Authored by Zelmira Crespi and Maria Montt
Remember when you used to play house and you had your old Cabbage Patch baby doll, a bit worn out from so many trips to the park or left outside in the garden during the last rainfall? To you, she was your beautiful baby, who needed a bottle. That bottle was a plastic little thing with some strange white liquid that would never really fall out. But every time you held her, maybe once or twice a day, she would be fed and satisfied thanks to your kind, motherly heart.
Can you remember how great you felt?
How empowered you were to grab your mom’s purse and walk into your den where you had your pretend office? Or how happy you felt to hold that baby, that you took care of, and provided for?
Let’s flash forward to your now, with your actual real baby with real urgent needs like feeding, napping, bathing, and burping. You don’t choose when, it’s a whole different agenda and you get the minute-by-minute review as it’s happening. You have a real purse full of credit cards that need to be paid, baby accessories that need to be cleaned. At most, there’s a chapstick at the bottom of it that you keep on forgetting to put on. There’s no red lipstick like the one you used to sneak from your mom’s cabinet and walk around with and wear it like that lady in the commercial. Life as a mom is a bit more real than what that little girl imagined.
Today these expectations are even harder to quiet down.
Especially with all of the social media platforms where moms with Invisalign smiles and their perfect hair pop up everywhere. The subject of moms that are “fine but could feel a little better, or want a little more,” is hard to catch on a post and five hashtags. We are Maria and Zelmira and we wrote a book for moms about how to reconnect with their own selves, managing their role as a mom to the extent that it doesn’t consume their entire identities and end up with a sense of loss. Without getting into the subject of postpartum depression, we have observed that there are many women who dreamed that their motherhood would go East, and then they found themselves in the West.
The feelings we had as children playing house gave us a beautiful idea and expectations of what it would feel like to be a mom, a caretaker, a grand woman living her life. And we played and played because it gave us pleasure to feel so amazing. But the truth is, motherhood is a very serious and big responsibility that doesn’t stop the second you grow tired or bored. Having a house and kids to take care of with a husband or partner to navigate the whole deal takes a lot of focus and hard work. It’s the best job to have, the most important one of all. but if you find yourself not enjoying every single second of it, trouble focusing on what you want or need, we are here to tell you that it’s ok, you are completely normal, and we want to give you a hand.
We wrote a book based on a question.
“What happens to our identity as women once we become moms?” We did our homework and gathered as much info from the professionals in the psychology world as we could. We also did our own study of 600 women being asked how they live all of the areas in their lives that modern psychology says we need to pay attention to in order to lead a satisfying life. And we came up with some good solid answers and explanations.
The biggest one was that when a woman becomes a mom, there is a huge internal movement that happens inside called matrescence that affects all women on a hormonal, physical, and mental level. Naturally, getting to know your new baby as your own self moves around so much will clearly make you lose touch with yourself for a while. But how long does that while need to last? This is all part of the process, but there is a moment when you can sit down and ask yourself, “Am I where I want to be?”
As a mother, you have a lot of feelings.
Many will be amazingly positive ones and those are the ones that make this journey so unique and special and why you would never change a thing. The other not-so-nice feelings such as exhaustion, boredom, sense of loss, sense of chaos, lack of control, fear, or whatever may come your way are the ones that are tricky.
The usual reaction to having deep feelings on the subject is to not think about them at all. You do it once, then twice, and eventually, years can go by and you never really addressed what was bothering you. It’s like closing the door on a burning building. The fire will still be there and the door will always be very hot.
It’s not easy.
It’s not easy to complain about motherhood on a deep level because it’s considered taboo and most moms even feel shame at times for having hard feelings. The thing is, the more you brush it off, the more you’ll tend to place the “fault” on motherhood. Blame yourself or your kids for all of the things you miss or can’t do anymore. Yet taking a second to see how you really are and tending to all of the areas in your life will probably show you that there is more light than you expected in your mom life, you just have to gain more control of your entire life and balance out your needs.
Most moms are afraid of even giving themselves permission to check in on themselves because they fear what might be behind that door. “Grow up and smell the coffee!” right? But as you drink it after reheating it three times this morning we want to tell you that you are not alone and there is a way to start maneuvering your focus back to you. You are not being selfish nor evasive of your reality. This new process will in fact help you be the best version you can be for yourself and your loved ones. Because in order to have happy kids, with all of their needs met in a healthy way, they first need a happy mom, at peace, with a good head on her shoulders and a strong sense of direction to navigate their life with you.