I turn down drinks with the girls, or forgo making the meals I want to in favor of portable dinners.

[Tweet "Balance is an ebb and flow; the trick is to keep moving and never get stuck in one spot!"]

 

Melissa at Home on Deranged

When I first became a mom, I was still working full-time outside the home. It was easy to balance motherhood and work: I had to go somewhere for at least 8 hours every day. Unfortunately, it tore my heart out, as it does for many first-time moms. When we opted to sell our business and move forward into the great unknown, I was pregnant with our second. And suddenly, my entire identity was being "mom" and "wife." The person formerly known as Melissa sort of disappeared. But it turns out, that wasn't my kids' fault or my husband's fault. It took nearly another year for me to realize, I still had a lot to say. About a lot of things.

My best tip for balancing motherhood and self: find the one thing you love to do, and just do it. Yes, some days it's hard for me to carve out time to sit and write. Some days it means I stay up a little too late, or get up a little earlier. Some days, I skip taking a shower and just shove my hair under a hat. But the reality is that if you don't find a teeny, tiny, microcosm of space for YOU, it gets harder and harder to find it again later. You need an identity outside of motherhood, even if motherhood is what drives your writing. The mere expression of yourself is what gives you the balance, and keeps you happier and healthier and being the best mom that you can be.

  

Dean at Mrs. AOK

If you are like me, balancing motherhood and me time comes with a grain of guilt, I want to do every. single. thing. for my babies.  However, I'm finally coming to the realization that for me to be the best Mommy for them, I have to take care of me.  The best way to give them{the kiddos}the best me, is to be a healthy me.  
 
I take time to eat healthy, workout, and relax. I know working out doesn't seem like relaxation but it totally is a de-stresser, I always feel so much better after I workout or jog; a clear head is better for me and my babies.

​Bathroom time may be your only alone time, I've been there.  If this is the case make it a time to decompress.  I like to make my own sugar scrubs, it's cheaper, easy, and you have all the ingredients in your pantry.  The sugar scrub makes me feel like I'm doing something a little extra special for me.  A nice hot bubble bath with candles and a book, yet another way to breathe easy. Even if it's for five minutes it's YOU time and YOU time is so important, for balancing you and motherhood. 
Don't feel guilty, you have to do things for you, to be better for them :)

 

 

 

Tamara at Tamara Like Camera

Balancing motherhood and self. It sounds like a sports term but the biggest key for me is to pace myself. I am always (every day) trying to do everything at all times. One of my new challenges is to learn how to say "no" more often. I want to be a mostly "yes" person, which I think is more realistic than being an all "yes" person. My son is nearly two and very clingy lately and if I've been taking more and more time to myself while my daughter is in school. Sometimes I work. And sometimes I do fun things for myself. Often, working IS fun, which is nice. My husband and I have been communicating better lately about time and stress, and he's been so helpful in coming home earlier and helping with the dreaded end of day rush.

 

Shelly at DIY Mama

If you have to, schedule 'me' time on the calendar, make sure everyone knows about it and stick to it. I have a 'Girl's Night In' once/month with my neighborhood moms, that I started a few months ago, to make sure we did fun things that we liked doing and where we could express ourselves as women. I also have 'me time' every Friday when I do my nails (guaranteed hour of no touching!) Since I'm a SAHM, it's easier for me to have time to do crafting, cooking, gardening, photography and allll the other hobbies I enjoy. If you're a working mom you HAVE to schedule time for yourself at night or on the weekends and have someone watch your kids. Your kids will look up to  you so much more if you're a woman who has hobbies and interests rather than mom who doesn't have anything new to teach her kids. 

 

Anneliese at Superfresh Babypants

As a stay at home mama with a husband who travels often, I find it nearly impossible to maintain any sense of myself apart from my son.  I am the primary care taker 24/7 and sometimes go a whole week without a break or any help.  The one tool I hang onto in moments like these that let me know I am more than a mom is clothing.  Some days, I choose to retire my mom uniform of yoga pants, sneakers and ponytails and locate the items in my closet that were wardrobe staples long before I became a mom.  The clothes with dry clean only tags.  The clothes with details and embellishments.  I don the blouses with ruffles, the leather sandals, the seersucker pants and all the other goodies that were once every day staples of my wardrobe.  This little act of kindness toward myself reminds me that I am more than a mom. [Tweet " I am a person. One with good taste :) "]

 

Meg at The Patchwork Paisley

If there's one thing I was afraid of when venturing in to the world of Motherhood, it was losing myself. I didn't know who I would be as a Mom and found myself acknowledging something I had never realized until the reality was looming over my head: In the eyes of kids, "MOM" is an identity. It is the beginning and end. Just like at school every day, to my middle schoolers I am "TEACHER." For them, this particular version of me is who I am. The look on Violet's face when she recently came to work with me and watched as I addressed my seventh grade art class was the same look I see on the face of a student when I run in to them at the mall: wonderment and awe. The amazement comes from their dawning realization that I exist outside of their world. I have my own world too. This world exists for 45 minutes with my morning coffee as I go from mom to teacher with every passing mile of my morning commute, and then again from teacher back to mom on the slightly longer, usually accompanied by loud music, commute home. Occasionally a date night or girls night will do wonders, but a window of time, once or twice a day to be alone with my thoughts or the Salt N' Pepa Station on Pandora, is good for the soul.

 

Lanaya at Raising Reagan

Mothers .. what can I say? The one career in life that should come with a salary! From the constant juggling of self and family, it’s no wonder we all end up a little crazy {in a good way of course!} For me having the support of a good man who knows when I need the time for me to just be me is essential to me not committing myself on a monthly basis. Balancing work, family and knowing what I need as a sense of identity is a tedious task, but with the right support, it can all work out!

It may be mother’s day, but it is definitely a good father that helps keep me sane.

 

NJ at A Cookie Before Dinner

Six days a week, I wake up for my kids instead of to them. I am constantly stealing the hours of the day that no one else in my family wants. Sundaythrough Friday, I am up somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 am (on Saturday mornings I sleep in). I know it seems crazy to be up at the crack of dawn, but I have learned that one thing I really need is hot coffee and a quiet house. The only way I can guarantee that I'll get it is be up with the birds. I typically have about two hours to myself before the kids awake up. I use this time to organize my day and go over my to do list, pray and spend quiet time with God, and write. It has changed my motherhood drastically. By the time my kids are up, I am awake, ready for them, and eager to start our day together.

 

Jodi at The Noise of Boys

Before I was a mother, I had a lot of pre-conceived ideas on how I would raise my children.  Sadly, most of this was based on what I witnessed with my family and friends who had children before I did and how I would be different.  I admittedly judged.  Whether you are a SAHM, WAHM, breastfeeding, formula feeding, cloth/disposable diapering mom or whatever, embrace the differences your mom community! It is amazing how truly valuable our diversity can be! Most importantly, listen to the everyday, little lessons your own children will teach you, it will keep you inspired every day! 

 

Tiffany at Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter

My life has always been a juggle of balancing different things from school, work, being a teen mom to simply trying to stay ahead of everyday life. Yet when I made the choice to become a Stay At Home Mom loosing myself in the balance of it all was something I had to work extra hard to avoid.

Balance-Of-It-All

I know, most people think SAHMoms actually Stay At Home...we wish! I think I have to juggle and keep more schedules now than I did when I was working as a full time paralegal. Household chores, school activities, dance, band, girl scouts, art, library time...the lists of things seems never ending. Take into mind that I have these lists for 4 different Kiddies who usually manage to overlap something at least once a month. This can not only get a bit overwhelming at times but stressful as well. So how do I cope? How to I find the ME in the midst of everyone else's schedules? I add myself to the schedule.

Yup. When I am sitting down marking the Calendar full of The Teenager's band commitments, Girl Scout meetings, Dance practices, etc. I make sure I add a Momma Day in there. I don't just make a mental note. I pick a day and set a time and write my name in there too. [Tweet "The same way the Kiddies need their activities and play Momma needs her time away."]

Make Time For Yourself NO MATTER WHAT

Don't compromise on your time

♥ yes I know schedules change and may need adjustment but always bed rue you still get your day

Take the time to do something for YOU

♥ don't go pick up the dry cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. Make it about YOU!

♥ Manicure, Hair Salon, Window Shopping, Coffee Shop, etc.

Don't check on the kids

♥ leave the Kiddies with a responsible trustworthy person (father, grandparents, older sibling, etc.)

♥ resist the urge to 'just check' on them.

I have learned that by making sure I have that Momma Time I am a happier, calmer and more effective Momma in the balance of it all.

 

Rea at REAlity Bites

When my son was born, I somehow got lost in the world of motherhood to the point of not knowing how to start working again and getting paranoid when leaving the baby at home. As a working mom, there's the pressure of doing good in both roles. And knowing myself, I always strive to achieve my full potential. 

In my case, loving what I do and being in the right support system is the key to balancing motherhood and self. Writing is what I love doing so I do that to find myself when I get lost, to express what I feel, and to be happy at the end of the day. I always make time to do it to maintain my sanity. It's also one of my ways to spend some time alone. 

My close friends and family especially my husband are the best people in my support group. Whenever I forget that I'm also a human being and a woman who deserves a rest, my husband always encourages me to take a break and spend a day or night with my friends. He always tells me I deserve it and I instantly feel relieved! Without a great support system or a group of people who understand my needs, I don't think I'm gonna make it. And let's admit it, we can never do it alone. So make time for what you love doing and surround yourself with happy and positive people! :) 

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