Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Losing oneself in motherhood

I have seen it happen to many parents I know. They were cool people but then they had a kid. It seems like their whole personality turned into becoming a mom. Don't get me wrong, motherhood is one of the best things that could ever happen to me but it is very easy to get lost in it. I know this from personal experience.

You see, I started to lose myself after my wedding. My marriage didn't start off on good footing.To make a long story short, my husband decided to estrange himself from most of his family. I was hit with the baby bug before I even met my husband and I wanted to start trying right away. I waited a little more after my wedding because I stopped smoking and wanted to get my shit in order. In my mind, getting my shit in order also meant completely changing who I was because I wanted to be a mom. I ditched all my goth clothes because I stupidly felt like I needed to grow up. I had to be a mom now and that meant not dressing cool anymore. It meant it was my time to settle down. I had to fit into this little mold and be, well normal.

I had trouble conceiving and my pregnancy for my son was a difficult one. I had this huge ass chip on my shoulder because I gave up all the things I loved. I became a shell of who I was because I wanted to get pregnant and I couldn't! I almost lost my son (as well as my own life) in child birth.  A couple of months after he was born, my son had to have surgery for Pyloric Stenosis. I was going through post postpartum depression through all this too. Somehow, I survived.To this day, I have no idea how I kept my sanity but I did!

With all this in mind, you can imagine why and how I completely lost myself into motherhood. I felt like a loser mom and wanted to do everything right. Up until then, although this was never the case, I really felt like I failed as a mother. I am sure most women have their stories too. Maybe it is something similar to mine or maybe it's not. I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to be a great mom its crazy. We do it because we love our kids or maybe some of us do it because we had shitty mothers and don't want to make the same mistakes twice?
 



 Before and after shots. Funny that I look younger in the after shot, eh?

When I lost myself, I never cared much about fashion.I bought what was on sale. I stopped colouring my hair. I stopped doing anything for myself! My whole life was wrapped around my baby. I hung out with other moms and joined all these on-line Mommy groups. The very women I used to spend my life rolling my eyes at and avoiding like the plague became my group of friends. It was all so fake.

I also hated the snarkiness, the back-stabbing and the whole sancti-mommy bullshit behind it all. You were judged for the things you did or didn't do. Everyone bragged about how great their kids were and it became a competition on whose kid would do this or that before the other kid. It was like these babies milestones weren't their own but reflected on the mother's parenting style. It wasn't about the kid, it was about the mom. It was very narcissistic. I didn't fit in at all. I didn't like the music they listened to, I didn't play their stupid mommy wars, and I didn't want to dress like they did.

I remember when my kid started daycare. Where I am from, we get a year off for maternity leave so my son was almost a year old when I went back to work. It was around this time that  I started to let go of all the crazy things I did.  I stopped talking to those other moms and realized that a lot of my coworkers were parents themselves. A lot of them have older kids. I reached out to them for advice and it was less judgmental and more...well...real. I slowly got my head out of my ass and I started to change. I realized that there was more to me than just being a mom. Yes, I have an adorable little boy but what about me? Aside from motherhood, what defines me? Sometimes being a parent means that you should find time for you. I started wondering on what exactly made me unique. What did I enjoy doing besides taking care of a young child? My child's milestones, while they deserved to be celebrated, should be celebrated for my child, not because I am some wonderful super mom.  I am not trying to imply that I neglect my kid in anyway or to imply that he is unimportant.. He always comes first but I realized that it was OK for me to go out by myself, it was OK for me to take a break and to remember who that crazy girl I was before I even thought about conceiving.

The way I see it, one day, this cute little baby is going to grow up, have a life of his/her own then what are you going to do? It is important to have your own personal interests. It makes you less boring to your kids. My husband plays D&D twice a month. He shows our son how to play too. I took him to the Goth picnic last summer, we visit cemeteries together and my kid asks for certain bands to listen to while I drive him to school. His friends tell me that I am a cool mom because I dress cool and like videogames! You can be a mom and have outside interests too and even incorporate them into your family life. The point of all this is to please don't make the same mistake I did. Don't be THAT mom. Trust me. I love being a mom but I also love being Sylvie too.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience. Unfortunately, I know people who never defined themselves outside of their parenthood. They turn into these sad old people who have no life of their own and keep intruding into their children's lives, coming to visit with no notice, bringing uncalled for food, giving advice nobody asked about. I'm trying to cure these symptoms in my own mother. I wish she had realized it by herself earlier. Because of her overprotection, I never grew up into a balanced and responsible adult who can manage her own house and life. But you are doing the right thing for your kid, I'm sure you two will have a healthy relationship when he has a family of his own.

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    1. Thank you! I sure hope so. I think a lot of it has to do with my husband estranging himself from his family...for some of the same reasons you listed here! I am sorry you have to go through all this. I think children need their own identity and it is important to just let them figure that out on their own.

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  2. "I once was lost, but now am found / Was blind, but now I see." Good for you, Sylvie! You are a very wise young woman.

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  3. My mother was in a similar position, only she mostly "lost herself" after I turned five. I was raised on horror movies and my mother had a predominantly black wardrobe, she suddenly changed after having my younger brother. It scares me to an extent, I hope to not be in her shoes if I decide on having children in the future.

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  4. Spot on. I couldn't agree more.

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  5. I love reading your posts about motherhood. I feel like I'm learning so much, even without being a mom myself, or nowhere near it!
    The pressure of motherhood scares me, as well as being physically pregnant. There is so much pressure of being "this" kind of mother, as well as the pressure we put on ourselves, like you said - especially after learning from our parents' way of raising us.
    I totally look up to you for bringing yourself up again, caring for yourself and being who you are despite what happened and what difficulties you had to face during that time. Thank you for sharing this!

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  6. It's sad that there is so much prejudice about goth and "alternative" mothers in a lot of countries. As long as you teach your son to be polite, to respect others and the law, to have empathy and kindess, what you wear and listen to is noone's business. Besides, having your own personality, and a strong one, will help him stand for himself along his way.

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  7. Well written as always. I went through this a few years ago (my oldest is almost 9). But I see others going through the same thing, and I know reading this can help. I actually invited one of the other mothers from day care to come with me to the goth club! She not exactly goth, but she's often complimented my clothes, and was complaining that she needed to be something other than a mom. I just hope it goes well.

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