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You've birthed a few babies; you've supported your husband's every move; you have dinner on the table every night, homework done, stories read - nowit's time for that Zumba class at the local gym, right?
Yeah, right. When it comes to motherhood, it's easy to feel as if you're drowning. And while all those responsibilities and obligations are weighing on you, the last thing on your mind is a mani-pedi or some exciting new lingerie. If you're a mom who feels you've let yourself go, it's time to cut yourself some slack; you'll be back someday.
You have bigger (or smaller) priorities right now
Motherhood is all a balancing act, and sometimes, even seemingly "important" tasks get lost in the juggle. Don't berate yourself for missing book club, forgetting a girlfriend's birthday or bailing on another Pilates session. As a mom, you have big, big priorities - no matter how pint-size they currently are. As your kids grow older and more independent, you'll have the time to lead the church choir, take up gourmet French cooking or perfect the impossible yoga pose. Right now, your priorities center around those little ones - and that's perfectly OK.
Comparison is your nemesis
Let's face it; there's always going to be a peppy blonde on Instagram showing off her 26-inch waist two weeks after giving birth. But the truth of the matter is, most moms are feeling exactly like you - and it's not just about looks, either. Whether it's perfectly toned abs, a pristine house or just a baby that sleeps through the night, it's easy to feel intimidated by what you perceive is going "right" in another mom's life. But all that insecurity and (yes) judgment aren't doing anything to help you feel better about yourself. Getting back to who you really are isn't just about you - it's about how you're viewing (and treating) other moms, too.
The guilt is real
Whether it's not breast-feeding, dropping your kids at day care or turning down a killer promotion to stay at home, there's no end to reasons you can feel guilty as a mom. According to The New York Times, 51 percent of working moms feel guilty for not spending enough time with their children, while 55 percent of stay-at-home moms feel guilty for not contributing to the household income. Bottom line? Feelings of guilt don't necessarily mean you're failing or doing anything wrong. They just mean you're a mom.
After childbirth, breast-feeding and near-constant sleep deprivation and exhaustion, it's no wonder you don't feel like "yourself" anymore. The thing is, that's OK. You have time to get back to the person you were - or to become the person you want to be. What you don't have time for is insecurity and self-loathing. Not only will it make you miserable, but it can also affect your kids. A mom's biggest insecurities can often affect her children's self-confidence too. It's OK that you don't have the fittest bod, the cleanest house or the most delicious Sunday pot roast. But all that can come with time (if you want it). For now, give yourself some credit for everything you've accomplished thus far. Chances are, those accomplishments are pretty cute.
If motherhood is feeling overwhelming, don't be afraid to simplify. What you need is just a little extra help - like child products that work double duty. The Strolly is a stroller that transforms withyour child, converting into a trike/bike as your child grows.
Kristen has a journalism degree and has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.