I stood while nursing my son at the island in my kitchen, praying for the sun to come up soon in my narrow, dark valley so that I could feel less like a zombie. I was so tired that my ears were ringing almost constantly.
For the next three hours until my husband woke up, I intermittently worked at my computer, cleaned the house, changed diapers, nursed the baby, prepared my husband’s breakfast, and cried to myself about how tired I was. That night I’d been up at least eight times… as I had been for 200 days straight. The day before I took care of the infant by myself as I always did; even taking him into the shower with me because there was nobody around to hold him for five single minutes. So it had been for 200 days.
I prepared every meal in the house, which often involved standing in front of a frying pan or grill with an infant in my arms; cooking for up to eight people at a time; none of whom held or soothed my baby while I so much as took a pee.
To say that I lost myself in new motherhood is a ridiculous understatement.
I Fell In Love…
One day I looked at my child and realized that he was completely lovable. And completely loved.
It struck me after listening to a Deepak Chopra meditation that we are all just like these sweet babes:
Completely Lovable. Completely Loved.
But the key to feeling this love is to KNOW that we are completely loved and completely lovable.
When we know this beyond any doubt or self-criticism, we aren’t only filled with confidence…
… But we radiate that love from our very pores.
There is nothing more attractive than a woman who loves herself.
And there’s no better way to retain your identity in motherhood than to have self-love.
I Engaged a Healthy Amount of Hedonism…
From previous indoctrination in a religion, I learned to reject anything pleasurable for the sake of pleasure in search of some unattainable altruistic state of being.
Everything that gave me pleasure I held up to the standard of starving profits, martyrs, and barefoot preachers in war-torn third world countries.
Every time something gave me pleasure, I gave myself guilt.
Then one day during the nadir of my misery and despair, I began getting massages.
I loved to be touched by another human being, and there’s no denying the pure, unadultured pleasure of sitting face-down on a table with the smell of essential oils and sounds of a nice sitar to serenade you for an hour or two.
I found that not only was my time in massage good for me, but it gave me the power and presence to spend more quality time with my son thereafter.
Without exception, every time I nourished myself for at least two hours a day, I came back to my son with more joy and presence than if I’d slaved away at his side for 24 hours straight, day after day.
Are you getting self-care and nourishment as a part of your routine?
Get Motivated, or NOT…
I’ve always been a self starter and naturally very motivated.
In fact, I took pride in DOING many things.
When I began to study the power of feminine manifestation, I learned that DOING things is masculine, and surrendering to the flow of life is feminine.
More importantly, I learned that surrendering in my feminine state to the flow of life was more PRODUCTIVE than constantly working or doing things.
When I took a step back to listen to God (Source, Universe, what have you), I consistently had more clarity and productivity in the tasks at-hand.
When I felt exhausted, unmotivated, or depleted, I stopped. (Rather than keep pushing.) . This radically altered my life as doing more got easier and took less time.
Pretty helpful when you have a baby!
I Set Intentions For Every Day
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” is one of my favorite lines from Alice and Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
One of the reasons I lost myself in motherhood is that my day went from nourishing my social, professional, and intellectual lives to nap times, diaper changes, and sleepless nights.
I didn’t have purpose, meaning, or deeper connection to life; suddenly my daily chores felt like they were adding up to nothing…
That’s when I began to set three to five intentions for every day.
Rather than sitting in a desk checking emails all day, I would put the list next to my bed for when I woke up.
Three to five intentions for my day were very manageable and they gave me a sense of accomplishment.
What’s more, by not putting things off, I began to be more productive than I’d been in years.
I’ve now been doing this practice of setting three to five intentions every day now for years.
Over that time, I’ve birthed three incredible companies and countless consulting engagements where I make money doing what I love.
Motherhood is categorically the world’s easiest way to lose oneself.
Join our conversation on Facebook to see how other mothers are retaining their identities and rockin’ conscious businesses.
And remember, you don’t have to lose your SELF to be a great mom.