When did you start having a life?” asked me a mother of a six-month-old. We were talking about how we spend all the time caring for the babies and have little room left for other things. This is especially true in the first months of a baby´s life.
But when she asked that, I paused for a moment and then said that she can forget about what life was before. Instead, it’s time to redefine your life.
You are not one anymore
I remember reading about how the baby feels that he/she and the mother are the same things for a long time (at least two years). This becomes clear when you witness or experience situations where you can see that mother and baby feel the same.
I remember that when Luísa was a few months old and I would leave her with a friend to go somewhere near, I could feel my breasts filling up and start licking, so I would run back to breastfeed, finding her waiting for me hungry (just like I felt I would find her). So, when redefining your life, acknowledge that it´s the two of you from now on, together with all other uncertainties that come with growing older.
Managing how you spend your time
You have to plan every move you make according to the time your baby needs you there. When trying to have a life away from your child, you have to be smart with how you spend that time away.
In a way, it´s like being a child yourself. Remember when you had to report everything to your parents? Now you have to “report” everything you do to your baby. You are the parent now and still, you are not free to come and go as you wish. Accept it and plan accordingly.
Whenever you need to be on your own, know that it´s with a timer set on, but instead of finding it bad, give it your best to make your while worth it. Perhaps a little bit more real life could do wonders as well
Your life is more important now
Before having a baby, you could be useless. You could not make enough money, you could be not healthy enough, not have many friends, whatever. That´s gone. Your child will probably make you change for the better (you probably have noticed this already).
If you didn´t make any money, you will find ways to do it now. You know you can´t be sick, you have no time for that, your baby depends on you and you will step up to the challenge. If you didn´t have many friends, it´s time to look for a circle of supportive people, even if it´s just to look after your baby every now and then. Some people will get closer to you, offer you their time and you will say yes but don’t get over-excited or you may get disappointed.
Overall it´s simple: you can´t screw up like you could before (even if you didn´t). A life depends on you and very frequently moms make their lives worth the responsibility they are taking. When redefining your life, remember that you are a better person now. You’ll feel the mother love.
You are almost never alone
You carry your baby or child with you everywhere you go and if you don´t, you have to get back to the base in no time.
What was life before this? Ah, I still remember… I could wander around, do random things, meet up with people or not, be on my own when I wanted, sleep at any time, surf every day. But not now. I tend to give myself chunks of one hour to accomplish tasks (like cook, exercise, read, watch a movie, even hang out).
Most of the time, your child is with you. Accept this instead of wishing your life back. And have fun with it. Stop wishing a life back of any sort. Your new life is much grander. Take it as the gift it is. What is freedom after all?
When you think that you lost freedom, think of it this way: that life you knew, with just you in the picture, is gone, dead, finito. Accept that you are not alone anymore and adjust the freedom to your new reality. What can you and your child do together? And when can you be on your own? This will set the new boundaries of your new life.
Yes, it can be a more limited life, it depends on how you look at it. Focus on what you can do and not on what you can´t do. When frustrated because you can´t party with friends or go on a solo trip, remember the fun you have with your child, don´t take the happiness you get from being around a child for granted. Appreciate it and be sure to get enough sleep. Your family’s future depends also on your well-being!.
Don´t complain about your lack of freedom, reinvent yourself and your freedom, answer this question: What do you stand for? You are not really enjoying freedom if you are not working on your dreams. Reinvent your dreams if you need to, but actually, do it.
Remember that when you had all that freedom you crave for sometimes, you were not always doing the best with it. You took it for granted very often and simply did nothing remarkable. Don´t do that again. Explore your new boundaries and get the best out of it. Think about freedom in the real perspective you live now.