I've always been someone who knew myself very well. I knew my strengths and weaknesses, I knew what I wanted, and I knew my passions. But a couple years after having our first child, I forget all of that. I put away my scrapbooking supplies, I stopped reading for fun, and physical activity was mostly limited to when I was storming out of the house because I was mad at my husband. Everything beyond taking care of our daughter and working was not even on my mind.
It didn't stop there. I began listening to the music that my husband and best friend listened to--both were country music fans. I listened to the music my daughter listened to--The Itsy-Bitsy Spider. But I didn't listen to the music I liked. I did what my husband wanted to do. I did what my daughter wanted to do. I gave in too easily, rather than standing firm with what I wanted to do. I collapsed in front of the television at the end of the day, watching a show both my husband and I liked, rather than thinking about what would actually be nurturing to me. I wasn't listening to my own needs.
That doesn't mean I felt the lack of it. I did. But eventually, I didn't notice it so much anymore. It was a tickle in the back of my brain, but I mostly ignored it. Then the day came that I realized I didn't know myself anymore. I didn't know who I was as an adult, and I had lost track of that part of me that was just me. Not a mom. Not a wife. Not a daughter or a co-worker. Just me. How did I find that part of me again? It took some time, but I started by doing these 3 simple things:
1. Put out pictures of your "crazy days". This doesn't mean letting your kids (or guests) see pictures of you that no one at all should be seeing. It means digging out pictures that show you being truly yourself. Put them in a place where you will see them frequently, to remind you of that girl. Just seeing her often will remind you of what your hopes, dreams, and goals were, as well as what you used to do for fun.
2. Play with your Pandora. You may not be a big music fan, but most people listen to music at some point during their day. And, music has a profound effect on your mood. It can lift you up, make you feel calm, make you cry, and soothe your soul. Think back on what you used to listen to when you could pick whatever you wanted, then look for those stations. Even if you don't stick with them, you'll get a taste of something beyond what you usually listen to. Get a wide selection, and listen to it as much or as little as you want.
3. Reconnect with old friends. Call up someone you care about that you haven't spoken to recently. Better yet, set up a regular phone date. One of my best friends and I chat on the phone every week now, and it's been so great to sit and gab with her like we used to. Memories started coming back, including memories of things I used to enjoy, like writing and photography. Pretty soon I was finding myself longing to incorporate those hobbies into my life again.
I hope these ideas get you started on your journey back to finding the you that gets buried under laundry, to-do's, and splattered baby food. She's in there somewhere, and you can unearth her. I promise.
It's nice to meet you! Welcome to my blog. My name is Amy, and my husband and I have three lively kids. We are so happy to share our journey with you. Come along as we learn to embrace the messiness of life, and maybe chase a dream or two along the way.