I saw a therapist for the first time today. Well, not the first time ever, I did some therapy years ago, but this was my first session with this particular therapist. There are a lot of reasons behind this, most of which I don’t really want to get into on the blog, because I’m really just not the “bare your soul online” type of blogger.
(NOTE: I have absolutely nothing against the “bare your soul” bloggers. I read the hell out of their sites and I fully appreciate what they do. That’s just not me. This blog is totally not anonymous at all, and there are some things I prefer to keep private.)
At some point during this session, she asked me what I do for “me time,” to unwind and recharge. And I was stumped.
So she rephrased it, “Well, what kinds of things do you enjoy, that you’d like to do more of?”
I have no idea.
It reminded me of something that Dave said once, which was basically that while I’m a great mom, I never stop being a mom.
I guess I never really thought about it that way before. Apparently at some point in the last four years, I’ve become so entrenched in Mommy Mode that I seem to have lost… me.
Basically, this is my life:
* Mornings: Get up, get dressed, get Catie dressed, get her off to daycare and myself to work.
* Daytime: work. (And I’m NOT complaining, because I do really love my job.)
* Evenings: get us all fed, do the bedtime ritual and allow Catie to stall about going to sleep for literally hours because I feel guilty for not seeing her all day. Then when she finally falls asleep, sometimes I stay up long enough to watch a TV show or talk to my mom on the phone, and other times I just crash for the night.
* Weekends: Dave and I clean the house, do the grocery shopping, and try to get us prepared for the week ahead. And squeeze in some type of fun outing for Catie if we can find the time.
That’s not to say I never have fun or that I’m depressed, because I do have fun and I don’t really feel depressed at all. (Well, I did after the therapy session, but I’m talking in general.) Four year-olds are freaking hilarious and I absolutely love that I get to hang out with this amazing little person and watch her as she develops. The vast majority of the time, I think being a mom is awesome. Of course, she has her tantrums and her moments of testing boundaries, and I get exasperated and cranky, just like all moms do.
For the most part, though, I consider myself to be relatively happy. I have a great job, a beautiful house, I love my kid, I have another (apparently healthy, knock on wood) baby on the way, I’m married to a really great guy, my whole family is awesome. What’s to complain about?
But there’s something missing here. The fact is, I don’t really ever take time for myself to just do my own thing. Sure, I might tell Dave to keep Catie downstairs for 20 minutes so I can take a shower in silence. Or I might go to the grocery store alone. But that’s it, really.
Just about everyone I know has a hobby, some sort of outlet. Dave goes hiking. My mom loves to sew. My dad plays golf. How come it took a paid professional for me to notice that I basically failed to develop any outside interests of my own? Is this whole “I don’t have any sense of self” issue something that all moms of young children experience? I’m guessing that surely my experience is not unique here.
But the bigger question is looming: how do I fix it when I don’t have a clue what types of things I would like to do, given the opportunity?
How do you find yourself, when you didn’t even know you were lost?
Right with you, sister. I, too, have always been swallowed up in 24×7 motherhood.
I am so happy to hear that you are being proactive. This is something that needs to be really looked at before #2 arrives. Unfortunately, I never did that and I’m paying for it. Esp. now that I am a single mom. I’m looking forward to going back to work for that space. I hope to, one day, find a hobby or something to do. Even if its during lunch on a workday. I’m local now, so if I can help, lemme know.
Take care of you. Everyone, but most importantly YOU, will be glad you did. Please do a post update in a few weeks.
@Lesley @Avalea, Yeah, that’s a big part of the whole therapy thing, my fear of how things are going to go when I have to juggle TWO kids and a job, when I feel like I’m barely hanging in there now with one (relatively easy & independent) kid.
I still think we need to do a mom’s night out sometime soon. Not that I can drink or do anything all that fun right now, but still. Just a chance for us to both get out for a couple of hours sounds REALLY nice!
I don’t have kids and I suffer from this a lot. I mean, I have things I enjoy doing, usually ALONE, but I really miss friendships. (I’ve had a post in my drafts for months, can’t seem to hit publish yet).
Had a falling out over a year ago with my group of friends here and now I have no friends locally.
I really hate that ALL of my friends live in other cities/states. Sure, I interact with many people online, but in person I have no social life whatsoever and it worries my mom. It worry’s me too sometimes.
I know that you’ll find something soon!!! Also, if you need ANYTHING you know I’m always here for you…call, text or skype me anytime! XOXO
AmazingGreis´s last blog post ..Two steps forward One baby step back…
@AmazingGreis, That’s something Dave and I talked about, that I feel like social media (blogging, FB, Twitter) has become my hobby/outlet. But it doesn’t really feel like it counts since it doesn’t get me out of the house or out of Mommy Mode.
My local friends here are my cousin and a couple of neighbors from our old neighborhood. Not exactly a huge group, but it’s enough. It’s weird, though, I used to have friends who I’d talk on the phone with for HOURS at a time, nearly every day, and now? Um… I talk to my mom pretty much every day. That’s about it.
I had to think really hard and remember when the last time I really got “lost” in something…totally lost and happy. For me, it wasn’t so much “hobbies”, as the ability to lose myself in books, or hikes and even running. I don’t work outside the home, so it’s a lot easier for me to work in what I enjoy. But, I had to seriously THINK hard to remind myself or what I used to do.
When my sister-in-law comes almost every Thursday afternoon for a few hours to hang out with my preschooler, I tend to grab coffee and then sit at the the Barnes & Noble and read magazines for 2 hours. Feels silly, but I am so relaxed and happy after. It’s my thing.
In other useless commentary, my husband and I have been working on a home remodel for the last 2 years. We are winding down the big projects and we having a weirdly difficult time remembering what we used to do before we were absorbed in home projects. It’s weird to not know what to do with our time that isn’t the “have-to’s” rather than the “want-to-do’s”.
lesley´s last blog post ..More Words
@lesley, See, other than the coffee part, your 2 hour Thursday downtime sounds AWESOME to me. (I would trade the coffee for a Diet Coke.) The idea of sitting somewhere quiet for a couple of hours with nothing immediately on my agenda sounds freaking fabulous.
@Cindy W, Of course! I should say “sitting somewhere for 2 hours reading or just staring into space while drinking <insert favorite caffeinated or alcoholic vice." Then, we can cover every mom's dream downtime!
lesley´s last blog post ..More Words
I don’t have children but I think your issue is very common. The moms I know have all experienced the “loss of self”. I think it’s much easier for men to have hobbies and to make sure they make time for themselves. Women by nature are people pleasers so we tend to make our needs come last. My husband has several hobbies: guitar, golf, tennis, hiking. And I have…um, none. Well, I like to read. But other than that – nothing. I think guys have to have hobbies and girls have to have girlfriends that they can talk to. If I didn’t have my sisters and friends to have emotional chats with I don’t know what I would do. I’ve decided to take tennis lessons starting next month so that I can have some kind of outside interest that doesn’t involve talking…and eating. 🙂 We’ll see how that goes. Good luck with everything you’re going through! 🙂
Amanda´s last blog post ..Her
@Amanda, The therapist said that it’s very common for mothers of young children to feel this way because of this weird self-imposed SuperMom syndrome. Being all, “no no, I got this!” about everything.
It’s funny, I used to like to read a lot. I think I’ve read maybe 3 or 4 books in the past 4 years since Catie was born. But you’re right, I *do* totally get energized when I get some time alone with friends, especially if food is involved. That would be nice. Hmm…
You are not alone.
I suffered from the same thing. I started dealing with it in therapy and then basically had it forced up on my for real when my marriage fell apart.
Think back to who you were before Catie. Before Dave, even. What did you do? Did you read? Ride a bike? Go to museums, or movies?
Even if you end up doing some things alone, as long as you’re doing them for YOU that’s what matters.
avasmommy´s last blog post ..Backwards Forwards
@avasmommy, See, I think that’s what’s confusing me. What did I do before Dave? Um, I was kind of a wild party girl. I went out dancing with my single girlfriends every weekend. That feels, I don’t know, sort of lame and sad now that I’m 35. Hell, I don’t even WANT to do that now, I feel like I left it behind in my 20s. I’ve grown up since then.
So I feel like I have to find a WHOLE NEW “thing” that fits me at this age/stage of my life. I just don’t have a clue what it is.
Babe, I think you’re just gonna have to go through it by trial and error. Maybe find something you want to learn how to do and take a class? Something that makes you get excited at the prospect. If you think of something and your head goes “meh”, move on.
I started reading more. Catching up on the 11 years of tv that I missed out on. I taught myself some web design, started my own little business.
At some point, I want to take photography classes and learn how to actually use my camera.
avasmommy´s last blog post ..Backwards Forwards
I have this problem too and shit for the last year, I’ve only had my kids half the time.
I have no answers for you. For me? I’m thinking I want to take up reading books again. Actual adult books. Not kid chapter books or toddler picture books. I haven’t managed to do it yet though. I just know that i used to adore reading.
I think maybe, you try something. Take an afternoon a weekend for you. Go see a movie. Get a pedicure. Something. Anything. Find something small and build on it. As moms, we change our entire beings for our kids. I don’t regret it. For me it came naturally. Yet, I do think we sometimes loose ourselves a bit too.
Issa´s last blog post ..Where I steal post ideas again
When you figure out how to have “me” time with little kids, be sure and let me know. I think of time at the office as my “me” time. At least there I only have to keep one nose clean. 🙂