It’s tough being a mom.
First of all, there’s the loss of sleep. Did you know that new moms lose an average of 700 hours of sleep in that first year alone? Later on, nightmares, sickness and that darn blue light can rob you of the recommended 8 hours. After that, your own hormones will conspire against you to keep you up at night. But don’t worry, you’ll be used to it by then and you can call your mom, because she’s probably up too. If not, call me.
As a mother you have to deal with the loss of your body (because pregnancy has a way of stretching your parts in ways that don’t always bounce back), loss of your dignity (because it’s not really a day until you’ve been spit up on), and the loss of your sanity (because there is no shortage of things to worry about—sun damage, stranger danger, and high fructose corn syrup, just to name a few.)
But one of the toughest things that you as a mom can face is the loss of yourself. “For what will it profit a man (or a woman, my addition) if she gains the whole world, and loses her own soul?” Mark 8:36, NKJV
The confidence and conviction (and size 2 pants) that you enjoyed before you had children is slowly replaced by insecurity, elastic waistbands and a lingering sense that you don’t know who you are anymore. You used to be good at what you did. You used to know what you were doing and where you were going. But now, not so much.
So, what’s going on? Why is it so hard for moms to know their true selves?
I believe there are five reasons for this. In this blog we will cover the first three, and next week we will look at the final two.
Reason #1: Time
It takes focused “you” time to learn about your true self, especially in this new role in life, and yet time is the exact thing moms find in short supply.
The only alone time you get is when you fill your gas tank.
“Me time” is a glimpse of yourself in the rearview mirror.
I get it. Motherhood isn’t exactly known as the season of self-reflection. When your schedule is packed as tight as sardines, with school obligations, kid activities, and work deadlines, it’s extremely difficult to stretch out with a good book and get to know yourself.
Reason #2: Social media comparisons
You scroll through Facebook and see CrossFit mom who posts selfies with her beautiful baby and beautiful abdominals—two things you didn’t think could go together. Then there’s a picture of FreeRange mom who posts about the scramlette she just whipped up with eggs from her very own chickens. Proudmama boasts about her son’s 4.5 GPA and his selection for leadership camp. Playdate mom posts a live video of herself at the park with her twenty closest friends and all of their little ones. A mom on Pinterest shows you how easy it is to make your own curtains, aerate your yard, and grout your shower—all before lunch.
With each additional post, you feel less confident about how you are managing your household.
It’s not just the updates on a few moms, but hundreds or thousands, depending on the size of your friend list and the number of pages you like.
Face it. Your news feed is stacked against you. Every blog, ad, and photo speaks of who you should be and tempts you to judge yourself as inadequate. These synthetic images shame your authentic self. No wonder you’re confused, depressed, and feeling inadequate.
Reason #3: Fake is the new normal
Fake is everywhere. You turn on the TV and get fake storylines. You go to the grocery store and see faux food. You stop at Target and hope to find a knockoff brand that looks just as good as the original designer.
Fake nails, false eyelashes, and beefed-up breasts have become the new norm.
You see fake moms who manufacture phony realities. The mom who never struggles, never yells (that’s a good one), never doubts, and always wears a smile. Her children are perfect. Her marriage is perfect. Oh yeah, she forgot to mention that it takes serious pharmaceutical support to try to pull this off.
The artificial life seduces you with lies about who you should be and what you could be, if you only tried a little harder.
You don’t want to be fake, but the fakeness around you sucks you in and, even though you resist, you sometimes pretend to be something you’re not, because if you don’t, the real you will be judged, pitied, or rejected altogether.
Stay Tuned… Next week we will talk about the final two reasons that it’s hard to know yourself and how you can overcome these obstacles in your path.
Which reason (time, social media, or faux pressure) has made it hardest for you to know who you really are as a mom?