For a Minute, There

For a minute there, I lost myself. I lost myself.. — Karma Police, Radiohead

When I was pregnant, I knew everything. I believe I’ve mentioned this before. One of the things that I just knew was that I wasn’t going to lose my identity when I became a mother. I’m a firm believer that a woman’s identity doesn’t lie solely within the boots she wears. Wife boots. Work boots. Mommy boots (shout out to myself! Is that lame?). Too often when a woman becomes a mother, that becomes her life. Her identity. She identifies as “Jack’s mom” or “Sophie’s mom”. While I am very much “Nellie’s mom”, that’s not all that I am.

…….. But it is kind of all I’ve become.

Most of my dialogue is about my child, because my life revolves around her. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this but it does make it difficult to relate to people who don’t have children. One of my best friends (and coworkers), R, has a baby who is two weeks – TO THE DAY – younger than Nellie. She and I talk all the time. We talk about our relationships with our respective partners, about the frustrations of trying to keep our places clean, about the funny shit our kids are doing right now. Conversation between the two of us comes very, very easily. I have noticed that when I’m around friends of mine who don’t have kids, I struggle to find something interesting to say where I used to be able to talk the ear off of anyone whether they liked it or not. Now? It’s “Nellie does this” and “Nellie is so funny when she…”

Again, nothing wrong with it but it makes me feel uncomfortable. Awkward. Like one of those parents I used to roll my eyes at. You know the ones. The ones that can’t shut up about their child. YEAH. THAT’S ME NOW.

So how do I find myself again? Where did I go? I feel like I’ve lost myself in a mixture of sippy cups and Cheerios. Of weight gain and frumpy clothes. With my new “mom exterior” (frizzy hair, no makeup, body fat) I find myself so much more self-conscious, wondering if people are talking about me and commenting that I shouldn’t be wearing my pants tucked into my boots because I’m too fat. And honestly, I probably am too fat but it’s fucking cold and the boots keep my feet warm.

Even the chorus I used to be so passionate about singing with has taken a backseat to Life. I cannot dedicate even half of the time I used to and it’s got me feeling sad. When I do make it to rehearsal, I find myself feeling detached. Like an outsider. Don’t get me wrong the ladies are wonderful and still welcome me but I’ve missed so much, I feel like I’m an imposter. Like I don’t deserve to be there because I haven’t worked hard enough. Chorus has always been my thing. My hobby. And now it’s just another pile of work on top of my already-busy life… I just can’t find the time to work on my music and it sucks.

So where do I find Natalie? Where has she gone? I know that I’ve changed. I have become less interesting, less funny, more judgmental and stressed out. Maybe it’s a little bit of residual PPD, maybe it’s just typical of being a new (ish) mom.. I really don’t know. But I feel isolated and anxious a lot. I struggle to find things to say. I feel annoying.

Maybe I’m just crazy. But for several minutes, here, I have lost myself and I’m not sure where to find me. I’m trying to be kinder to myself; washing my face twice a day so I don’t break out. Eating better. Taking a multivitamin. Stretching in the morning. Treating myself to something that’s just for me once a month.

But it’s hard. I still feel off. I still feel lost a lot of the time.

Comments

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I have this talk with my husband all the time, but there really is no way for him to understand what a sacrifice it is to give up who you were. I love staying at home, but I miss being Mrs. Huber- the teacher, I miss the dance company I used to perform with, I miss my regular gym routine. I am always at a loss for words when someone new asks what I do. I know I should proudly say I am a SAHM, but I was proud of my career, too, and it's hard to realize that isn't who I am anymore- at least at the moment.

  2. IT seems its that way for all new moms… I felt the exact same thing. When I realized it and admitted it and embraced it thats when I started feeling me again… And there are some days I still dont. I recommend if possible getting a sitter go get your hair trimmed, get a new outfit/shirt even if you dont like the size. Get your nails done do your makeup look in the mirror and remember that Natalie is in there somewhere. I did that last week (well I remembered I was Julia and not Natalie HAHA – lame yes) Anyway It did wonders for my self esteem, You can be Natalie – Nellies mom not just "nellies mom" good luck you'll find your muchness again 😉

  3. Dude, it had been 2 years since I had last seen you, and you were still the Amazing and Awesome Natalie. And your daughter is fantastic – I'm a huge fan.

    You're still really funny and you've still got plenty of interesting to say. I truly felt that we picked up where we left off – like it hadn't been 2 years since we talked in person.

    Yes, having Nellie has been a huge life change for you, and now you get the extra-fun job of going out and trying to balance your life out, but I encourage you to keep at it.

    • I felt like we picked right up where we left off, too. I worried that I didn't have anything interesting to say or that I was babbling about ZOMG PARENTHOOD too much.. So it's good to know that I wasn't. I think a lot of my insecurities are just internal & me being self-conscious and kind of unsure about my identity right now. Thanks for your comment. xoxo
      Mommy Boots recently posted..For a Minute- There

  4. I like this post. Not because you are feeling this way.. but because I've felt the exact same way and I know most new moms (and some not so new moms) do too. Yet, somehow, those precious who fall right into the role of "mommy" like they were born for it while maintaining exactly who they are manage to make all of us other normal people feel inferior. It is like supermodels depicting what a woman is "supposed" to look like when the average woman is a size 14, thank you very much. We all hear it but we still don't believe it. And then, even though we hear other people saying they know how we feel, we don't really believe they know how we feel. We still think we are the only one who feels totally lost and misses being sexy and feels just a little bit bitter that she can't remember the last time she read a book that did not have pictures of dancing animals on the cover! Mm-hmm.

    It is an awkward transition for some of us but I find a lot of comfort in knowing that it is a collective experience. I really appreciate this post.

  5. I have been feeling this way a lot to! It s so hard not to feel guilty about it either, because as a mom you tend to take a backseat to everyone elses needs first. Keep trying to do things for yourself and hopefully it will start feeling normal again.
    Amy recently posted..tantrums r us

  6. Its nice to read that other moms feel this way too. I'm glad you said something, I'm too much of a whimp to say it outloud. I love my child, but I do think I'm more than The Boy's mom. Thank you for speaking up and good luck finding yourself. I hope we all get to find ourselves!

  7. I am so scared of this. I only have a three month old, but i already feel like i'm slipping! It feels like it can't be helped! I rarely wear makeup anymore and my clothes are a mess. It just isn't practical to be all about being dolly anymore, although I used to take great pride in it! I am also sometimes jealous of my non kid friends, although i love love my little guy, i am jealous of the control they have over their time! ugh….i have a long way to go too and more kids to have! how will i find balance?!

  8. I am so there. For a while, I was just lost in the fog of being a mom. Now, even though he's my life, I think I'll be a better mom if I find myself a little. I'm trying to do at least one thing a week to better myself, whether it's in looking good, being healthier, working my brain, or working on my heart. As frilly as it feels to focus on things as wearing makeup, or reading a non-parenting book, I find that I need it to find out who I am as just me. It's not just all frilly stuff, of course. I'm working on my health, and volunteering with needy kids, building relationships and 'heavier' stuff…I just find that little things, like slipping on some lip gloss help along the way.
    aliciamariel recently posted..Apparently- Uterus Watch 2011 has begun

  9. I'm right there with you, Natalie. I am completely incapable of having an interesting conversation with my non-mommy friends. They probably think I'm a boring oaf who has nothing better going on except for my kids (and, well, they're right) – and quite honestly, I don't care about their dating sagas and stories of the workplace. But yeah, sometimes I wonder what happened to myself.

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