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More Than A Mom

As you guys would know by now (but if you don't), 4M represents Master, Mrs, Mom and Millennial - all of which are the hats I wear on a daily basis - in addition to daughter, sister, boss, blogger, etc. Each role is a full-time job - no days off, no sick leave or vacation days - I'm on duty 24/7. My life has been a constant balancing act to keep consistently fulfilling all roles but of course, there are times when one or more of these roles must take a temporary backseat and more than often it's because I'm a mom.

Now, this doesn't mean that being a mom is a bad thing and it definitely doesn't mean that it's your child's fault or that you're blaming them for anything. There's something about being a mom - that maternal instinct - that just makes you just drop everything to take care or be there for your child and if you don't, mom guilt takes over and you're beating yourself up for not doing/being better. A couple posts before I spoke about Mom Guilt (if you haven't check it out yet, you should btw), but trust me, nothing compares to the guilt and shame you experience with everything else combined. That guilt you feel when your social life, work life and relationship suffer altogether and then you look in the mirror and you barely recognize yourself. Being a mom can consume you completely and sometimes you don't realize it until it's too late. As with everything you must learn to strike the perfect balance, otherwise you can lose your own essence while laboring in love and taking care of everything and everyone else.

Photo: See those dark spots under my eyes? I took this photo while completely exhausted one morning after a rough night with baby girl

So how do I maintain some sense of individuality or sense of self as a mom?

To be quite honest, my relationship with myself has been a struggle for most of my life. I never really took the time to figure myself out - it was always what parents or significant other at the time want me to be or do. As a result, I was docile, non-confrontational and would rarely speak up for myself. However, the older I got, the more I began to listen to myself and understand what I need in each moment. In my self-realization journey, I had to make peace with who I was before I became a wife and a mother. Sadly, it took pushing out a whole child to realize that I should be someone my child would be proud of or someone she should feel good about looking up to - because she IS going to look up to me (from the day she was born until she becomes her own woman). As a result, I ensure that I consistently connect with myself every single day by saying my affirmations. Each day, I take a few seconds to say it and remind myself that I am a boss in every way. Some days that's all I need, other days I require a couple of hours to implement some needed self care time at the spa, the hairdressing salon or even just a few moments to myself to just... exist (you know what I'm talking about right?).

Would you believe that developing this blog has helped me a lot to maintain my sense of self? This blog and website (which I designed by myself thank you very much *pats self on back*) was just an idea for a long while however, while I was on maternity leave, my brain craved stimulation. I started to experience mom brain (forgetting everything) and although binge-watching shows on Netflix helped to an extent, it really didn't cut it. Also, since I birthed baby girl in the middle of a pandemic, my social life took a huge hit, my work life was basically non-existent (my colleagues didn't want to bother me with work stuff) and my entire life became baby - baby talk, baby books and nursery rhymes (hey there Cocomelon!). This blog actually pushed me out of my comfort zone by learning how to design a website and logo (both things I'm not proficient in), it pushed me to dress up more often and take photos of myself (not just of my baby) and it pushed me to practice my writing, more specifically storytelling, which I haven't done since maybe Standard 5.

How has my social life been since baby girl was born?

To be fair, I think everyone's social life has taken a huge hit since COVID came about. However, I will admit having a baby during a pandemic has been very difficult on me socially. Since I became a mom, I can say I've barely seen my closest friends (in person). I've had to hold them at arms' length (more like 6 feet apart) since I now have a very vulnerable little human being that I'm responsible for and as a result of this, I will confess that I've felt a bit disconnected from them. Thankfully, they understand and respect my wishes, and we'll talk via phone whether video or via regular audio call however many times we need. I will say this though... I miss my friends. I miss our games nights (even though we've had virtual ones), I miss our movie dates and dinners, and post-work drinks. Hopefully, this pandemic can give us an ease and we can go out again soon.

Photo: My Support System (at my wedding)

I think all moms can agree that of all the hats we wear, the role of wife/spouse/partner is the one that takes the hardest hit. We often take it for granted that our partner understands what we're going through, understands that we are in Mom Mode and that yeah we'll eventually get to them... but even the most understanding partner of all eventually gets tired of not being treated as a priority.

So how do I treat my role as a wife since becoming a mom?

I think an important key to wife life and marriage on a whole is consistency. You must be consistent in everything you do as a couple but even more so after you begin having children together. It is also very important to be intentional with the time spent with your partner. Plan dates, sexy time or alone time where it's just the two of you. Those persons who offered babysitting services when you were pregnant or just had the baby, take them up on that offer (once you trust them), even if it's just for a few hours! I have no problem asking my mom to babysit for a couple hours just to have time with Leroy alone. Yeah sometimes I do feel bad or guilty for just dropping my daughter on her like that but like every grandparent out there, she loves spending time with her granddaughter so there's that benefit. Fortunately for us, Leroy and I are very similar in personality so we prefer to chill at home or host a games' night with our close friends, and those few times that we do go out, our social battery dies at around the same time (LOL). Our adult time activities last only a few hours and the majority of the time we miss our baby girl (lame right?) so we rarely stay out too long.

Photo: My birthday night under the moonlight

Sometimes you can't help but put certain things on the back burner for a while and most times it's really not on purpose. It's just the way life works sometimes. It's important to own or be accountable for those times you've fallen short. I have told Leroy a couple times since baby girl has been born that there are times I feel guilty for not giving him the wife time he needs sometimes, but thankfully he understands and we try to make a bigger effort to be there for each other. Marriage and relationships in general need constant nurturing in order to blossom - you've got to keep watering it and giving it love. You don't want to wait for something to happen to be like "I should've been there more" or "I should've done that differently". Once you know in your heart you're giving as much as you can, as best as you can and your partner/friends knows that as well and are doing the same, you'll be alright!

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