The New Version of the Old Me

Life before becoming a mom is mostly about you. You choose what sounds good to eat; you decide where to work; you use your free time for you; you go to bed when you want – basically your choices to the core are about you and decided based on your benefit.

Before I had babies (“BB” as I like to time stamp it), there was a very specific version of me. Looking back I like that version of me – career woman; workout guru; organization freak – you name it, I was able to live up to my own perfectionist standards. I repeat, I like that version of me.

5 years and three babies later, like most moms, I constantly battle to find the new version of the old me.

In modern society, women have an even bigger responsibly than our predecessors – get an education, find a job, make that money, marry some guy, birth some babies, raise the kids … The list goes on and on. Why are women so torn between being a mom and being a career woman? Why does society praise women who work full time and tsk at those who are “just a mom”? Every mom knows the double edged sword I’m referring to; When you are at work, you feel guilty and think about your kids – when you are at home, you feel worthless and think about working. The majority of women know this internal battle all too well. In order to feel comfortable in our new skin, us moms can help each other by recognizing no matter what our job title, we are and can be enough in whatever role we decide.

Most people have some kind of hobby; mine vainly enough was working out. A hobby for anyone is a way to escape normal life while diving into a personal passion. Before becoming pregnant, my hobby helped me cope with the everyday stresses of work and life. But after becoming a mom, there tends to be a confusing, heart tugging dilemma that makes a mom feel guilty while doing anything for herself. How do we incorporate our old hobbies with the new challenges of motherhood?

Before babies came along my house was very clean and I was organized to the nines. Most days now I put the blinders on and try to keep my own head above water while constantly attending to my children’s needs. My husband recently inquired as to the whereabouts of his once organized wife. For some moms, the opposite holds true – motherhood has blessed you with a keen ability to never forget the diaper bag and properly place toys in appropriate designated bins – Bravo! But how do the rest of us cope with the clutter conundrums children bring to create organized order?

The real mystery to the big picture is: How do we create the new version of the old us?

If I had a firm answer this is where I would put it. But the encouraging thought is a mom (and parent) can decide who they want to be at any time!

A mom’s employment status is an individual family decision and every mom ultimately chooses to work or stay home; the good news, lots of moms work and raise functioning children; the great news, most moms struggle with career decisions whether they decide to work or stay home. Us moms are all in the same boat, trying to do what is best for our children while battling our own swords to conquer inner voices that chatter “you aren’t good enough”. Guess what – we are great enough!

You can wake up tomorrow and decide to plunge back into your hobby that previously left you inspired. You can choose! But be ready … When that little voice tries to convince you moms don’t deserve a few minutes for themselves, push back because Lord knows us moms especially need it!

Most days I have that moment where I miss the old me. I was a professional, fitness, OCD woman. I like to think I had it all together. But the old version of me was always chasing something, running after accomplishments to fill a weird, at the time, unexplainable void. I’ve recently realized why I can’t be the exact old me (minus the fact I have three small humans who need me) – I am no longer chasing an invisible goal. My children unexpectedly became the missing piece to my life puzzle, a goal I never realized I had.

Like most moms, I have constantly strived to become the new version of the old me. Motherhood can be confusing and gut wrenching most days, and us Moms are constantly battling ourselves to find common ground through puke, tantrums, and giggles.

I like the old version of me, but I’ve grown to love this new version. Becoming a mom unexpectedly gave me a richer life with a full heart that constantly beats for my children and doesn’t feel like I have to chase invisible dreams. My children have become the only inspiration the new version of the old me needs.

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Motherhood does not come with sick days.

Back in my crazy career days (working nonstop) taking a sick day was next to impossible. There have only been a few times I’ve needed to call off – thank God for those legislated sick days! But on those much needed days, I slept off whatever illness hit me and was able to take a break from reality to recoup.

But there’s one thing your doctor forgets to tell you about having a baby – motherhood does not come with sick days.

Maybe that’s why the first trimester of pregnancy is full of exhaustion? Nature knows you are going to need every second of sleep to accommodate for a life of no more sick days?

Wouldn’t it be nice for once just to say “I can’t make it to motherhood today. I’m just really sick. Please figure it out.”

For the past couple weeks I genuinely wanted to call in sick to motherhood.  And why is it when our significant other is under the weather they seemingly get to take a sick day? My only guess – the mommy gene: the inability to ever get sleep or fully relax again due to having children.

No matter how high your fever is or how many times you’ve visited your porcelain friend, the kids are still going to expect dinner and their favorite bedtime story. “Mommy, I want bites I’m hungry!” “Mommy, I want books!”. Sweet children don’t understand that standing up to get them a snack will literally take every ounce of energy out of your body and just might kill you.

But we do it.

Even when we feel like getting our kids out of bed is going to do us in, we still do it. Even when we can’t feed ourselves, we make sure the kids get more than enough. Because that’s what us moms do – CEO’s of the family never get sick days! It’s a full time job and then some to keep the house running smoothly.

It’s hard enough to take a sick day when working a full time career, but when you’re a mom, kids allow ZERO sick days (especially if they’re really little).  At least the office gives us a set number of sick days (even though we aren’t always allowed to take them). Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom we all have one thing in common – motherhood does not come with sick days.