Thursday, June 18, 2015

What is your identity?

I recently took a week long hiatus from this blog to relax, enjoy family time, and really just focus on myself.

This break was much needed. As a stay at home mom, most people think that my life is a break. I don't go to a typical 9 to 5 job Monday thru Friday. I get to relax and hang out with my adorable 11 month old every day!
stay at home mom is the best job ever!

It is true. I am sooo lucky to be able to hang out with my sweet son everyday, not a lot of parents get this opportunity. I am extremely grateful. But let's get one thing straight. Just because I don't spend my day in the office, does not mean that I don't need a break from it all every once in a while.

This week long break really allowed me to sit back and take a look at my life. It has changed so much in the past 2 years. I went from being a single twenty something year old who's priorities were focused on myself and my needs & wants to being married and putting my husband above it all to being a mother and putting my son & husband first.

family pic

Because of all the changes, so much of what I used to be has disappeared. My single life is just a memory and, honestly, it almost doesn't feel like it was ever really my life. It seems like forever ago. In fact, if someone were to ask me what my hobbies or interests are today, I don't even know what my answer would be.. I suppose it would be something like going to the park with David or playing hide-and-go-seek with David or making Pinterest inspired recipes for Scott and David...

David at the splash pad
(David @ the splash pad)

Now don't get me wrong. I love my life, but I miss having interests that were uniquely mine. I miss having stories to share with Scott that were more than just "guess what David did today."

It didn't happen overnight.

It took a while for my identity to drift away. I was pregnant for 9 months. I didn't really start showing until I was about 6 months along. I started a new job at 7 months and that's when I know longer had a name. I was the pregnant girl. People didn't know how to talk to me. Any conversation started was about my son and how I was feeling.

It sounds pretty selfish to complain about that. Everyone seemed genuinely concerned with my well being as a pregnant woman and that was sweet, but I let that encompass my identity. I let myself shift from being Alexis, the girl with all these interests and talents to Alexis, the girl who will be having a baby in a few months.

I embraced that definition of me. I let a lot of my hobbies disappear. I used my pregnancy as an excuse.

When you're pregnant, there's a lot of things that you can't do. Especially in the Summer. And in the Winter. And in the Fall. And in the Spring.

Some of the things I missed the most were: water parks, energy drinks, roller coasters, hot tubs, tanning, working out (you can still work out, it's just harder, I would get out of breath easily), traveling during the third trimester.. Everything is mainly just a safety precaution.

After you have a baby, there's a lot of things that you can't do either. Partly due to recovery, and partly due to the newborn and partly just because traveling with a baby makes easy things extremely inconvenient.

There is a lot to adjust to.

Not to mention all the body image issues that come along from gaining 30+ pounds during pregnancy. And they don't just melt off right after the baby!

My son weighed 9 pounds 3 ounces at birth and somehow I only lost like 7 pounds initially.

It takes work to get that pre-baby body back and it is never really back to normal.

My son is almost a year and even though I've (finally) lost the baby weight, I still have that dark vertical line going down my belly button from the pregnancy and my bra size is different, which means all my clothes fit differently too.

What's my point?

This week of reflection allowed me to remember that I am more than David's mother and Scott's wife. I am those things, but I am also Alexis. I have my own hobbies. I have my own likes and my own dislikes. There are books I like to read and music I like to listen to.

There are parts of me that have nothing to do with being a mother or a wife and that is okay. 

I do believe in sacrificing and putting my family first, but it is alright to put yourself first every once in a while too. It is actually necessary, in my opinion, in order to keep your sanity.

I think a lot of mother's fall into the trap of allowing your family's hobbies to become your own. It is relatively easy to do, especially since their happiness is what matters most to you. But what I've learned is that it is okay to take a step back.

It is fine to take an hour for yourself and go to the gym.

For months after David was born, I wouldn't let myself go to the gym. I was still working full time and didn't feel like I got enough time with him, so the last thing I wanted was to spend an extra hour away at the gym. I still hate being away from him, but having some "me" time has improved my self- confidence, my self-esteem, my mood, and even my energy levels. It has allowed me to feel like myself again and honestly, I think I am a better mom and definitely a better wife when I let myself be me.

For me, sometimes the gym is what refreshes me or sometimes it's just relaxing in front of the tv with some candy ;)
friends marathon with buncha crunch

For others it may be reading, cooking, or anything that makes you happy outside of the home. Just don't be afraid to put yourself first.

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