5 Ways Becoming a Mom Pushed Me to Becoming my Truest – and Best! – Self


Woman smiling with baby and toddlerAfter I had my first baby I described the experience as having a bomb go off that blew up my entire life as I knew it.

And during that first year or two, it seemed like that was exactly what happened.  Little by little, so much of who I was and how I lived changed.  I started to think I didn’t know who I was anymore – that I lost myself in motherhood.

I know I’m not the only one who’s felt like that.

Now 8 years and a couple more babies later, my life truly isn’t recognizable from the one I had pre-motherhood.  But I realize now that rather than losing myself, motherhood actually pushed me to find, and step into, the truest and best version of myself yet.

Here are 5 ways I have found my better-self in motherhood.  If you’re feeling lost yourself, I hope reading this will help you recognize some ways that you’ve actually changed for the better in your experience of being a mom.  Or maybe this will give you some ideas of how to start re-defining who you are and how you live, so you can feel like your best self again.

Finding my own voice

Before kids, I was a people pleaser, bending myself out of shape for everyone else’s benefit.  Taking kids along for the people pleasing ride showed me how this habit wasn’t working for me.  Long trips, last minute changes and major disruptions to our routine led to lots of unnecessary kid drama.  As I started to realize this, I began to prioritize myself and my family more, which led me to saying no more often and with greater authority, creating more boundaries than I ever had before, and ultimately creating my life with more intention and confidence.

Walking my talk

Kids put up mirrors to us and reflect back who we’re being and the way we’re living in a way that no one else can.  There are plenty of times in our life that we can blow smoke and say things are one way when they’re actually another.  But kids are always observing your behaviors, wondering why you do and say what you do, and have no filters.  My kids taught me to practice what I preach because they aren’t buying my bs.  When I first started realizing this, it would annoy me.  But as I started walking my talk, I began living my life in more ways that were aligned with who I wanted to be and opened up so many new worlds for me.

Establishing my limits

Being a mom amplifies the pressures of society and the tendencies that we have to martyr ourselves.  And kids will push our limits, taking and taking until we have nothing left to give.  Our kids aren’t trying to hurt us, they just want what they want.  When you hit empty is usually when you learn that you need to establish some limits.  As you learn to create and hold these limits with your kids, to protect your own time and energy from them, you likely will start doing this in other areas of your life as well.  And having more time and energy for yourself and your own desires is always a good thing.

Learning to do things for me

As a mom, it comes pretty natural to do things for our kids.  So if we realize that the person we’re being and way we’re living isn’t setting good examples for what we want for our kids, we feel an extra push to change it for them.  Or if we see that our way of being is somehow harming the kids or our relationship with them, that’s also pretty strong motivation to change it.  As we make these changes for them, it opens us up to the possibility that we can change.  Once we’ve successfully improved ourselves for them enough times, it becomes easier to make change just for ourselves and what we want out of life.

Striving to be my best self

Being a mom and having these little ones look up to me helps keep lit in me the fire to continue becoming the best version of myself, so I can help them be their best selves too.  I’m always trying to do less dirty parenting, which is a way I describe parenting on default – from the way I was parented, with my old wounds and trauma.  In order to clean parent more often, it requires me to be thoughtful and intentional about how I parent and why, to face some of my own past, give grace, let it go and heal.  And from there I can focus on trying more to parent in a way that is respectful to me and my kids.

And as with many of these major life experiences, I think sometimes just changing the way we see and think about it makes the biggest impact on how we feel about and live our lives.  I choose to think about my experience as becoming a mom as helping me to find my truest self, and therefore I experience it that way.  And going forward, I am excited to know that with every change I get to keep finding and stepping into the next version of myself, getting better and better every time.