c/o Lulu's dress, old (similar HERE, HERE and at Target HERE); Target sandals and bag; Rayban sunglasses.
Nobody who has had a kid ever INTENDS to lose themselves, it just becomes inevitable. (I think? Is this just me? HA.) Not only does you body change as you grow a child, but your entire life shifts to this little tiny human person who depends on YOU for everything.
Your first one, especially, is a game changer.
All of a sudden, life as you know it is over (not in a bad way, just different), and the YOU you used to be is kind of gone? Eight and a half years later I'm not sure I remember who I used to be, because now I'm "mom" and everything is changed. I used to be more selfish and spontaneous, more free but less focused. I had yet to see the resilience I would build, the patience and the courage and the all around consuming love that I would add in each day of their lives, like drops of water in a glass. A lot of this can be contributed to just getting older and (hopefully) wiser, but I'd like to think that most of who I am now is shaped by the two little people I get to raise each day.
Still, I did lose myself for a bit. I let what makes me happy slide, and it happened so gradually I didn't even notice. I stopped caring about what I wore, I read less and worked out never and focused only on my kids. Which isn't bad, because they needed me and two kids in seventeen months doesn't leave much time for anything else, it just simply WAS. I was in survival mode, and honestly that lasted for a good several years. It wasn't until my youngest turned one that I started to gain a little piece back by working out. I would go to the Y three days a week and gain an hour each time while they played in the daycare there. I learned that I had control over how I felt inside and out by how I cared for my body. I gained strength and the mindset that I could handle a lot more physically and mentally than I ever thought possible.
Then a year or so later I started this blog, because what I wear and how I present myself is another huge factor of what makes me tick. I simply LIKE putting together outfits and expressing myself through my personal style. This blog forced me to get dressed each day and document it, so I tried harder and gained another small piece of myself yet again. If I take five minutes to throw a dress and some cute accessories on, even when I'm heading to the grocery store or the chiropractor, I feel better. It is part of what makes me, ME, and doing so helps me find myself more and more each day.
Lastly, reading is a huge part of what makes me happy. I am a reader, which I've mentioned many times here. I read about a book a day and I fit in some sort of reading in my day, no matter how busy, whenever I can. I read a whole lot less when my babies were actual babies, but I DID still read a couple of pages when I could. Now I have a lot more time to enjoy a book, the beach is a favorite spot of mine and I read a ton at night while my husband watches his shows.
Something I remember clearly after my kids were born is that I had also let all my fashion magazines go and only got parenting ones. I never even noticed the change. That's the funny thing about losing yourself, it's often so gradual you don't notice the change until it is too late. For me this gradual loss of myself took about 2-3 years, until I noticed it and had the time and energy to get it back.
My kids are 8 and 7 now and looking back I shake my head a bit about who I was then. She wasn't bad, she was just coasting. She lived day by day, often hour by hour, and devoted her whole self to her new mom identity.
Now she knows better.
I know that for my kids to be happy with themselves, I have to happy with myself. And that if I take the time to do what means the most to me, that they will do the same. They see me taking care of myself, body and soul, which in turn makes me a better mom for them. I guess I had to lose myself to get to who I am now, and maybe in ten years I'll look back and feel the same way about my (almost) 36 year old self. I've noticed that each year I find I know myself better and better, I do more of what makes me happy and less of what I don't, and being true to myself is the first step in all of that.
Tell me, what do YOU do to stay true to yourself? (Kids or no kids!)