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To the mom who has lost herself

Dear Mom Who Has Lost Herself,

You have been warned about this. You have heard other moms complain about it. You’ve desperately tried to avoid getting to this place, yet here you are.

That confident, carefree, driven, motivated, laugh-with-the-wind girl is gone. In her place stands a lonely, lost, let down woman who hasn’t seen the other side of a shower in days and can’t remember the last time “ambition” fell within her vocabulary.

You have lost yourself.

Some might feel sorry for you. But not me.

I applaud you.

You are doing something right.

There is a somewhat backward philosophy that mothers should cling to who they were before kids and diapers ever entered the picture. It’s a fear that if you let motherhood take over, you might not recognize yourself when you emerge on the other side. I believe this is a false expectation. Once you become a mother, you are no longer yourself. Your life is no longer centered around you, but rather a tiny, perfect little person who is completely dependent upon you. Gone are the days when you can easily go shopping without a care in the world, catch a last-minute chick flick with your friends, or even make a quick trip to the store for a gallon of milk. And that’s OK. Change is uncomfortable, yet necessary for us to become better. Motherhood is change and, therefore, uncomfortable!

Imagine the first time your child colors a picture. Would you scold her for coloring outside the lines? Of course not. What about the second, or third time? I highly doubt it. You know that with a little practice and growth, she will eventually learn. Motherhood is no different. Each day as a mother is a new learning experience, with a child who is also different than he or she was yesterday. You will constantly feel like you are blindly navigating, because you are. And just when you feel like you have it figured out, something will change. And that will remain true until the day they pack their bags and leave you behind. (And even then, they will still call home for help.)

I wish they would show more Olympic medalists preparing to compete. When you watch these athletes on TV, they are conditioned and well-trained. But what you don’t see much of is the “behind the scenes” footage. The many months spent struggling, practicing and sometimes failing.

Motherhood should be an Olympic sport, really.

Some days — most days, even — you might feel like you have failed. You might not recognize the woman you see in the mirror. You might have practice wounds, some visible, some only you can feel. But the more you practice, the less you will hurt. And the more confident you will become.

And in the eyes of your little ones, the “judges” who really matter? You will bring home the gold.

Your friend,

A Mother Who Relates

Lyndsi is the creator of the Facebook page For All Momkind and author to the For All Momkind blog. She has many titles including Wife, Kindergarten Teacher, Sister, and her favorite title, Mom.