You’re not yourself. Are you ok?

You’re not yourself. Are you ok?

mother self discovery

I’ve been hearing this quite a bit recently and it’s got me thinking. I know I’m not myself, I feel different, my thoughts are different, I have goals and am often distracted thinking about things I want to do next so am not always present like I used to be, but the main question I have is who actually am I? Maybe a bit deep for a Sunday but it’s definitely something I’m struggling with as my children get older.

There was the ‘Before Me’, when I was a fun loving party animal, then Pregnant me, followed sharply by New Baby me, not long after I became Two Baby me, which led to PND me, then I got better, my children got older, and more self sufficient and I’m left with. Who?

I genuinely don’t know. When I’m in my usual environment, school run, parties etc, I’m absolutely fine, confident, bubbly, cracking jokes, (mostly!), comically moaning about a crap day, but recently I’ve started spreading my wings a little and attending blogging events and conferences and I’ve realised that I am hopeless in these situations.

It’s not that I’m not the real me online, it’s just much easier to be myself from behind the screen, when I’m actually face to face with people in the real world, I get tongue tied, have a crisis of confidence, will they recognize me, will they like me as much as they seem to in our twitter conversations? I stumble over words, I’ve even started blushing again, something I thought I’d firmly put in the Before Me box!

Is this because it’s built on an online world? Where you can sit and chat to people in your pyjamas without them ever knowing, (or type a blog post in this instance!), I am totally myself online but I wonder if that is the myself that I could be without all the usual hang ups that face to face interaction brings. When I’m in a real life scenario, all the things that used to haunt me come back with force. All the negative thoughts, am I good enough? What am I doing here? Do I have a right to be here? Coupled with the self doubt, they’re a really big blogger, why would they want to talk to me? What the hell am I wearing? My clothes looked fine when I left but seriously, in comparison to everyone else who seems more glamorous, more shiny, more put together somehow, I suddenly feel a bit frumpy. And overweight. (Although I’m apparently not, according to the very important colourful looking chart at the Doctors the other day, a first in a very long time!)

But is this more that this is just a passage back into the real world that every stay, or work from home parent experiences? For the last seven or so years, I have been on a journey, a mad, exhilarating, exciting, scary, happy, sad, heartbreakingly joyous journey and of course that has changed me, as it would change anyone. The things I once thought were so important, I now realise really really aren’t. I scan the bookshelves and lay my hand upon a title that has been so well read that the spine is almost destroyed, and I read the blurb and have no interest in reading it. Books were so important to me once, I even learnt how to read whilst brushing my teeth and would often get caught with a torch under the duvet trying to squeeze in ‘just one more chapter’!! Not anymore though.

My reading tastes have changed, firstly to the big book that showed me every stage of my baby’s journeys to being, then to baby help books, weaning books, super nanny toddler books and now, well now I don’t really have the time to devote to a book. I put my everything into this blog and the social media aspect that goes hand in hand with it. Every spare moment I am writing, or reading the words of the other wonderful people I have discovered on this new journey. And I think that is ok. For now. One day I would like to get back into reading but there is plenty of time for that, the books will still be there.

And the other things that I loved doing, long hikes, that went out the window a long time ago, however, I can see glimpses of it returning in the not too distant future, just with two small versions of me in tow. Who whinge more then me about hills! So now we try to find things that we like doing as a family. So the things I like doing now are actually shaped by other people. The blogging aspect is something I do just for me. I leave the family behind, I get the train, I stay in hotels with people I’ve never met in real life until that day and I walk into rooms filled with people that all seem to know each other and I mingle and I chat and try my hardest to be the inner me that comes through online.

So I suppose what I’m saying is that I’m choosing to leave my safe and comfortable dent I’ve made in my life, and to step out and start on some sort of a new journey to try and find out who Post Baby me is. It’s scary. And it would be much easier to stay nestled in my comfort zone with the remote and a packet of chocolate hobnobs but I’m determined to do one thing, (maybe not every day, but every month at least!), that scares me. I recently tackled my spider phobia, which was a huge deal for me. And I intend to keep pushing myself into new situations and attend blogging events and try new books and watch films and to keep blogging, and putting myself out there and I’ll see what happens.

Hopefully next year I’ll be able to sit here, confident in the knowledge that I am very much myself, and know what that actually means! So next time someone say, ‘You’re not yourself, are you ok?’ I think I’ll just say, ‘I’m so glad I have such perceptive friends! I’m not myself, but actually, I’m not entirely sure who that is.’ and hopefully they will all understand because surely we’re all in a similar boat.

How have you transitioned from parenthood back into ‘still a parent but back in the non-parent world too’? (And I  write for a living! Any ideas for a better way of phrasing that?!)

 

25 Comments

  1. A great and honest post that has got me thinking. Thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts and I hope that slowly you will have your answers .
    Laura:Adventures with J recently posted…Canvasdesign Silver Canvas Print ReviewMy Profile

  2. You know when I walked up to you Britmums and kind of invaded your space for a while, do you know what was going through my head? Pretty much everything you wrote in paragraphs 3 and 4! I was so nervous about approaching you, but am so pleased that I did! You are all sorts of fabulous both online and offline – and don’t you ever forget it! Xxx
    Catherine @pushingthemoon recently posted…Laurie Colwin, Preserved Lemons & Harry Potter – Little LovesMy Profile

  3. I really enjoyed meeting you at Blog On, you seemed confident enough xxx I look forward to hearing all about your post baby adventures x
    RachelSwirl recently posted…#MySundayPhoto – ChangesMy Profile

  4. We do change with time and parenting changes us a lot!! I honestly think that many of us find it tough when we push ourselves out of the norm and into new things. I am glad you are approaching it as a process of discovery. #bigpinklink
    Kirsten Toyne recently posted…To All Mothers with Young ChildrenMy Profile

  5. My mummy feels like she is constantly changing and growing. She changes depending on different groups of people she hangs around with too. Even in her 30’s she doesn’t know who she really is… #BigPinkLink
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Celebrating PJ Masks!My Profile

  6. This was such an interesting read. It covers so many aspects, but I was particularly interested in your comments about attending blogging events and how tricky you find them. I’m going to Blogfest and this will be my first one. It is such a weird thought that all these virtual people will actually be there! I’m really looking forward to it, but it is daunting too. We do go through many transformations in our lives and as we do and we are taken out of another comfort zone, it is always quite difficult. However, it’s what keeps us motivated as individuals and I love your honesty in this post. Alison x #bigpinklink

  7. What an interesting, thought-provoking post and a very honest insight into the journey you are on. I think that ‘impostor’ syndrome is quite common for us women, that feeling of not belonging – I get the sense of it all the time in varying ways. Like you, I have found that becoming a mother has transformed me in ways I didn’t expect and anticipate. It’s exciting though and you are just starting out on a new beginning. Wishing you lots of luck and fun #bigpinklink

  8. This really resonates with me. I’m not sure I was confident with my before me but I knew who I was. Adjusting to mummy me is really hard. I feel like I’m losing my identity by the day but I guess I’m not, its just evolving… A lovely read hun, I would never have known you wrote it in your PJ’s.
    #BigPinkLink
    Kirsty – winnettes recently posted…My October Baking ShowcaseMy Profile

  9. I have gone to no blogging events scary! Fair play to you for going. I promise your blog is great and you deserve every inch the respect that goes with it. I find my new thing is the baby horror stories. They are EVERYWHERE since I had babies. Shudder xx #bigpinklink

  10. This is a great post, very honest and inspiring. I have a similar feeling of having lost my sense of self at the moment. I am trying to get into blogging, have just gone back to work, am still adjusting to having 2 kids, not 1 and some days I’m not sure which way I’m going! x #bigpinklink
    claire recently posted…Sweet Potato, Carrot and Apple SoupMy Profile

  11. I have always thought you come across as hugely confident and when I met you at Blog On I admired your confidence in person. I felt as though I was a bumbling, nervous wreck, and for a lot of “real life” I feel I am simply winging it, where as on line I am able to hide behind my computer and say things much more eloquently in writing. I won’t ever be the person that I was pre-children, nor would I want to be, but neither am I the person that I was immediately afterwards. I think all of us are constantly evolving into something new and different, depending on our circumstances at the time, but I do think that the older I get the less I care about what people think of me, and that’s something I am definitely wanting to keep hold of. #bigpinklink
    five little doves recently posted…Our final day of rainbows, featuring Ip Dip Sky Blue.My Profile

  12. Finding the ‘post baby me’ is definitely tougher than expected. I always just thought I’d go back to being… you know, me. It just doesn’t work like that. Good luck! #bigpinklink
    Twin Pickle recently posted…Pumpkin Wars: The Six Year Old Competitive Streak.My Profile

  13. Fab post and I totally get what you mean. I’m finding it very difficult to carve out my own identity. That’s despite my freelance work, blogging and running. It’s just not the same. Fancy a night out sometime where we carve out a new, temporary identity as gin swigging drunks??
    Nat.x
    Plutonium Sox recently posted…Interviews With Pets Chapter 2 – Leia’s StoryMy Profile

  14. Loved reading this. Always thinking about how i have changed and if i a, still the same person i was before being a mum. scary really! #bigpinklink

  15. Lou!! I can absolutely relate to this but you capture it so beautifully. I’m about to attend my first blogging conference this month (Blogfest) and whilst I’m so excited I’m actually really quite nervous. There is a real security in typing from the comfort of your home, and it allows us to be confident, funny and bold. I can only imagine how I’m going to feel walking into a room full of people that have inspired me and motivated so much this last year. You have achieved so much already though – you should be incredibly proud of your new you – even if you’re not quite sure who she is just yet. xx #BigPinkLink

  16. I’ve never been to a blogging event but I would feel exactly the same way. The problem is with being on social media a lot is that you do come across people who look put together all the time!

    I lost a lot of my identity after I had my first baby, too. About to have my second but hoping I will remember that after it’s all settled down I need to figure out who I am again.

    Well done for trying to do things that scare you … I’m forming a little list of my own comfort zones to break out of … but the thought of doing it is, obviously, quite terrifying!

    Really honest post that resonated with me, thank you #bigpinklink
    Meg recently posted…Get into board gaming. You know you want to.My Profile

  17. I’m forever questioning who I am now, such an honest post. I think it’s good to change and get new interests/make new friends. As long as you’re happy it’s worth spending time to find out exactly who you are and what you want!

    #Bigpinklink

  18. This is such a great post and one I think we can all relate to. I started my blog as a way of trying to find the me that wasn’t housewife/full time mum. I don’t think I’m there yet, but it’s certainly helping. I’m incredibly shy and feel really uncomfortable walking into a room full of strangers but I do hope to attend a conference one day. Speaking to people online is so much easier!
    #Bigpinklink
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…Words To Live By #5: Be KindMy Profile

  19. I think that this is something every mom can relate to, I know I certainly can.

  20. The thing about blogging and meeting people in reality is that you seem to have a connection immediately online. You write an honest and insightful post (like this!) that resonates with someone (many people in fact) and they reply and comment and share. But in the real world you don’t go up to people and say ‘hi I’m X. I don’t know about you but I’m not feeling myself these days’ (or maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong? Lol) I think it’s so much harder to find a topic or a meaningful ice breaker. As for walking into a room full of people I think I’ve got more slightly more comfortable with this (through my work). I used to feel like I had to go up to people. But good things happen if you just stand and watch. I bet someone will come up and make you feel at ease. Give it a go next time, I’d love to know how you get on. Ruth xx

  21. Such a refreshingly honest post. As a blogger I often have doubts and the feeling that I shouldn’t be here. But then so many bloggers seem to feel the same way. Maybe it goes with the territory. #bigpinklink

  22. I understand this all too well. . Your post has made me think more about the journey I am on and the fact that there are many others like you who are asking the same questions. I fear the uncertainty and I think that’s what I am struggling – what will I be in a couple years time? What will I be when I am no longer known as XX’s mum? I hope to reach that same conclusion, and hopefully in the great company of friends too. Here’s to a new chapter in our lives.
    Agent Spitback recently posted…Mother Takes Legal Action Against “Breast Is Best” Claims as Child Turns Out to be Weird as Any Other KidMy Profile

  23. I don’t think it’s possible not to change after becoming a parent is it? Life changes, priorities change – it’s a learning curve for us all! #bigpinklink
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…#MySundayPhotoMy Profile

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