We are big fans of blogger, Jesse Coulter. Always an open book, Jesse will tell it like it is whether she’s talking career, motherhood, family, or style. She is mama to 3, including a set of twins and has never sugarcoated motherhood. She says all the things we are thinking, starting at whatever time her kids wake up. Lately, around 5am. She records her youtube videos in her closet and documents her outfit of the day on the way to work. When Jesse and I talked about her contributing to Love Child, I thought it might center around her experience as a twin mom or balancing work and motherhood. Instead, Jesse came back with thoughts on how so many mothers lose themselves in motherhood. How many of us are guilty of that? We let friendships slide, we put ourselves last, and self-care goes out the window. I for one, am totally guilty. Jesse made a conscious effort to focus on herself outside of being a mom and shared a few tips with us. The holidays are the best but it can also be overwhelming, excessive and stressful for some. This is perfect timing to remind all of us to take some time for YOU this holiday season. Because as Jesse puts it, you deserve it mama!
Kids change everything. Some changes are good and some changes aren’t so great. That might sound terrible, but it’s true. At times it can feel like children suck everything out of you, sometimes literally (ahem breastfeeding mamas). At times it feels like you have nothing left of yourself. I never put much thought into being a mother until after I was married, and when I had my first son I fell head over heels. 3 years later I had twins…yep you read that right. Twins! I was excited and terrified. With all that to say, life became crazy after having my son and daughter (Walt and Whitney). I selfishly worried these little humans would run my life, and I would never feel like me again. Would my passions in life change? Would my goals change? They did in a way. Life evolved beautifully and chaotically at times.
Over the years I’ve noticed many mothers becoming completely consumed by their children. I get it. It’s easy to get caught up in your children’s schedules, what they are eating, how are they advancing, and so on and so on. So many thoughts race through our minds when taking care of our children, but how often do you stop and think about yourself? Does that sound selfish? I don’t think so. To be the best version of ourselves and a well-balanced mother to our children, we need to love ourselves. We need to spend time doing the things that bring us fulfillment.
Early on I made a conscious effort to focus on myself outside of being a mom. There wasn’t necessarily a day when I put my foot down, but a few weeks after my first son was born I realized I was drowning. I have put a few things into practice which have helped over the years.
I SPEND TIME ALONE
I need time to let my mind wander, to focus on myself and my thoughts. Early on I signed up for a gym membership and took aerobics classes. I’ve always enjoyed the mental and physical benefits of exercise, and knew to truly be happy I needed to have some sort of physical activity in my life. Whether it be once a week or five times a week…do what you can, and listen to your body. These days I’m lucky if I can get two works out in a week, but that time away is good for my soul!
I also try to get out of the house at least once a day by myself. Whether it’s to grab dinner or stop by the post office. The feeling of having my arms free is freeing.
I HAVE A PASSION/SIDE HOBBY
After I’ve fed, bathed and put my kids to bed, I get excited for what’s to come. I get to dive into my passion. I get to write, edit photographs, pitch and collaborate with brands. When most are going to bed, I’m staying up way too late not because I have to but because I want to. I have been blogging for six and a half years, and am very thankful for the outlet it provides. What started as something to occupy my creative spirit while getting my MBA has turned into something that fills my spirit. I am driven, focused and constantly pushing myself because of it. Whether your hobby is a business, a craft, a movement, let it give you the extra push every day. Let it help you find purpose outside of being a mom. Being a mom is an amazing role, but our spirits want more. We want to use our gifts and our talents. Find what makes your soul happy and pursue it!
I SPEND TIME WITH MY SPOUSE AND FRIENDS
I try to go on a date night every couple of months with my husband. If I could afford it and had a reliable babysitter I would set a weekly date night. My neighbors go on a date every other Monday and I’m jealous every time I see them drive away. Some of the best dates my husband and I take are day dates. We both take a day off of work and spend time together while our kids are at school. The best part is we don’t have to pay a babysitter! Time to hold hands and be in each other’s presence without our kids is extremely important. We take a kidless vacation every year, and I look forward to it all year.
I GRAB DINNER OR DRINKS WITH FRIEND EVERY MONTH
I’m lucky to call my neighbors some of my closest friends and after our kids are in bed we’ll carpool to the nearest restaurant and grab a drink and some appetizers. We chat about marriage, kids, work, and we always manage to make each other laugh hysterically.
When it comes to scheduling all of my activities I put the very important events in my iPhone calendar and make sure to invite my husband so he knows what I have coming up. Working out is an on the whim daily decision. I try my hardest to work out after dinner and when my kids are almost in bed. I am sensitive to when I leave the house, because I know how hard 5-8pm is in our house with almost 2 year old twins and a 5 year old. I do realize if you are a single mom with no family around getting any time to yourself is extremely difficult. You are a super mom and I praise the work you do. I’m not worthy.
I’m not just a mom. I’m a daughter, a friend, a co-worker, a sister, a neighbor, and a wife. My children mean the world to me, and I would die for them tomorrow. However, life can be even more fulfilling when we nurture our own spirit and body. Life will never be perfectly balanced and that is OK. Sometimes I focus less on my side hobby because my babies need more of me. Sometimes I work out less because I need to spend time with my husband after our kids are asleep. It’s a give and take and every day is different. I hope you can not only enjoy motherhood but also enjoy yourself. You deserve it MAMA!