I am excited to share that I will be publishing my first anthology on June 26th. The title is called Momming and Queening. The purpose of the anthology is to share stories of raising children in the millennium. I think motherhood is often glamourized and we don’t always express our true experiences as mothers. I want to dedicate the next few posts to the mothers as we all work this thing called motherhood. I salute you.
I was losing myself. I had become a shell of a person. I was set in autopilot. I would get up, get the girls ready for school, head off to work to a job that was slowly but surely becoming unfulfilling, come home, do some momming and wife’n, go to bed to wake up to the same routine. The weekends would come, and the hubs and the girls would want to go somewhere and do some type of family time whether it be walk around the mall or outlet stores or something that required us all to be involved. Self-care was non-existent.
The year 2019 was ending, and I remember just being in constant sadness. It took every effort to make sure I looked decent on the outside because on the inside I was exhausted and tired. Everyone seemed to need something from me, and I had nothing left to give. I was being overlooked on my job, not vibing well with my new boss, and really doing just enough to get by. At home, my girls’ energy was sucking me dry. If I wasn’t being a mediator, counselor, taxi to dance class, nurse, playmate, and/or pillow (my youngest has to lay on me at some point in the day), I was being a wife. There was no time that I had set for myself to be alone in my own thoughts and world. (The only thing I could maintain was my manicure and pedicure which is probably what kept me from fully falling apart). However, I started to feel constant fatigue and was extremely irritable. I even went to the doctor because something just wasn’t right. When the bloodwork returned normal, he did a depression screening. Seeing as I have mental health background, I had to admit that yep, part of what I was feeling was depression.
This made me really sit down and think. I knew I needed to be in the right mind if I wanted to be a present and effective mother. I needed to get to the bottom of what was making me feel depressed, and then it was like a lightbulb went off. It was the fact that I was losing myself. I had become so wrapped up in my mommy role that I neglected myself. All the things I enjoyed doing, I no longer did them. I couldn’t remember the last time I had watched a Rated-R movie or read a book uninterrupted or even listened to music that was not censored. This may not seem like such a big deal to you, but I had tailored my life to my children so much that I didn’t leave anything for me. I left nothing to fill me, and yet I was trying to pour into everyone else.
I say this once and I will say this again, I was lowkey thankful for the 2020 lockdown. It blessed me so much because I was able to stop all the daily routines. There was no getting ready for school and daycare in the morning, and no more going into the office. Granted, everyone was home, but it left an opening for me to be able to stay up later at night after everyone was sleep and work on Alesha. I started binge watching shows on Netflix that made me feel good and laugh. I journaled and started doing bible plans on the bible app. I started spending time with God and airing my grievances. I wanted to strengthen my relationship with Him and build myself up again. I needed to find my identity as Alesha again. Not as a mom or a wife, but as a woman who has interests and desires that do not entail my family. I felt bad for admitting that at first because I thought that would come off as ungrateful, but in order for me to be mentally healthy, I needed to be secure in my own identity.
After months of doing some self-work, I noticed my mood began to change slightly. I was calmer when dealing with my girls and had more energy to give to them. Because I was designating time for myself, I was able to refill my cup. Not only was I intentional about doing things I enjoyed, but I was also intentional about what I chose to take in. I made sure to read scriptures that were encouraging and uplifting, and that spoke to my situation. I read books that were entertaining and were hard to put down. I watched shows and movies that inspired me, and I was also thankful that I had someone to hold me accountable. If it wasn’t for me having a circle of sisters who prayed for one another and made sure that I was ok, I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to actually recognize and acknowledge that something had to give. If you don’t have praying friends in your life, get you some!!
Motherhood is a beautiful thing, but no one ever really talks about the struggles. Society paints this picture-perfect idea of what a mother is and how she should be, and the picture usually denies her of her own interests and self-care. It usually portrays mothers as always giving and sacrificing, but never shares what happens when giving and sacrificing depletes you of yourself. Even worse, it doesn’t share what to do when it does. I love being a mom, and I love my daughters very much, so it is vital for me that I am able to function at my highest capacity to be able to care for them. I don’t mind the giving and the sacrificing because they are deserving, but I also know that I am doing them a disservice if I find myself operating in autopilot because there is nothing left to give. So, to the moms out there, always fight to keep your identity. If you find that you are losing yourself, take some time out and recharge. Watch a funny movie, take a walk, sit in your car, walk around Marshall’s/HomeGoods, oh get a facial steamer (the best feeling ever!!), do whatever makes your feel like you again. Revisit an old hobby, or even set some goals that you want to achieve or go back to the ones that you may have pushed to the side. Connect with God and work on building your relationship with Him because there is no better comforter than Him!! (Oh, and stop beating yourself up! You are an awesome, mother!! You know the scripture; you are fearfully and wonderfully made.) You have to make sure you are good because no one else will be if you are not!! You cannot pour from an empty cup. Always find time to refill and know that you are not alone out there! You got this, mama! Be blessed!!