Feeling lost in motherhood
I was feeling lost in motherhood during the first 3 months and it was by far one of my biggest challenges to overcome as a stay-at-home mom.
“Am I just a mother?”
“Who am I as a mother?”
“I don’t deserve to be her (my baby’s) mother.”
These questions were one of the few that kept circulating in my head. It was especially worst when I can’t seem to console my baby, and all I did was cook and clean.
I know how dark that space could be when we get consumed in our day to day struggles in keeping up with being a mom.
If you’re here looking for solutions, below I’ll be sharing my journey on how I found myself in motherhood and on my way to writing the motherhood story that I intend to live.
I believe you can do the same too, so long as you are open to new advice and try new things.
Before I begin, download my free Bust Your Mom Funk and Find Yourself worksheet I’ve prepared just for you.
Alright, let’s dive in.
How did I get lost in motherhood? and what changed?
There are many reasons why someone may lose themselves in motherhood, for me these were the ones that were eating me up inside, but I managed to turn them around eventually.
Lost in Motherhood #1: Feeling undeserving as a mother.
I started questioning my ability as a mother the moment I brought my newborn home.
People might say it was the surge of hormones that made me feel the overwhelming emotions. But if I were to remove the hormonal emotions, my insecurities were there and that was the core of my challenge.
This affected me big time, I was not able to think objectively and rationally. I even became resentful of the people who wanted to help. I was in a spiral and all I did was cry quietly in the room.
I was no longer myself and I couldn’t do anything but the basic for the day let alone get myself a hobby.
How did I turn it around?
When my emotions were in check, I realized it was my insecurities and low self-esteem that has made me feel the way I feel.
But when I think about what my future would look like with my baby when I’m not down and insecure, I see my little girl just happy and contented with the way I am.
That she will appreciate the kooky, careless, funny, clumsy side of me. Sure I’d knock her down from time to time (by accident) and that’s okay, that’s who I am and I shouldn’t be ashamed of it. And she will learn to love me and my shortcomings too, just like how I will love hers.
The world is not prefect, I’m miserable from expecting perfection from me, and I do not want her to learn to live like that.
I guess embracing my shortcomings, accepting imperfection gives me hope in life again. Your baby deserves a happy mom, and you deserve happiness.
Lost in Motherhood #2: I am just a mother
One of the main reason why I lost myself was the fact that I couldn’t accept being just a mother.
I could not accept the fact that all I do now is cook, clean, and care for the baby.
I can’t help to feel like the opportunity to do great things to impact the world has now come to an end.
Thinking about how I have not achieved anything I dreamed of made me feel empty inside.
I love my husband and baby to bits, I really do. And I know being a mother is a noble job.
But just achieving life status as a mother is not the only ambition I had when I was a little girl.
How did I turn it around?
One of the problems here is the stigma that ties with stay at home moms/ moms. Being a mom shouldn’t be something that holds us back or being stuck in life.
Once I recognize how much growth and change I’ve made from becoming a mother, I started to appreciate what motherhood was doing for me.
So I had a change of mind towards motherhood. I have accepted what motherhood was doing to me and I embrace the change I have become.
But the core to making this work is not forgetting who we are inside because we’re not just a mother, we are ourselves and also a Mother.
Lost in Motherhood #3: Feeling isolated from the world
This is true, being a mom is very lonely. We will no longer be able to go out spontaneously, we’d be keeping to a schedule when we’re out, and all we seem to talk about is our baby’s growth. Everything we do now revolves around our kids.
But more than that, the challenges a mom goes through are very personal and overwhelming, and only a fellow mom will understand.
But if you think about it, being a mom is a personal experience, it changes our body, our hormones, our lifestyle, and our mindset.
An experience that cannot be shared. We can only relate as a mother.
So how did I overcome this?
It is to accept that we are going into a journey of self-discovery and growth on our own. Overcoming a lot of challenges and finding solutions that are unique to us.
This does not mean that we accept isolation. No. there’s a difference. It is about being okay to journey this alone. It’s like going out for a movie or having dinner on your own.
You take the challenges on like how you handled your period cramps. your husband can only bring you a heat pack, the rest of the emotional and physiological management is up to you to tackle.
Lost in Motherhood #4: Motherhood is repetitive and dull
Wake, breastfeed, cook, clean, put down baby for a nap, breastfeed, cook, clean, put baby down for bedtime. Repeat for the next 7 days, 31 times a month, for 12 months a year and it goes on and on.
Yes, motherhood has become predictable, to the point where the weekend just seemed like another weekday. Except my husband will be home and I may go out and have an extra helping hand.
The need for a routine and schedule for the baby has robbed the opportunity and ability to be spontaneous and doing new things out of the blue.
And it is very hard to get excited about house-chores and cooking, especially when we’re feeling exhausted all the time.
How did I manage?
As much as scheduling and routine might restrict you.
On the contrary, I found having a routine and schedule has given me much freedom.
The repetition was a blessing in disguise because now I have more control in my life than ever before.
The predictability of when she goes for a nap means I’d be getting my break at that set hours every day. I get to do whatever I want at this time and it’s great.
It also gave me the ability to plan short outings instead of long ones. And when we do plan for long ones, we would prepare whatever was necessary to make that happen because we already know what she needs in advance from the routine we’ve set up.
Routine and scheduling has become my foresight for the future. And I never have so much control before I gave birth.
And of course, to make this work, we need to have a balance of flexibility and routine.
Routine creates a habit for the baby, scheduling gives you an estimate of when something’s going to happen, and flexibility is to do the set of things within the timeframe you’ve allocated, not necessarily in a strict order.
If your a pen and paper kinda gal, download my free 20+page journal that has a little bit of everything from my printable journal series. This free journal covers topic briefly from self-care to personal discovery, to gratitude, and emotional breakthroughs.
How did I find myself again?
It took me a while to figure out what was going on with me when I lost myself in motherhood.
I finally realized that I have lost my identity as a mother. I did not take care of my needs and was only waiting for the days to become better on their own.
That day did not come. In fact, the longer I waited, COVID happened, and my days turn from bad to worse. That was when I had an epiphany, I realized I cannot wait anymore. I cannot live like this, this was not the mom-life I wanted to live, this was not the mom I wanted to be and I needed change.
1. I had many mindset shifts
From “I am just a mother”, to “I am myself, and I am a mother.” The mistake I made was to let motherhood overwrite my identity. That motherhood was just about cooking, cleaning, and caring for the baby. That mindset was detrimental to my identity. So I needed to first value myself as a mother. It was from here that I couild then create my new identity while being a mother.
From “motherhood is repetitive and dull” to ” the structure created gave me time to do other things in predictable time slots“. In short, I have found freedom in having a routine because I didn’t have to think of what to do next or guess anymore, I just know. So instead, I spend time thinking about what I’d do during my next break/baby nap instead.
From “Feeling isolated from the world” to “I am on a journey of personal discovery and transformation“. I have now learned more about myself after becoming a mom, the strength I never knew existed, and the weaknesses I never knew I had.
From “I am undeserving as a mother” to ” what do I do to give an enriching life for my baby she deserves?” The focus is not on me or how inadequate I am as a mother anymore, it has now shifted to giving the best for my baby despite my shortcomings.
2. Looking at (mom) challenges differently, as an opportunity for growth
I lost myself in motherhood because I used to let the uncertainty of new challenges stop me from doing something new or different.
I’d stick to my old ways even though it was clearly not working and was causing me misery.
My life improved when I started looking at challenges as an opportunity to make my life better.
I started solving challenges for good and no longer get stuck in a negative cycle.
Now if the same thing were to happen again today I have gained the knowledge and skill to overcome it.
If you need help in looking at challenges differently, and take advantage of it, check out my Clarity Journal.
3. Taking charge of my life
I cannot emphasize this enough for those who have lost themselves in motherhood. Remember I mentioned waiting for the days to get better? That’s surrendering my life to fate/luck. And most of the time, fate/luck doesn’t come our way.
When COVID hit, I realized I had to do something about my miserable life as a new mom. I looked into many different challenges I faced and decided to do something about it and not let it run over me like before.
Before I was putting out fires, after taking charge, I have gained back the power to my life.
The 3 things I took back control were my time, my energy, and my sanity.
What did I do to get them back?
- I decided to sleep train my baby at 5 months old.
- I figured a way to shop groceries once a week and cook only 4 times a week. Basically coming up with a system of bulk cooking.
- Putting baby in a predictable but flexible schedule. This allowed me to know when she needed what. Previously I was floundering, but now I am prepared.
Just by doing the 3 things above, I significantly gained back some time, energy, and sanity to myself, allowing me to feel like myself again.
Here’re some post if you want to understand more about baby sleep training. P.s. It is not all about crying it out.
There’s a section where I detailed how I batch my grocery and cooking in the related post below.
4. Outsourcing where I can
This is the part where you accept or get help however you can. Going it all alone is one of the reasons we feel lost in motherhood.
- I brought home leftover food from my mom and in-laws whenever I visited their place.
- I had a part-time cleaner who comes twice a week.
This has tremendously lifted the weight of needing to cook and clean all the time.
5. Setting up a working system at home
But if you’re unable to outsource, it is still doable. So long as you establish a working system in the house.
I know it’ll work because on days when COVID hit, I had to figure it out with no help.
This may not directly contribute to finding yourself, but it creates pockets of free time which gives you back some energy, time, and sanity which will definitely make you feel a whole lot better if lack of basic needs are your main reason for losing yourself.
6. Letting go of perfection
I understand that some might live far from family members or could not afford to pay for extra help.
This is where letting go of perfection and coming up with a system will make it manageable.
Letting go of perfection would mean that you may not mop the house as frequently as you like, or leave some clothes to pile till the weekend.
I lost myself in motherhood. I was consumed in fulfilling all the mom duties all the time. Now I put energy into whatever requires attention in rotation.
7. Knowing that having it all together all the time is a myth.
One of the reasons why we feel lost in motherhood is because we think other moms are having it all together all the time, so why can’t we?
But that is far from the truth, know that. If you’re consumed by the perfect mom life you see on social media, you probably don’t know half the story behind it.
They may only take beautiful photos on good days, they may have a helper in the house, they may hire a photographer or an event planner (for baby birthdays), they own successful businesses that can afford to pay for help, they live near their family members.
Whatever the reason we will never know, so we need to be kind to ourselves and not need to measure up to having it all together all the time.
We probably only have it all together some of the time, or we only have some things together all the time. And that is just normal.
8. Getting out of the house, have a change of environment a few times a week
I’m not sure about you, but I can’t be cooped up in 4 walls for too long. It makes my world feel smaller than it already is, which is one of the main causes of feeling lost in motherhood.
I love the sun, the wind blowing at the trees, the chirping of birds and crickets, the sound of crackling leaves at my feet, the wind in my hair and face. I could soak it all in and feel rejuvenated (I sound like a tree I know XD. )
Whatever it is, getting moving and getting going in a different environment gives your brain a fresh perspective. Reminding yourself that there is a larger world out there and not to forget to be apart of it.
9. Prioritize myself. The importance of self-care and me-time, and what it means
This is probably the advice you’ve read just all over the net. There is a reason why people recommend this. Not taking care of ourselves is one of the reasons why we feel lost in motherhood. Think about it.
I cannot emphasize this enough because the reason why I took charge of myself is so I can have time and energy for myself.
It is a very basic need that everyone or every mom seems to neglect.
I’m not saying I’m perfect at this, But just doing a little bit of it makes a huge difference in elevating my daily mom struggles because I was in a much better state at handling life challenges than when I was out of sorts.
If you have a hard time practicing self-care, journaling about it will help your brain attune to your needs. I’ve prepared a Feel Good Journal that specifically helps you focus on yourself and the good around you.
10. Fulfilling my OTHER needs as well
Chances are, we feel lost in motherhood because our other needs lack attention.
So on top of fulfilling the baby’s needs, we also need to make sure to fulfill most of our other needs. We have several needs to look into:
- basic needs like sleep, food, and water. As much as this is basic, a lot of moms lose ourselves because we lack sleep and a proper diet.
- next, the need for safety, love, and community. Communicate with your family and loved ones about your struggles. Connect with people.
- and lastly the need for autonomy, creativity, and purpose. It is important to give yourself the life purpose you choose to live. When we do not have a life purpose, life seems to drone on in a meaningless rhythm.
So it is important to identify which category of need you’re lacking and put some attention to it.
11. Do what makes me feel good
This is also very basic but hard to practice when we’re feeling lost in motherhood. When we lose ourselves, we don’t even feel like doing anything at all. But knowing that what used to make you smile, or make your heart skip a beat is essential in finding yourself again.
Because these will remind you of what you hold dear and is meaningful to you.
Of course, I’m not talking about unhealthy substances. I am talking about the healthy passion that you love, the interest that gets you excited in the morning.
I did not enjoy cooking one bit. But since being in lockdown, I crave my favorite green curry. So during the lockdown I looked up recipes I love and cooked them instead, it wasn’t restaurant quality, but I’m happy I learned to make my favorite dishes and served it for dinner. Killed 2 birds with one stone.
So look into that.
12. Gave myself purpose in motherhood
Prior to this, all I did in my free time when my baby was asleep at night was watch Netflix. Don’t get me wrong, I love Netflix and I still watch it daily for an hour or so. But prior to having a purpose, Netflix was all I got.
Netflix is great for days of recovery, when I’m injured, or sick or in confinement. But when I’m all well and fine, it became a soul sucking screen.
Life felt empty and no matter how many tv series I watched, life felt emptier. On top of that my body became stiff and sore from sitting for 3 hours.
When I decided I wanted to live the life I want and started a blog, the things I’ve always wanted to do now are closer to becoming a reality and that is very exciting. I am now a creator, no longer just a consumer.
It felt good and work has become play.
13. I Stop taking failures personally
I am very unrealistic with my expectations and when I don’t meet them, I took it personally and beat myself up. This trait did not help me in motherhood because motherhood is full of new challenges, and I was constantly met with my own disappointments. No wonder why I started losing myself.
Stop. and know this fact, that failures are a sign that something can be done differently. It is not a direct translation of how ‘fail’ a person you are.
My mistake is attaching meaning to my failures, that somehow the failure of a certain task spells doom to my identity.
Detaching myself from such meaning liberated me to try new things and take failures objectively. Allowing me to learn from it and was better equipped in the future.
Looking at mistakes, failures, challenges as an opportunity for improvement is easier said than done. I know that because I sometimes still get worked up over small things.
If you want to practice focusing your attention on your personal growth and self-discovery, the Self-Reflection Journal below will help you do exactly that.
14. I Stay active
This could be something physical or mental. Whatever that will help your brain stay active and creative. When we are stuck in the rut, lose ourselves, we often feel uninspired.
The remedy is to be in an activity or surrounding that keeps us inspired.
For me I did gardening, rode my bicycle, I blog, and I craft.
15. I Give myself projects to work on
This may be unnecessary, but a necessity for me. I know myself, if I do not have a solid deadline or a measurable outcome, I will not follow through whatever I was doing.
So in order to make sure I do keep up with my healthy habits, I enrolled myself in a project. I volunteered to do Christmas cards to sell for charity with a friend.
This gave me something solid to work towards improving my painting skills. It was one of the things that makes me feel good.
If I never have this in place, I’d probably procrastinate on painting because it is not an ‘urgent’ thing to attend to.
You may use the same concept for:
- making diy baby toys
- what theme of cooking to learn this month
- baking a cake for your husband’s upcoming birthday
- take up an online class of your interest
Who knows, you might find something you like to do on a long term basis.
16. Find ways to feel fresh
My go-to are:
- essential oils,
- warm baths,
- shower bombs,
- essential oil diffusers,
- jazz music,
- a warm cup of milo/hot chocolate,
- sitting at the balcony surrounded by my green plants,
- and stretching out my stiff body.
Our psychology can be easily affected by our physiology and 5 senses. So in order to turn our mood and mind around, taking advantage and using them to make us feel better when we’re down is a good place to start when all else seems hard.
17. I process my thoughts and feelings through journal
If by now you haven’t noticed, I journal. One of the things that have kept me consistent in coming up with my own solutions and resolving uncomfortable emotions was through journaling.
I’ve been journaling since I was 12. And I realize that some ways of journaling are more effective than others. I realized that just journaling blindly every day may not be as effective as purposeful journaling.
Hence I’ve developed my own style and frequency of journaling, and so far I’ve been able to consistently turn my uncomfortable emotions around within minutes.
However, you might have a different way of processing your thoughts, and writing is not one of them.
Find an outlet that works for you, it could be talking to someone, talking to a recorder, writing a poem or a song, or drawing a comic about how you feel.
Whatever the method, the focus here is to process your thoughts and feelings.
If you’re wondering what kind of questions to ask, my prompted journals are full of prompts that will help you process your thoughts and emotions in a healthy way. You may check out the bundle in the link below.
Lost in motherhood: Summary
These are my thoughts and process on finding yourself as a mom.
At the end of the day, my main focus here is to constantly do thoughtful conscious reflection.
Reflections on the challenges you go through , the origin of your feelings, taking mindset shifts and actively taking charge of your life.
I know it is easier said than done because it takes practice to ask yourself the right questions to overcome your challenges.
This cannot be achieved in a day, it is a process of constantly readjusting how you see yourself, your situation, and your life to be able to get there.
With these tips, I wish you all the best in finding yourself. Do drop a comment below if you have found this helpful.
If you are a fellow mom who has found yourself in motherhood, don’t be a stranger and drop a comment on how you get there. Let’s create a resource here to empower all moms to find themselves again.
Once again, don’t forget to grab my FREE Bust Mom Blues and Find Yourself Worksheet. It will help with perspective shifts!