This might sounds completely backwards but one of the things I have loved most about becoming a mum is discovering something that excites my soul that’s not got anything to do with parenting.
Stay with me here.
I may be only six months into this parenting thing, but when I compare my feelings now to those early days and weeks just about everything feels completely different.
I know at the start everything was just so overwhelming and all of my thoughts were such final statements like ‘I’m never going to have a good night’s sleep again’ or ‘I’ll never be able to leave home for more than an hour at a time because what if she gets hungry’. Of course those things sound silly now, but at the time they felt like very real possibilities.
Above them all one of the most depressing thoughts I had was ‘Parts of me feel missing’. I still felt like me but all the things that had made up my life before were suddenly gone. I didn’t need to go to work anymore, I couldn’t exercise until I had fully recovered and I felt too tired and was too in demand to pursue any of my other hobbies.
The good news and the bad news with parenting is time passes.
Our babies grow up and every stage is only a brief season. Within a few weeks I was able to bring back some light exercise and within a couple of months I could take some me time and escape to the pool for an hour or so. Consequently I felt rejuvenated. My cup had been filled and allowed me to better look after my family.
One of my biggest passions is acting, however the season of life I’m in at the moment makes that quite a difficult one to pursue. Theatre requires lots of late nights several times a week, something that’s not only not practical for my family but also would seriously reduce the already limited number of sleeping hours I have available.
It was a sad realisation understanding that I would need to let that go. However, instead somehow I feel like I have found something new that gives me those same feelings of excitement and drive that we all need, even mums!
I’ve always loved reading and have been picking up books again. Reading always tends to remind me about how much I’d love to write a book one day. It’s been a dream/goal of mine from a very young age (I’ve just never had much discipline!). It has been interesting discovering that spark is still there.
The more I read the more I fanned the flame of this dream. So, I thought why not chase something a little bit different given my life now looks a little bit different? I decided to step out of my comfort zone and attend a few events I had never before thought to. I attended an author talk at the library to inspire me further and recently I joined a book club (that was filled with more fun and games than book talk but hey I had a blast at something brand new).
I completely surprised myself feeling comfortable in such foreign territory and it has given me considerable drive to keep reading and to keep writing (and hopefully one day that book makes an appearance).
Give yourself permission to do something you are passionate about.
Yes, pursuing anything is going to look a little different to what it did before baby but it’s going to be just as important to my overall mental wellbeing and enjoyment of life.
My writing gets interrupted when nap time finishes before I do and sometimes I might have to forfeit going for a swim if I’ve simply not had enough sleep, but that’s the reality of life. It gets in the way.
But then I can just remember it’s not getting in the way at all, not really. I’m also incredibly passionate about my family and those interruptions are actually just an opportunity to switch time to another passion for a little while.
Being a mum is one of the best titles I’ve ever been given, but like every mum I also have others that make up who I am. I’m still a wife, a writer, a swimmer, a baker, an avid reader, a photographer (however amateur) and any other new thing I want to pursue.
I’d like to encourage you to see what you can do within the limitations of your current lifestyle that could fill up your cup and spark that fire in your soul.