Motherhood requires a lot of yourself. You give everything you have and some days that doesn’t even seem to be enough. Is there a balance in motherhood?
The steady threat of danger. Being far away from family and friends in a foreign country. Sleeping in a tent and using a porta potty on a daily basis. All these things, plus many more I didn’t include, added together. It was a really challenging experience, but I made it. And surviving my deployment gave me confident I could do anything. I had done something many people didn’t think they could do. But in reality, I wasn’t all that special. I had received lots of training, had a willing attitude and maybe a little bit of luck. And did what I was trained to do.
So yes, I have been to Afghanistan and survived. It was a hard experience and it required me to go outside my comfort zone regularly. But I was prepared for it. I had most of the tools I needed given to me. And I had a team of people with me to help support me as we made adjustment to adapt to life experience.
And you know it is weird because becoming a mom is a lot like deploying with the military.
The training, the preparation, the support network you find. There are so many similarities I can think of. I still find it odd. In a way the military prepared me for motherhood. And in other ways it actually made the shift to mom really hard.
One major key difference between mom life and military life was how much better I was able to take care of myself. Before kids, even when I was deployed to Afghanistan, me time was pretty easy to accomplish.
Even while deployed there wasn’t a lot to do besides work. In your free time you could work more, workout, read a book, or hang out with friends. There was also not much required of you besides completing your work each day. Your meals were prepared for you. There wasn’t a house to clean. Self-care was actually pretty easy to maintain. And often necessary to help you cope with the atmosphere around you.
Mom life does not have the free time that you would expect.
When your baby does sleep and you should take a nap, you see the dirty floor, the pile of dishes or some other expectation (real or self imposed) you have to do. No one will know but you if these tasks are accomplished. And for some reason they seem to bring such a high value of importance. Instead of something that is actually important: taking care of you!
I wonder if this has to do with the way our lives are. Full of activity that isn’t actually filling and social media that drains our time and does nothing in the way of filling ourselves up. Ignoring the to do list and taking the nap, going to the park with friends or even just having a night out alone are needed for your soul. And then there is that inner voice inside your head. Telling you that you haven’t done enough. That you could do more. When really the only thing you need to do is tell that inner voice to stop. Enough.
You know what the weird thing about that inner voice when you actually get that me time?
It gets quieter, at least for a little bit, as you get that moment to breathe and remember who you are.
When you drop that mom responsibility and are just you. Even if it is only for 5 minutes. You find out you need to be alone. You need to focus on you.
Is there a balance in motherhood? I’m sure that there is, but acknowledging my need and drowning out that inner voice that is often so so mean. It is really hard, but so worth it. So stop sometime today, even if only for a minute and take a moment to focus on you and how you are feeling.
Do you need to take some time to adjust? To focus on yourself? To do something for yourself and no one else? What is one thing you could do to help you make a positive change for you?
If you answered to yes to any or all of those questions you need to check out the Military Spouse Wellness Summit. It starts on Monday and this year’s theme is Renew You! Take some time to self care to sign up.
*I am a military spouse wellness summit ambassador. I received a discounted VIP ticket to the conference in exchange for promoting this event. All opinions are my own.