Disclaimer: This is not a post that will give advice or tips on how to do certain things – these are my thoughts coming straight from the heart about being a mom. I’m sharing these with you all, since I know that I am probably not the only one feeling this way, and I’m hoping that this can start a conversation…
Lately I’ve been seeing many people talking about this topic – longing for the women we used to be before we became moms, but at the same time not ever wanting to trade the feeling of motherhood for anything else.
I’m currently going through a big mental struggle:
I feel like I need to spend more time on my career to reach the goals and dreams I set out for myself and that I worked so hard for, but that would mean spending less time with my family. On the other hand, I also feel like I need to spend more time with my baby at this point in time because she’s only so little now and once she starts big school things will change a lot. Two very different sides of the same coin. Let’s not even talk about how things will change once (God willing) we have more kids.
The “Before” Me
For those who don’t know me, I am a singer-songwriter and radio personality. I have been extremely fortunate in my life and career path, and I can only describe some of my experiences as “a dream come true”. I was born and raised in South Africa, lived there till I was 19 and then moved to Boston in the USA where I attended Berklee College of Music. I’ve always wanted to be a singer and musician, so this was an extremely big gift for me: to be able to study at one of the most famous and most competitive music universities in the world. Something that you only see in those cheesy romantic movies – well, that was my life! I studied Vocal Performance and Music Business, graduated after 3.5 years and started performing professionally with a general business band immediately. I got to sing and perform with some of the most talented people in the world and had the privilege of being able to live my dream every single day.
The “Now” Me
Let’s fast forward 6 years to where I am now: married, living in Lebanon, working as a radio presenter on Light FM, and a mom to a gorgeous baby girl. I’m still singing occasionally, but nothing like how I was performing before – it’s too difficult to have a day job and perform gigs till all hours of the night with a baby or toddler that still wakes up multiple times a night. I’m still living the dream, but it has changed quite a lot.
I’m facing this very weird dilemma where I am frustrated at not being able to fully do what I trained so hard for, and what I have been dreaming of my whole life, but also being ok with not doing it because I am a mom now.
We long for the freedom we had of being able to stay up till 2am and sleep in to whatever time we like on a Saturday morning, our pre-mom bodies (no muffin top or extra skin around the midriff), making decisions on a whim without having to factor in nap times or feeding times or baby routines…
But when asked if we would trade in our current lives with kids for the lives we had before – I guarantee we would all say no.
Old versus New
I hear a lot of women use the term “Old” me vs. “New” me – why is it all of a sudden called “new”? Just because there is a new baby? There’s nothing “new” about me! In fact I just feel old… Extremely tired and old. I will be the first person to admit that I miss my pre-baby life tremendously, but if push comes to shove – I will definitely miss being a mom more. The shift of perspective is mind-boggling – we go from living completely selfish lives to ones where we have to think of ourselves last in every single decision daily. What’s more, we love it! Or at least I do. When I see my baby smile or giggle or laugh out loud, I get the greatest sense of pride and joy because I know that something I did made her happy, and I would give anything to keep her that happy if I can.
So it’s about finding that balance for me now… Obviously my daughter comes first in every decision that I make, but when it comes to work, I have to choose the shows and performances that give me the greatest sense of pleasure, and that fits into my tight schedule. As moms, we don’t have the luxury of being bored, but we do have the luxury of choice. We have to pick our battles wisely, surround ourselves with friends that are understanding and uplifting, and only take on tasks that we know we can handle and that we will enjoy handling. It’s not about being a “new” version of yourself – it’s about being a better version of yourself.