Motherhood might smother your authentic self

authentic-momMotherhood can be the overpowering job title that defines you. It’s constantly demanding: breakfast, naptime, middle of the night, when you need to take a poop. Children don’t let you clock out. You have to force yourself to step outside of the role, to take a break, to ask for help and focus on yourself. That’s hard to do.

So at times, I’ve lost myself in motherhood, but not in a good way. Not because I’m enveloped in the smell of a newborn and the rest of the world melts away. Not because I cherish the little hugs from my polite little preschooler. I’ve lost myself in motherhood from exhaustion and sleep deprivation, lack of patience after answering “why?” after “why?” after “why?”, or anxiety from a baby who won’t nap and won’t stop crying. I’ve lost myself in motherhood because I lose track of my personal hopes and dreams.

Motherhood is beautiful, but there’s more to me than raising two small kids.

One of my goals this year is to make it a point to live authentically. I’m on a mission, right now, to figure out HOW.

Any suggestions?

I’ve been asking the internet and I’m on a search for some good books. One book in particular, I’m going to revisit, and that’s Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly: “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

Okay. Authenticity ties into self-acceptance.

Which is another goal this year: FEELING more competent at what I do. My goal isn’t to BE more competent. It’s to FEEL more competent. And that comes back to how I talk to myself.

I’m curious: what do you call yourself when you talk to yourself?

I call myself Larrie.

I don’t know why. I can’t remember when it started. Obviously, not prior to high school, since that’s when my nickname was born (thanks, Jarv). For some reason, when I talk to myself (usually in my head), it’s in the third-person and I talk to Larrie.

I’m typically upset with Larrie. I’m telling her that she’s not competent. I’m reminding her of her mistakes. I’m verbally berating her. Poor Larrie.

Be nice to Larrie.

Larrie is beautiful.

This month:

  1. I will be nice to Larrie.
  2. I will also reread Daring Greatly.
  3. I will research how to live authentically.

Living authentically and feeling competent = beautiful. #yearofbeautiful yo.

If you happen to have any good articles on this, please, send them my way!

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5 comments

  1. I have no articles to send your way, but I feel that a good step toward daring greatly is for you to keep writing your stories. Please and thank you.

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  2. Hmm. I wish I had helpful advice. But in the spirit of rambling…

    Life before parenthood (for me) was all about doing whatever I wanted while trying to figure out how to survive. It was so scary but beautiful, fun, and the freedom to be as selfish as I wanted to be was intense. I was always scattered, spontaneous, and loved to make art.

    Then with babies, spontaneous went a bit by the wayside; scattered stayed but became less of a cute quirk and more of a drab vice; and (between said scattered-ness and the fact that oil paints, turpentine, and babies don’t mix well) I lost track of all that art stuff. None of my previous talents converted well into the caring-for-young-babies arena so they got neglected while I haphazardly built new ones. My current self and pre-parent self probably wouldn’t recognize much in each other.

    I don’t know if I’m being inauthentic so much as my former self had to get torn down to make room for the new one. Babies are so life altering…it makes sense the the self has to alter to fit. The new self is better in some ways, as I’m sure you’d agree that yours is. But. I’ve also had this abstract idea that I’m going to resurrect some of my old self too. Someday. When I have time. I liked her.

    oh but I love how you use a specific name when you talk to yourself in third person. That’s ridiculously endearing, haha. Umm…shoot. none of this is helpful. But. Maybe this just means that grappling with feelings of inadequacy is just part of the human parenting condition? And (totally unrelated and probably unhelpful) I just finished reading a book called When Breath Becomes Air that I thought was really beautiful. I can pretty much guarantee that it doesn’t relate to the topic but distraction counts as help, right?

    Well. At least you’ve helped me to stay authentic to my scatterbrained self here. But seriously. I always love reading your blog. Your stuff is always so insightful and relatable.

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  3. I love everything Brene Brown has written. Unfortunately, I had no access to her books when I was a mother with children at home. I’m glad that you do!

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