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As we’ve built our family over the past few years, it’s been pretty fast and furious. It took us a while to get pregnant with Marlowe, but after she was born, we had a miscarriage, a subsequent pregnancy, and another child– all within three years. We moved across the country, renovated and decorated our new home, and I dealt with trauma and serious mental health hurdles. It’s been a very intense few years! Wonderful in many ways, of course, but overall a little overwhelming. In the past few months, I’ve been realizing that the time has come to recalibrate my life, and to put the pieces of myself back together since having the kids.
I think a lot of Moms can relate to this concept of losing parts of yourself in the season of life when your kids are young. The babies end up taking top priority and we find ourselves– and our own needs– can be relegated to the bottom of the ladder. It’s a sacrifice so many parents make for their families, and the greater success of the unit as a whole– but it’s such a delicate process because it can really effect a parent’s happiness over time. Now that my kids are a bit older, and we are officially done having children, I’ve been thinking a lot about the elements of myself pre-kids that I’ve lost in the shuffle– and which of those elements I’d like to reinstate. I wholeheartedly believe that the happiest kids are the ones with the happiest parents– and I believe that there are changes (or additions, really) that I can make to create more happiness for myself moving forward. Here are the commitments I’m making to myself to actively put the pieces of myself back together!
Spend More Alone Time
I’ve always been fiercely independent, and pre-kids I used to have way more alone time. Even after Kyle and I got married, his job took him away often– so I was able to maintain that quality time with myself regularly. These days if I’m not with my family, I’m either working or catching up with friends, and I rarely give myself time alone with my own thoughts. I’ve made a commitment to myself to spend two hours a week alone– maybe on a walk, getting coffee or lunch, or seeing a movie. So far it’s been so regenerative!
Read More Books
My other favorite hobby that I’ve totally lost track of the past couple of years is my joy for reading! I’ve loved reading since I was a little girl– it’s been a pal and safe haven for me throughout my life, and has always made me feel better when I’m down. I also find so much inspiration from books! I feel like I really learn so much about life through the words born of other people’s minds. After Marlowe was born, I was still able to read– just much less than I used to. Once I started HappilyEvaAfter.com and had my second child, my reading-as-a-hobby time became virtually non existent. And I miss it SO much. I’m setting a goal for myself of a book every two months, and seeing how it goes. Right now I’m reading “A House In The Sky”, which I started five months ago and only read ten pages of. Yikes. I’ll keep you posted on the books I start each time!
Cook From My Cookbooks
I collect cookbooks, and have always loved using them as inspiration! I used to cook new recipes from them all the time pre-kids and used to love that time in the kitchen. It was such a release for me. Since Kyle and I eat together after the kids are asleep, I usually end up just making us something that easy and that I know we like for dinner. I almost never use my cookbooks anymore. Kyle and I have agreed that twice a month, I’ll choose a recipe or two to make us for dinner that comes from my cookbook collection! He’ll take over kid dinner and bath/bed time with Marlowe and Major so I can spend that time prepping and cooking, and just unwinding in the process.
Learn Something New
It’s taken me a long time to realize that one of the things I miss the most is learning. As a kid, I loved school– it made me excited to use my brain every day and to problem solve. I think that one of the elements I loved about my blog right away was how much I didn’t know about it! I was totally self-taught and had to put a lot of time and energy in to learning the process, the software, and the culture of blogging. It was thrilling, even if it was really hard. Now that I’ve had a few years of it under my belt, the learning curve isn’t as steep and I’m realizing that I need something else to scratch that itch. I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and I think I’m going to take a class at a local university. Night school, just for fun and the learning experience. Something that has NOTHING to do with my job. A history course, maybe– or literature. Maybe Anthropology. I’m excited find a structured way to learn something new!
I think with these new commitments I’m going to have my hands full, but I’m glad to take more on if it means investing in myself in a meaningful way. I also hope that my kids watching me bring back some of my joys will inspire them to stay true to themselves if or when they become parents themselves! Do you have any specific things you wish you could bring back in to your life after a big change like having children? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
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Photographs by Carter Fish.