My kids bring me so much joy. Truly.
But, there are also times that being a mom sucks out every single ounce of joy I’ve accumulated in my 30-something years on this planet. And since becoming a mom, I’ve lost a bit of that joie de vivre that encompassed my pre-kids life.
My children add joy to my life and are part of my life, but they are not my WHOLE life. I am a woman, a daughter, an entrepreneur, a volunteer, a sister, a friend and more than I may actually not even realize yet. But, if you’re like me then you’ve probably found yourself wondering who you are anymore. There are days where I look in the mirror, both literally and metaphorically, and wonder who that girl is in the reflection.
When you introduce yourself at a playgroup, in a new Facebook group or even a new hairdresser, how do you talk about yourself? What do you say is your favorite pastime?
For me, I mentally run through the list of all the things I like to do, but don’t “have” time for anymore.
The conversation sounds a little something like this:
“Hi! Welcome to the group. Please introduce yourself and tell us a fun fact about yourself and something you love to do!”
Me: “Um, hi. I’m Lauri Lee. I’m a mom of two kids and a fun fact about me is that I used to run half-marathons. I love to be outdoors and go hiking or even camping.”
But…here’s the REAL truth. My last half marathon was in 2013. I haven’t camped since BEFORE we got married in 2011. Our last hiking adventure was a hot mess and we argued the whole time. So, we haven’t been hiking since 2015 or 2016.
I like to do those things, but I haven’t really prioritized them in my life lately. My life has been consumed by raising tiny humans. My planner no longer has scheduled workout times or coffee dates with friends, but it’s filled with doctor’s appointments, nap schedules and a growing list of activities for my little ones.
If this sounds like you, keep reading because I’m going to share a few ways that you can find out what sparks joy in your life while still mastering the role of mom.
Three Ways to Find Joy As A Mom
Think. Think. Think.
In the wise words of one of my favorite mentors, Winnie the Pooh, “Think. Think. Think.” Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm some ideas of what you like to do, some skills you’d like to learn or passions you’d like to pursue.
- Learn to crochet
- Train for a 5K race
- Learn sign language
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Run for county commission
- Read a new book
- Start a business
You don’t have to do everything on this list and you don’t have to do anything on this list if you don’t want to. You probably aren’t going to be able to learn to speak fluent German, take a painting class and run the Boston Marathon in the next few months. (But, girl if you can do it, you rock!)
The point is to get your brain flowing and thinking of hobbies and activities that you can add into your life. Take a look a the list and circle a few of the ideas that REALLY seem like something you would like to spend time pursuing. If you see something on your list that you want to delve into further, then take small steps to incorporate it into your daily life. If nothing is jumping out right away, that’s fine. Step away and maybe the idea will come to you later. Some of my best ideas pop into my head in the shower or in the middle of the night when my brain isn’t running a million miles an hour.
Get Your Team On Board
Once you’ve figured out something that you feel will help you find joy in your life beyond motherhood, you’ve got to get your family on board with your plan. The scariest part of this process for most women is actually telling someone about your plan. They will likely be on board and ready to help, but you just need to reach out and ask. Tell them what you want to do and why. Even if your kids are small, they may not understand why you want to train for a 5K race, but they will be your biggest cheerleaders.
Let’s use that example of training for a race.
If you want to not pass out as soon as you cross the starting line, you’re likely going to need to build your endurance and actually practice your running. So, what’s your plan of attack? You could ask your spouse to watch the kids while you run for 30 minutes. You could trade babysitting with a friend or neighbor and use that time to train. You could get the stroller and head to the park with the kids.
There are lots of ways to get your team (aka friends and family) on board. Of course, not everyone is going to be supportive all the time. And that’s okay too. You’ve just got to find a way to make it work for you and your family.
Ditch The Mom Guilt
A lot of the time we simply stay in our comfort zone because we don’t want to be a burden to anyone or we are afraid we are being selfish by putting our needs ahead of our children or spouse. It’s understandable because we want to be everything for everyone all the time, but that’s just not a realistic way to live your life.
The cliche that says “You can’t pour from an empty cup” is somewhat true, in my opinion. Yes, you can give, give, give of yourself until there’s literally nothing left. Some days, we do pour out until we have nothing left and literally collapse into bed alongside our children.
But, how do you fill that cup and keep it filled?
We have to just ditch the mom guilt that keeps us from putting ourselves on our own schedule. So, start penciling in time in your day to call a friend, to take a walk, to read a book, to run that race or build your own business. As Nike says, “Just Do It!” Your kids will be okay hanging out at the gym daycare while you work out. Have your husband cook dinner while you are at a painting class. Let the kids enjoy riding in the stroller while you listen to a podcast and walk through the park.
We are natural nurturers and it’s hard for us sometimes to ditch the guilt, but I promise if you start incorporating these into your weekly routine, it will help you find the joy in your life.
Need more ideas on easy, real self-care for moms? Download my FREE guide to nurturing self-care.