When I first came up with the idea for this blog, I wanted to make sure there was a special place for moms too. I didn’t want a website that solely offered parenting tips from a twinning mom’s perspective. I wanted it to be a place where I could also talk about the things that made me feel good, interests that had little (or nothing) to do with my role as homemaker and primary caretaker for my children.
In this way, my blog would better reflect who I am: a dedicated mother, an accommodating wife, and a modern woman who realizes that life cannot be complete without some nurturing of the self. Although I have now found a balance that allows me to play all of these roles, making myself a priority did not come easy for me.
Have you ever felt like being a mother was not enough? At the risk of losing some readers, I am going to admit that I began to feel this way right around the time my daughters turned two.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love spending all that immeasurably precious time with them. It wasn’t that I regretted leaving a career behind to become their primary caretaker. I had always wanted to be a mother, and when I was working full-time, I always thought about what they were doing at home and what I was missing.
When my husband began pushing the idea for me to leave my job and stay home, I felt little hesitation. It seemed like the right time, and after taking a look at our finances, it was a no-brainer. My hard-earned income was paying for childcare, placed us in a higher tax bracket, and left me with very little “fun money” each month. I never wanted anyone outside of family to raise my twins, and I am extremely fortunate to be at home with them now.
The emptiness I felt had a little to do with who I was before I became a mother. I missed my old self. Naturally, I missed the extra free time, the freedom to act on a whim, the ability to socialize with friends. I am a social person by nature, but as a stay-at-home mother, I was not very good at small talk or making new friends without having something in common other than being a parent.
Somehow, I could not find the fun outside of the bubble I shared with my daughters. I could not easily connect with others, and this just wasn’t like me. Perhaps living in New York City had a little to do with that, but it did not explain away the larger problem. Read more about my thoughts on raising twins in New York in an upcoming post.
My discomfort was about more than missing my former life; I was failing to recognize and nurture my new self. Every day I committed wholeheartedly to being there for my kids and my husband. (The poor dog was lost in the mix along with me.) All of my daily activities were planned around what they needed from me. The only time I made for myself was in the late hours of the evening and involved either watching back-to-back episodes of Scandal or, less frequently, working on my adult coloring books.
At the time, I did not realize that my list of priorities and solo activities were negatively impacting my health. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, like any good mother (or woman) would do. It’s what I always remember my mother to be like when we were growing up.
Why, then, was I so uncomfortable with my life as a mom?
I know the answer now: In all my efforts to be the best mom and wife I could be, I was losing when it came to being the best version of ME.
As my daughters grew increasingly independent and capable of play on their own, I found myself feeling like there was something missing, like I could be doing something more important than the laundry with the “free time” I had. I had never enjoyed doing household chores (except for vacuuming), so I certainly was not comfortable with the idea that they had turned into one of my daily activities. Attentive, loving mother entertaining precocious twins? Yes, please. Household chef and maid? No, thank you. This was the time I began to experiment with new ways to occupy my time.
Over the last year or so, I took a step back and began identifying hobbies and other interests that I wanted to include in my routine. I started making personal goals for myself and figuring out ways to meet them. For starters, I dedicated myself to getting physically fit, which did wonders for my mental health.
With a healthier mindset, I approached my daily tasks in a more positive way. For one, I now enjoy doing the groceries and being in the kitchen because I am approaching recipes in a new, healthier way. I have conditioned my husband to embrace my new interests and, in some cases, have recruited him to join me.
I have also found a few different groups of women who inspire me every day and, as a result, I have made some much-needed friends. As for my professional aspirations, I have picked up some part-time work here and there, thanks to my best friend who gives me the best leads. I have also considered several home-based business ideas that excite me.
Having a busier routine that leaves some room for my own interests makes the new me feel happy and complete. I finally have a story worth sharing, a fuller life, and the best parts of my old self.
I look forward to writing more about my journey to finding my stronger, happier self, and I hope that you will stay tuned for future posts. Happy, healthy mothering!