Finding Me Again

Bendito chupón / Blessed pacifier

Ever since I gave birth to my first child, my life has been different. In many ways, it has been more glorious and exciting and fulfilling than I could ever have imagined, but, in complete truth, it has also been the most difficult part of my life.

I struggled with big time “Baby Blues” after my first child was born. He had horrible reflux and milk allergy (although we were unaware of it for a long time). Because he was throwing up, and then getting hungry again, he (and my husband and I) hardly slept for longer than 30 minutes at a time until he was 8 months old when we figured out the problem.  I was worn out, and I felt trapped taking care of this baby.  I didn’t have a lot of friends in my neighborhood, and I felt terrible about myself because part of me actually resented this new life I had brought into the world. . .and I knew I wasn’t supposed to feel like that.

I tried everything I could think of to get out of the depression I was in (except talking to people–which, I STRONGLY encourage you to do if you might be facing something like this–it’s really okay to need help, and sometimes, it gets bad enough that you really need professional help):

I kept a file of talks on motherhood and how important it was, and I read them daily.  I read my scriptures about all the great women who raised up a righteous posterity.  I tried to remember that I was in a partnership with Heavenly Father to raise children, and that I was blessed to be able to have children in the first place.  I tried to remember that sacrificing was a part of parenthood, and that, by sacrificing, I was learning how to become like my Heavenly Father.  I threw myself into motherhood 24/7, always trying to find ways be a better mom, and taking my baby with me wherever I went. I thought that somehow, by doing more of what I knew I was supposed to be doing, I would feel better, but I didn’t.

YQL invades Super Why!Over the next six years, I had three more children, and I learned a little about taking time for myself.  I organized “Mom’s Night’s Out,” went on mini-vacations with my husband, and watched TV that didn’t star Barney or Super Why.  Those breaks were SO IMPORTANT, and necessary for my well-being.  We really need breaks sometimes.

After these breaks, I felt I could see joy in my parenting again and really have a wonderful time with my children.  But, on really hard days–days with really non-obedient children, really big messes, or lots of throwing up, I would easily sink back into my sadness.

My husband brought it up several times and asked what he could do for me; I denied that I had any problem. I was the “good mom.”  “Good moms” love that they are moms and love every minute of it, right?  At least that’s how I felt.  Deep inside, I still had those same views of motherhood I had from the beginning–even if I needed to take breaks, I still should be able to come back to my kids ready-to-go and loving it all.

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The last baby shower I went to, a few months back, we were asked to give the new mom-to-be advice. My advice was the same it always was at these kinds of things: “Make sure you take time for yourself. You can’t feed and nurture another person when you are going on empty.” It’s great advice, right? So right.  But, the truth was, I needed to follow my own advice.

October 2012, I finished my coursework for my Bachelor’s degree,

Graduation Cap Cupcake

and I graduated from college in December. Now, that’s a story for a different post (and believe me, you’ll hear about it, because I’m SO PROUD OF MYSELF), but finishing my coursework was the jumping-off point for a huge realization of mine: Since I have had children, I have been missing taking a certain kind of time for myself.  Breaks, like I mentioned above, ARE SO IMPORTANT–I would even say necessary for parents.  But, something was still missing.

After I graduated from college, I decided I wanted to find whatever it was I was missing again.  Would you believe that before I had my first child, I sat and played the piano for hours on end, and ever since I had him, I would go weeks without even thinking about my piano?  Would you believe that I started writing music when I was 6-years-old, and didn’t stop until I had my first child–And after he came, I didn’t write a single new piece for 6 years?  I had thrown it away because I wanted to “sacrifice” for my children.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

It is true that sacrificing is an important part of motherhood; through sacrificing for our children, we learn, in a small way, how to become like our Heavenly Father.  However, did our Heavenly Father stop being innately who He was because He had children, or because He watches over His children?  No–He is the same today, yesterday, and forever.  He is a Creator, and He continues to create and will continue to create for eternity.  He is able to love us, watch over us, take care of us, teach us, guide us—AND be innately who He is.

I finally found what I was missing.  As a daughter of God, with a divine nature, I am born to be a creator as well; we all are.  I found that I needed that creativity to find the real beauty around me and what I was doing each day.

I found what I was missing by sitting down at the piano and playing

Bechstein Firmenschriftzug

whatever came to my mind. I found it by scratching down words and scriptures that might send a beautiful message when set to music. I found it by bearing my testimony through my music. I found it by creating this blog and sharing my music with you.

I finally found it again.  

I can be Mom AND I can ME.  And the combination has brought true joy.

I no longer feel resentment.  Even on hard days.  Yes, they’re hard, and it’s okay that they’re hard.   I am not a super woman, and no woman is.  But, I feel a huge difference in how ready I am to take on those days.  My resentment has been replaced by excitement for my life and what I can do with it, and for what I can help my children become.

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Thank you for allowing me to share my music and my life with you. Thank you for sharing in the beauty I see in the world of music and the testimonies I am able to bear and the peace that I feel through it.

I know that everyone  is different. I know some who find themselves and beauty in being outdoors and experiencing nature; I know some who find themselves and beauty in creating art and literature; I know some who find it in decorating, scrap booking, or cooking.  My sincere desire is for you to find your beauty and your love of creation;  that you realize where you find that part of you that is really you.  And once you realize it, take part in that beauty whenever you can. I promise you, it is amazing to find again if you’ve lost it.

I imagine that many of you figured this all out a long time ago–so, I’d like to know: What do you do to be creative?  Where do you find your beauty? Where do you go when you need peace; when you need to be just who you are?

Oh, and thanks for listening 🙂

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13 thoughts on “Finding Me Again

  1. Wow, that was an inspirational and powerful post. In fact I am going to share it with my children. You are so right that we need to take time for ourselves but equally important is to find what gifts we have that we can use to bless our lives and others.
    Blessings to you for wonderful post!

  2. Amy this rings so true for me! In the past 8 years of being mom I have felt much the same way. I’ve always thought I took time for myself and I’ve discovered some new hobbies – but I realized just this past year or so that I too had neglected some things that I absolutely LOVED doing once upon a time! I was taking a long drive without the kids and had a lot of time to think and I suddenly realized how much I missed doing things that are “me” as I started thinking about my identity outside of motherhood. Being a mom is so fulfilling but it’s SO important to not completely lose yourself either which I found a little ironic, right? I mean, we’re told to lose ourselves in service and sacrifice – but I think it’s interesting how many of us take that too far the other direction and forget to do the things we enjoy doing and keep ourselves learning and progressing and creating in our own unique ways. Thanks so much for sharing this!

      • Good comment. I think of “loosing myself” as letting go of “my own will” and being willing to do God’s will… It’s not about sacrificing ALL of our desires – just the ones He asks us to sacrifice. And we also must remember that there is a time and a season for everything… 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing this with me, Amy. I have been out of town so just got the message. I’m so happy to have read this! Wonderful thoughts! It IS so important to take time to develop our talents and do things which bring joy and rejuvenation into our lives. I like what Covey says about US being compared to the chicken that lays the golden eggs and the eggs being whatcwecaccomplish. If we exhaust the chicken we can kiss the gold goodbye! I used to run myself into the ground. Now I go to bed early, exercise, and don’t try to do more than I have strength to do. I also take time to read and write, rollerblade, and hope to spend more time socializing and developing talents. The past couple years I have set personal goals of things which I know will bring a feelings of satisfaction and joy in my life. One year I built raised garden beds; another year I became a triathlete! 🙂 I hope to play piano one day… 🙂 thank you SO Much for the encouragement to keep progressing as an individual daughter of God! Corine 😀

    • Great comments, Corine! I had never heard that about us being the chicken that lays the golden eggs–perfect analogy–I love it. And I love the list of things you take time to do and set personal goals each year to do. I’m actually going to try my hand at gardening for the first time this year, so I’m excited for learning that, too.

  4. I love this post SO MUCH. I think sometimes we feel guilty as moms because we know that “time to ourselves” isn’t as necessary as the world makes it out to be. but it’s still important. Especially for certain mommies. my best friend is happy never having a break from her children. She loves being a mommy. I have a hard time being a mommy and sometimes I just want to be Kris again. So. yeah.

    WAY TO GO ON SCHOOL!!! I was having panic attacks just yesterday because I am going to graduate SOMEDAY (like in 3 years) and then what will I do?!!?!?!!? I love going to school so much. I don’t ever want to stop going! EVER.

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