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Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning to Take Time

As a new mom, it's so easy to get caught up in the fact that your world has forever changed. When you're pregnant, it's all about you... "How are you feeling?" "Are you getting lots of rest?"  "How far along are you?".....the questions and concerns all revolve around you. And it was truly wonderful for me ~ I had never experienced such attention as when I was expecting!

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.

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