Motherhood comes with a flood of life changes. Some things, like excruciating exhaustion and dirty diapers, were expected, while others, like catching vomit in our hands and convincing our kids not to eat cat food, weren't necessarily part of your vision. Still, for every change you experience, there are a slew of things that don't change when you become a mom, especially when you decide to become a mom in your twenties. Your priorities might change and your daily routines might change and even your overall goals might change, but who you are as a person? The parts of you that lead to you becoming a mom? Yeah, those are still there, for better or for worse.
Can it be difficult to maintain a sense of self once you become a mother? Absolutely. Giving everything you've got to a helpless little human takes some adjustment, and during that adjustment period it's not unheard of to have little to no energy left to do things for yourself, whether it's go out with friends or even take a shower. Still, taking care of yourself when you've got a kid is so so so important; for any mom, but especially if you became a mom in your twenties because the quick and abrupt end to your free and frivolous days of being basically responsibility-free can be somewhat of a shock to your usually well-rested system.
You're still you and you deserve to feel like you've still got a sense of self and individuality, even after you've had a kid. Sure, these days you may prefer yoga pants to crop tops, and coffee to tequila, but that doesn't mean that you should be at the mercy of some socially constructed identity crisis because our culture demands that you stop being you in order to start being someone else's mother. A lot changes when you have a baby in your twenties, but not everything.
The Desire To Sleep In Until Noon
Sleeping in is rarely an option for new moms (or seasoned moms or any moms, really) but when it is? Oh, it is so on. You could snooze until noon without feeling even an ounce of shame or worthlessness. In fact, you may even wake up momentarily, grab a granola bar, and hop right back in that fluffy haven of high thread count and silky goodness without any acknowledgement or guilt about your lack of productivity.
Many people assume that once a person has a kid their sleeping patterns automatically mature right alongside everything else, but that's simply not the case for some (read: most) of us.
You Probably Still Eat Microwave Meals
You’re so busy prepping and preparing healthy meals for your kids that you sometimes neglect to nurture yourself. Thankfully, alongside those frozen veggies in the freezer there’s a stock pile of frozen food options for emergency purposes only (or for when you’re just really lazy). Whatever, everyone loves a steaming hot pizza roll from time to time. Admit it, you've done it too.
You Still Have Sleepovers
Sleepovers as adults completely trump any sleepover you may or may not have attended as a kid. Instead of braiding hair and telling ghost stories (still awesome, though) we now have Netflix, Pinterest, and wine. Socializing after having a baby involves a little improvising, but it is absolutely doable. So instead of getting dolled up and heading to the bar, pile onto the couch with your girlfriends in your largest sweatshirt and watch movies that make you ugly cry while taking selfies. It really is amazing.
You Will Still Go Out For Drinks
Obviously this requires a babysitter or relying on your parenting partner or family members or someone you trust, and obviously not everyone has that ability (whether it's frequently or at all). However, if you do, Happy hour post-children is the happiest hour of all. Free from the responsibility of monitoring a curious, wandering, messy little human, you revel in the dimly lit boozy bliss of your temporary childless freedom.
Having a kid doesn't mean that you still don't want to act like one yourself from time to time. Maintaining friendships and some sort of support system is highly valued in the world of a mother, because motherhood can sometimes feel a bit isolating.
You Can Still Travel
Maybe you can’t climb Everest with your kids just yet, but you probably weren’t going to do that on your own any way. Traveling with kids is definitely tricky; it requires lots of planning, packing, and possibly a hand full of anxiety meds, but it can be done. More than it being logistically possible, it's so worth it. Seeing the wonderment of the world through your kids’ eyes is incredible and can remind you of how beautiful this earth really is. What's even more awesome is that you are the one that gets to give your kid these experiences; you're the adult now, which can be scary, but the life that you give your child is up to you, and that's a truly amazing capability.
In this case, practice makes perfect. It may be difficult at first, but eventually you will have mastered the ability to pack the perfect diaper bag so that you may conquer any and all obstacles that come your way on your travels.
You Will Still Need Your Mom
Or aunts, grandmas, best friends; literally anyone that you cry to when you feel like you’ve lost all site of who you are as an individual. You will still need hugs and ice cream and to be told that everything is going to be okay; you will still need advice on relationships, recipes, and finances, and you will still need shoulders to cry on; you'll still need the comfort of knowing that there is bail money readily available, if it’s ever needed.
You might be an adult now, but that doesn't mean that you don't sometimes feel like you're helpless. That's totally normal; we all have those fleeting moments of uncertainty, especially after having kids. Having someone to turn to during those times of havoc can make all the difference in the world.
You're Still Figuring Your Life Out, Too
Sure, for the most part you’ve got the gist of it. You’re a responsible, nurturing mother to your children but you’re also navigating your way through some unfamiliar territory. You’re still debating cities versus suburbs, and private versus public education; you’re torn between letting your kids be free and hugging them so tight that they’ll never escape your grip. You know there are a million different ways to raise kids, but you’re still figuring out how to be the best mom to your kids.
You're still the same amazing person you were before you gave birth. You might have lost hundreds of hours of sleep and the energy or the desire to paint the town red every single weekend, but the love that you've gained is worth so much more. It's hard not to feel like you've lost a part of yourself in the midst of all the changes, but it's important to remember that you're still you.