Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom

Welcome to the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the continuity and constancy in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Last year, my world was turned upside down (in a good way). I went from being pregnant and sleeping 9 hours a night, to holding a brand new baby and feeding around-the-clock. I went into the office in the morning not knowing that it was going to be my last day of work. Long before I gave birth, I knew that I wanted to stay at home and raise my child. I had made up my mind 90% and finalized the decision within 2 weeks of giving birth. No more pencil skirt suits, black heels, and daily Starbucks trips.

Becoming a mom and leaving the corporate world to raise a child has meant that I need continuity to prevent myself from losing my identify. Continuity means stability to me. Keeping some things the same, but letting myself evolve with the changing times. I would like to share some ways that I have tried to keep my identity as an individual, in addition to my new role as a mom.

Working Out

Working out means time for myself. Time to get my body and blood moving. Time to reflect on the past and think about the future. Time to reconnect with myself. Physical fitness is very important to me. I feel better and I am able to be a better parent. I ran up until a couple of weeks before giving birth and I was out running again 6 weeks postpartum. I define myself as a runner. Even though I was tired, I had to get back into running as soon as possible for my sanity.

Cooking and Baking

I had to take a few months off from cooking and baking. Even with my husband being at home in the evenings and on the weekends, it was just too much with a newborn. I could no longer spend 2-3 hours cooking and baking. I decreased the complexity of recipes so that I could still enjoy this hobby, but not wear myself out completely. I knew that this period would be temporary and I would get back to doing the cooking and the baking that I love. It was important for me not to give it up completely.


I remember telling a coworker that I'll just strap a baby to my back and get out in the garden. Ha! Even though we managed to get plants in the ground, once they grew to full size, there was hardly any room in the garden for me, let alone a baby in a carrier. I did do as much as I could have with the garden this summer, but I made sure to keep it watered and pick the vegetables.

Before becoming pregnant, I always knew that having a baby changes everything. I did not want to change everything about myself. I have embraced my new role as a mother, but I do not want to ever give up the Katie that I knew before birth. I wanted to continue to have fun and do all of the things that I love. I did not want to change my life to accommodate a baby. I wanted to welcome the baby into my life. Continuity during times of big change is important to stay grounded and sane.
Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama
  • Always an Artist — Some kids take longer than others to come into themselves, so you have to stick with them, as a parent, long after everyone else has given up, writes Douglas at Friendly Encounters.
  • Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom — Katie at All Natural Katie continues to stay true to herself after becoming a new mom.
  • Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs from A New Day talks about how she is using continuity in certain areas of her life to help promote change and growth in others.
  • Staying the Same : Security — Life changes all the time with growing children but Mother Goutte realised that there are other ways to 'stay the same' and feel secure, maybe a bit too much so!
  • Harmony is What I'm AfterTribal Mama gushes about how constant change is really staying the same and staying the same brings powerful change.
  • A Primal Need For Order and Predictability – And How I Let That Go — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she overcame her primal need for order and predictability once her awareness shifted, opening her eyes to the impact this had on her young daughter. Take a short journey with Jennifer and she bares her soul, exposes her weaknesses and celebrates her new outlook and approach to living life, even in the face of total chaos.
  • Breastfeeding Before and After — Breastfeeding has come and gone, but Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow finds that her relationship with her son is still just the same and just as good.
  • A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think?
  • Comfortingsustainablemum never thought she would want things always being the same, but she explains why it is exactly what her family wants and needs.
  • 'The Other Mums' and The Great IllusionMarija Smits reflects on the 'great big magic show of life' and wonders if it will continue to remain a constant in our lives.
  • Unschooling: Learning doesn't change when a child turns four — Charlotte at Winegums & Watermelons talks about the pressure of home education when everyone else's children are starting school.
  • Finding Priorities in Changing Environments — Moving from Maine to a rural Alaskan island for her husband's military service, Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work found that keeping consistent with her priorities in changing environments can take some work, but is vital to continuous health and happiness.
  • Keeping it "Normal" — Kellie at Our Mindful Life has moved several times in the last two years, while doing her best to keep things stable for her kids.
  • The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey — Angela at Earth Mama's World reflects on her homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a constant in the life of her family but the way in which they learn has been an evolution.
  • Sneaking in Snuggles: Using Nurturing Touch with Older Children — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama's son was a toddler and preschooler, he was the most loving, affectionate kiddo ever. But during the course of his 5th year, he drastically reduced how often he showed affection. Dionna shares how she is mindfully nurturing moments of affection with her son.
  • Steady State — Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes a letter to her partner about his constancy through the rough sailing of parenting.
  • A Love You Can Depend On — Over at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, Jennifer has a sweet little poem reminding us where unconditional love really lies, so it can remain a constant for us and our children.
  • Same S#!*, Different Day — Struggling against the medical current can certainly get exhausting, especially as the hunt for answers drags on like it has for Jorje of Momma Jorje.
  • New Year, Still Me — Mommy Bee at Little Green Giraffe writes about how a year of change helped her rediscover something inside herself that had been the same all along.
  • One Little Word for 2014 — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs has decided to focus on making things this year, which is what she is loves, as long as she doesn't kill herself in the process.
  • The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the continuity of her teaching, parenting, and grandparenting philosophy using a combination of freedom and consistency.
  • My Husband's MiniCrunchy Con Mom shares which of her sons looks more like her husband's baby pictures — and the answer might surprise you!
  • Growth Happens When You Aren't Looking — Lori at TEACH through Love is treasuring these fleeting moments of her daughter's early adolescence by embracing the NOW.
  • A New Reality Now - Poem — As Luschka from Diary of a First Child struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother, she shares a simple poem, at a loss for more words to say.
  • Making a family bedroom — Lauren at Hobo Mama has decided to be intentional about her family's default cosleeping arrangements and find a way to keep everyone comfortable.
  • New Year, Same Constants — Ana at Panda & Ananaso takes a look at some of the things that will stay the same this year as a myriad of other changes come.
  • I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society — Despite how many strides we've taken to promote "breast is best," Amy at Natural Parents Network talks about how far we still have to go to normalize breastfeeding in our society.

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