Have you ever noticed that most people seem to define themselves by what they do?
“What do you do?” seems to be the question we ask people to find out what type of person they are or who they are. I am just as guilty as anybody of this.
I think it first started for me in college. “What’s your major?” seemed to be the opening line for every student and every parent. You couldn’t be in a conversation without hearing it. And then after graduating, it turned into the “What do you do?” (which to me seemed like pretty much the same question).
As I got older and more successful in my career (through all of the ups and downs), I defined myself by my career, as a banker. I defined myself as a business woman. And I defined myself has a successful professional.
Now that life has changed and I am a stay-at-home mom, have I really changed at all? No. I’m still the same person I was. I still have the same desires to succeed in life. I still have the same drive and ambition.
So, what now? How do I feel proud of my new role as a stay-at-home mom without losing my drive and ambition? These are the main questions I ask myself most days.
These are not easy questions, and definitely don’t have easy or quick answers. And guess what, I don’t have the answers yet either. But, I’m working on it.
On my quest to feeling proud of my new role as a stay-at-home mom, stepmom, first time biological mom and mom over 40 (it hurts to even type it and worse when I read it), this is how I am going to find peace in all of my roles.
I am going to prioritize my life. Outside of my Christian faith, sometimes it is difficult to clearly prioritize what is important in my life. But if I’m brutally honest with myself, I believe my priorities should be:
Putting myself as the number one priority is a struggle daily. But I believe unless we take care of ourselves, we are not being a good example to our kids. This is by far the hardest thing to actually do, day in and day out.
I have a hard enough time showering and doing my hair, let alone putting myself before everyone else in my life. Everyone else seems to have needs greater than mine (my words, not theirs) at every moment of the day. I seem to be in a constant state of not wanting to let those people I love down. My biggest fear is disappointing those I love and myself.
But really, I like taking care of, and supporting, the people in my life. I like seeing their happy faces and knowing I made their life a little easier. I enjoy knowing that my hard work makes their day more positive, productive and successful.
Crazy thought . . . . . . what would happen if I did put myself first?
I used to do it all the time when I was single. I put myself and my career above everything, but still made time for family and friends. So, how is it really different now? The biggest difference now is that my career is my family, but putting myself first somehow disappeared.
Here is my plan to try and put myself first again
- Start my day before the kids wakeup
- Write down my weekly schedule
- Make my daily To Do List, the night before
- Learn to say NO
- Learn to ask for help (and not feel embarrassed by it or indebted by it)
- Schedule time for myself daily
- Schedule time for myself weekly
- Find my passion (outside of my family)
My gut says, once I can figure out how to put myself as a priority again, everything else will fall into place. No one can do that for me. It is ultimately every mother’s responsibility. It is my responsibility.
God help me (that is my prayer).
I would love examples from all mothers, no matter their title, how do you put yourself first??????