I have gone back and forth between writing and not writing this a hundred times. I’m opening myself up not only to strangers, but also to people who know me in real life; family, friends, acquaintances. It’s not easy but I’m willing to share my experience if it will help any mother out there going through the same thing.
At first, motherhood was a new and exciting adventure for me. But after a while, I started to notice that all anyone talked to me about was my baby. I didn’t have anything else to talk about BUT my baby. I was away from my family and my friends. I wasn’t in school. I wasn’t working. Being a mom was all I had. I knew I couldn’t go back to being the same person I was before kids, but I wanted to be more than what I had become after. I didn’t think it was possible.
Because I wasn’t Raquel anymore. I was just a mom.
I was so unhappy with the way things had become that some days I had no desire to get out of bed. And when I had to get out of bed (which felt like every 2 minutes with my kids), the weight of my nonexistence as a person crushed me. On days where I felt like I was failing as a mom, it consumed me. I dreaded being around others because it only reminded me that I had lost my own identity.
Looking back, I can now see my situation for what it was: I was depressed. And severely so, I might add. But I also managed to bring myself out of it. That was the moment I started being a cool mom.
I know what you’re thinking.
I love Mean Girls, but not enough to model myself after Mrs. George. So I’m redefining the term. I am not my child’s friend nor will I be until they are adults and live in their own house. That doesn’t mean I have to be a boring, mean mom either. On a scale of Mrs. George to Hitler, a true cool mom lands right in the middle. I’m a cool mom and I’m going to tell you how you can be one, too.
Realize you are more than a mom.
Becoming a mother doesn’t automatically stop your life, it only changes it. Still, a lot of moms become so enveloped in their role that they lose themselves in it. “Mom” is not your whole identity. You are a person too. It’s not a crime to have a life outside of your kids and you will not be a bad mother, I promise you!
Do what you’ve always wanted to do.
Think about what you wanted to do before kids. Did you want to write and publish a book? Did you want to own your own store? There is no reason those dreams need to be put on hold. You might need to work at a slower pace, but you can still achieve them.
Give yourself a manicure. Stay in your hot shower as long as you want. Change your hair. Eat those cookies. Buy the shoes you want. Do something nice and tell yourself that you deserve it. Because you do deserve it.
Teach the kids independence.
When babies are born, they need their mothers 100% of the time. We feed them, clothe them, we do everything for them. As they grow and develop, it’s hard for us to let them do certain things on their own. Ever heard of independent play? That allows you to take a much needed adult break. It helps keep everyone’s sanity intact and lets you get things done.
On my 25th birthday, I made some promises to myself. That was the day that I owned who I was and was going to stop trying to fit into someone else’s mold. After all, how can you love yourself if you are busy trying to be what someone else thinks you should be? Speak kindly to yourself and focus on the good. As the days go on, you’ll find yourself falling in love.
So, what is a cool mom? She is a mom who embraces herself, flaws and all. A mom who has aspirations and goes after them. And above all, a cool mom knows that in order to be a great mother she needs to take care of herself as a person first.