Mothers Have Needs Too!

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Santa Cruz Counselor Lic: MFC 24087

Keep Your Own Interests

What Do I Do?
When I was a new mom, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing.  As a child, I'd never babysat and never took care of younger siblings.  My mother worked outside of the home, so I didn't have a role model for how a mother did the at home job full-time.  I found myself wondering, "What am I supposed to be doing every day?"

Deadlines vs Play
I didn't know anything about making a life for myself without appointments, deadlines and plans.  I wasn't really good at relaxing and I didn't know how to be in the moment or how to play.  My life had always been about my own personal goals and achievement.  Now with a baby to care for, my life became more about putting aside my agenda, going with the flow and following my baby's lead.

Once I made the adjustment to this entirely new life, I remember repeatedly saying to myself, "Oh! This is what it's about!"  For me, what it was about was simply doing what I liked to do.  Sounds ridiculously obvious, but to me, it wasn't.

What Do You Like?
What do you need to schedule into your week to make this new life work for you?  If this question puzzles you, start to answer it by noticing what you enjoy as you go through your day.  Do you enjoy cuddle time?  Do you need more socializing with other moms?  Do you want some more alone time?  What do you do with your alone time?  What do you crave doing?  How can you begin to incorporate some of what you crave into your life at home with your kids?

Examples of Keeping Your Interests
Here are some simple examples:
  • I like reading, so I find time to read by myself and to my children.  We also go to the library for fun and order books online through the library website.
  • I like watching movies.  This was one thing I noticed my husband and I had in common but once kids came, we put that aside.  So now, I make sure we watch movies together.  I also get age appropriate videos/DVDs and watch them with my children.  (This gets even better as they get older.)
  • I like to practice self-help techniques and so I teach them to my children.  For example, I have some positive affirmation cards by Louise Hay and we shuffle them while focusing on a question and then pull a card and discuss how it answers the question.
  • I'm interested in my religion, so my kids learn, practice and share that with me too.
  • I like cooking & baking, music, bike-riding, skating, cats, dogs, hotels, Hawaii, Carmel, Israeli folk-dancing, nutrition, trees, friends, computers, karaoke, guitars, pianos, swimming, the beach, hot tubs, swings, etc., etc...and my kids get to share in every one of these things.
You can still enjoy what you love even when you have another person's life to manage.

Fulfillment at Home
Hold onto your interests.  They are what makes life enjoyable and interesting and what makes your job at home fulfilling.  It's no accident that you are the mother of these children.  It's you they came to learn from and your interests they will enjoy.

2007 Allison Gilbert, M.A., L.M.F.T.; Free Tips

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