I’ll be the first to admit that two things came to my mind when my husband and I decided that I should become a stay-at-home mama when the twins arrive:
- How in the world am I going to feel self-fulfillment without my career?
- What if I lose my current identity?
At first I thought that I was being selfish with these thoughts…until I realized they were completely normal to have after talking with other stay-at-home mamas. It’s a hard transition to make with a lot of giant changes happening all at once. Not only was I resigning from my career, but I was gaining two babies and becoming a new mom. That’s a full serving mixed with thousand of emotions ranging from indescribable excitement to relentless fear. “Holy crap,” I continually thought, “I am about to be a mom to two baby boys.” While I was pregnant, I tried to imagine myself in this new identity that I was about to gain. I played through what I thought days at home with two babies would look like. It’s so hard to imagine when you haven’t experienced having children before – but I am so Type A that I wanted to be ready for this. I was anxiously trying to prepare myself for the unknown. I read, no joke, seven plus books on parenting and expecting twins. I highly recommend What to Do When You’re Having Two by Natalie Diaz and Holy Sh*t…I’m Having Twins! by Elizabeth Lyons if you’re expecting multiples. I read some of the stories that these fellow mamas shared about their experiences and I tried to picture them happening to me. I made to-do lists, I perfected the nursery, I researched thousands of baby products and purchased way too much. I have an endless stockpile of baby wash and swaddle blankets. You name it when it comes to nesting, or whatever you want to call it, I probably did it. I was driving myself crazy doing all of these things when deep down I knew I would still feel unprepared in some type of way when my little guys decided to make their debut. And I was right. Nothing, absolutely nothing, prepares you for the day your baby(s) arrive.
So, the day my husband and I brought these tiny six pound babies home from the hospital I will never forget that moment. Everyone who has had a baby has had this moment…we sat on the couch, looked at each other and said “now what?” We literally did not know what to do next. We had no established schedule for the babies (obviously), didn’t know if they should go in the swings or the crib, and had no idea what all their needs were. That’s when reality set in hard and fast for me…my new identity began right then and there on my couch in my living room that was already taken over by numerous baby items. Here began the journey of figuring out this stay-at-home mom life.
I promise it got better! My boys are four months old now and I am finally in (somewhat) of a groove. We have created a routine, although it is ever-changing. I am going with the flow and this method works for me. I still struggle with the million dollar question…where is that balance between momming and self-identity? Well, I haven’t quite figured it out yet in my four months of mom life. Listed below are things I have discovered since the babies’arrival, things that I did not know would be crucial to do when I was pregnant with the little nuggets. Here they are…
Tips for salvaging self-identity, especially in those early months of staying home:
- Always make “you” time. I know what you’re thinking…when?! I feel the same way. It’s easier said than done. But seriously, I put this one first because it’s extremely important. Actually, it’s necessary for survival. Something as simple as a two minute shower…at least that’s two minutes of “you” time. I even consider walking to the mailbox time for myself, sometimes anything counts. Escape the chaos to treat yourself to a pedicure. I recently got away to have one done only to realize I hadn’t shaved my legs for a week. It was still dreamy, and I tried to ignore the fact that I forgot to shave. I even escape to the grocery store in the evenings when my husband is home from work. We sometimes need nothing, but I always find something, like a much needed pint of ice cream or creamer for my much needed morning coffee. As long as you are giving yourself space to breathe, even for a short time, you need this time for yourself mentally and physically.
- Rediscover your passions. Once the newborn stage passes and you have at least semi-rested that brain and given it at least five hours of full sleep at night, start your passions back up. Whether it’s working out, cooking or drawing, bring it back. This goes back to number one – make you time. Do these things once the kiddos are in bed for the evening or napping in the day. It gives you a chance to focus on passions outside of being an amazing mama.
- Discover a new passion. You are a mom, which is the most powerful and magnificent feeling/duty to have. You can handle anything that comes your way! With your new identity as a mom, find a new passion. You might be surprised to discover another side of you that you didn’t know existed. Does vacuuming dog hair count as a new passion? If so, I am winning at this whole new passion thing. Seriously, vacuuming puts my babies right to sleep! In all seriousness, my new passion is writing. I’ve always enjoyed it, but never pursued it. I’m glad I made the decision to go for it because it’s an outlet outside of taking care of my sweet babes.
- Stay in touch with the world outside of your home. This is a big one I’m still working on, but a crucial part in making sure you find balance with self-identity and mom life. Make an effort to call, Facetime, or even text friends and family throughout the week. Try to discuss things outside of mom life so that you can take a break from thinking about anything baby related. On the flip side, cherish moments when you do discuss exciting/funny things the babies are doing. Since our day is consumed with our children, it’s nice to talk about them and share our day with others (yes, venting counts too). The important thing is that you are preserving that self-identity through people whom you are closest with.
- Force yourself out of the house, even if you don’t feel like it. I promise you will not regret your trip out of the house. I will never forget my first time leaving the house alone with two babies. After stressing over having every single item thought possible placed in the diaper bag I almost forgot to grab the baby carriers and walked out the door without shoes on. Yes, true story. Don’t worry mama, you GOT this! Even if you leave your house in pajamas (braless, I don’t judge) to get a grande iced caramel macchiato in the Starbucks drive-thru it still counts. You got out of the house and I consider that a win. Once of my favorite parts of the day is drinking that morning coffee. Did I mention that yet? I did, and I mentioned it again because that’s how important it is to me. Coffee is a part of my self-identity and I will preserve it. It’s nice to get out and take the babies walking around outside, or in stores if the weather isn’t working for outside walking. I find myself at Target at least once a week and Hobby Lobby three times a week (I hope my husband never read this). Guiltily, I sometimes even purchase something, decide I don’t need it, return it the next day. Another trip out of the house, right?! We are stay-at-home moms and I know “home” is in the title, but we have to get out! This brings me to my next point…
- Meet other SAHMs to lean on. This is crucial. Nothing beats having someone who literally walks in the same shoes as you do every day. You need an outlet to vent to and someone who just gets it. It is beyond comforting to hear someone else say “I feel the same way when I am sleep deprived and I am at the pump yet again at 4 am” and “I can can totally relate, I also drive around and make a Starbucks run in no bra and a hat to cover my four days worth of unwashed hair just so my child will take a nap.” Nothing beats knowing you are not alone. Trust me when I tell you that being a SAHM means that you will have days where you feel 100% alone, but always remember that you are NEVER alone. We are here, we are in this together, and you can do this. So can I. We got this.
- Get ready for the day when you can. Okay, this is one I just figured out and have started attempting. Key word: attempting. I started doing this when I realized I always felt worthless or “lazy” when I didn’t get ready for the day, even though I know I am far from being lazy or worthless at all dealing with two new babies…but I felt that way. It was tough pumping five times a day – like why even put on normal clothes? I might as well live in a nursing tank and yoga pants with a bun of unwashed hair and house slippers. This was great the first month home with the babies, but I started really missing getting ready for the day. Something about it just makes you feel better. I’m not talking full out makeup and hair. Even simply putting on comfortable clothing that I would go out in and brushing my hair/washing my face in the mornings made me feel 10X better the rest of the day. It’s magic, I swear.
Nothing beats being able to stay home with your infants. It is amazing that we get the opportunity to watch them grow each day and make new discoveries. Every day I catch myself saying, “he’s doing something new today!” because my boys are always onto the next thing. Touching toes and rolling back to tummy is their current obsession. I am going to blink and tomorrow they’ll be walking. That’s how fast time goes, even though there are days I feel like will never end. I am still trying to figure it all out and each day as my babies make their discoveries I am making my own. I am new to identifying myself as a mother. I still cannot wrap my head around it sometimes. I am a mom to two beautiful babies. Being a mom is my favorite role that life has to offer. I am excited about it, but I also know how important it is to salvage my own identity outside of momming. Keep calm and mom on. You got this.
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