A few weeks ago, I had a really profound talk with my husband after a particularly difficult week with our kids.
“I feel like my life revolves around everyone else. Everything about my life is shaped by someone else’s schedule or needs,” I said tearfully.
It’s true. Having children has a way of taking over your life, especially in these early years.
I wake up early because I need to get my children ready for the day. I spend my day nursing my youngest and making endless snacks for my preschooler, while finding ways to entertain them both.
I plan playdates with my friends who have children, but our conversations are constantly being interrupted, we spend our timing breaking up fights over toys and changing dirty diapers, throwing in short half-stories in between.
At night I have to make a second dinner for my kids because they don’t like salmon, quinoa, curry or any other grown-up foods. At midnight, 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. I am awake, nursing my baby and praying that I will feel refreshed, somehow, in the morning.
If I’m being totally honest, that’s mostly okay. I wanted a family and I love my children and my husband. This is my life right now and I fully embrace it. I can accept that right now there isn’t going to be much time, money or energy left over for me.
Sometimes, though, I do miss doing things simply for myself. I miss having hobbies and interests outside of motherhood, marriage and family.
“Maybe you need to find a hobby? Something that you can do just for you,” my husband suggested during our heart-to-heart.
And he’s right. Daniel is great at pursuing his own personal hobbies. He loves photography and often goes out on his own to take photos. He spends his birthday money on new equipment and carefully considers the pros and cons of each lens. Lately, Daniel has picked up his classical guitar again, and in his spare time at home he’ll practice playing new songs.
I spent a few days trying to think about what hobbies I would even want to pursue, but everything felt too overwhelming and impossible.
Then, I saw an upcoming craft fair that really interested me. Normally I would just drag my family along, barely getting a chance to look at items and having to rush through and leave quickly. Instead, I asked a good friend to come with me. We spent our Saturday morning shopping at our leisure, and I gave myself permission to buy a few items that I liked.
One of the vendors was selling macrame, and my friend and I thought it would be fun to learn how to do macrame on our own. We looked online and found a class, and signed up for a two-hour workshop to make our very own macrame hanging planter.
I joked that mine is going to look awful, which it probably will, but I’m also thrilled that I get a chance to go out on my own and do something fun with a friend.
It’s taking a bit of work to prioritize myself and try new things, but I know that the slowly I will start to regain my own sense of self back, and remember the person I was before having children.
“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the centre of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.” - Jessica Lange