As soon as that warm, snuggly, sweet-smelling little bundle arrives, the attention is instantly diverted - it's simply not about you anymore. This is often a welcome change, since some of us (me) got very tired of the never-ending belly-rubs and concerns....but at the same time, it's easy to get lost in all of the attention on baby. It took me a long time to realize that I needed to make time for myself, too - and not get caught up in all of the new changes that were taking place in my new world. I had to learn to remember who I was - that I was once a true bookworm - and when was the last time I sat down to read? I used to be a sucker for chick flicks - but when was the last time I watched one - for myself? My daily concerns revolved around feeding, changing diapers, consoling, bathing, swaddling, feeding, rocking, cuddling, sleeping, feeding..... and somewhere in there I lost my sense of Self. And soon, I began to wonder who I was, other than Mama, Maid, Chef, Laundry-washer. I became wrapped up in who I was now - and forgot who I was before.
After the birth of my second baby just 17 months later, I realized that my children needed a mama who was sane - and this meant letting go of the feeling that I needed to do everything for everyone except myself. Instead of worrying about cleaning my house while my babies napped, I pulled out my favourite novel and read. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen cooking supper, I broke out the slow cooker (whoever invented that thing must have been a mother). Instead of sitting on the couch watching my babies play, I read my favourite magazines on the floor beside them. And seriously, that did wonders for my sanity. I was a person - with passions other than my family. And there was nothing wrong with that!
Now that I have three busy little people in my home, it's a lot more difficult to find those moments of "me time". But I still do - I make time. My boys know that Mama loves to read - I read after I throw in a load of laundry, or while they're busy playing. I've gone through two slow cookers, because I use them almost every day. I watch my favourite TV shows after my boys are in bed. I always have a book on the go - and I read at least three chapters every night before I go to bed. It's those few minutes of taking time to do something for myself that I have learned to embrace - because no matter what, I'm still the same person as I was before I had my babies.
I think one of the biggest challenges of new motherhood is learning to take those moments for ourselves. And that's a huge learning curve - whether we realize it or not. Don't forget who you were before you had that sweet baby. Make time for yourself - and you will be a much better mother because you did.