Having children is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
But it also is the hardest. There are many, many reasons why -- some of which I discuss (ad nauseam, some of you probably say) on this blog.
One hard thing that I realized just recently, though, is just how thoroughly having children disrupts one's routines and habits, making room for the wants and needs of the little people you've created. This is not a complaint; it's just the way it is.
But just in the last few months or so, glory be, I see little pieces of the old me coming back.
For example, after I had twin boys, I somehow lost the ability to make my bed every morning. I'd make it sometimes, but not everyday. And this was a cause of stress for me. I like having a made bed. I like the way it makes even a cluttered room seem more orderly, and I feel like I sleep better getting into a bed that's been made, as opposed to one that sat all day, bedclothes in a heap, pillows flattened, sheets getting cold.
Then, before I could get back my bed-making groove, I got pregnant with Clair. So add in being pregnant, tired, wrangling toddlers, working, stressed, etc. etc., and the bed became collateral damage yet again. (I can't tell you how much it annoyed me -- and also how it somehow made me less tidy about the rest of the room too, which just compounded my annoyance and stress.)
But as of late, I have been getting up and making the bed first thing, just like I used to do before I had kids. I don't recall making a conscious decision to get back into it. I just got up one day, made the bed, and I've been making it ever since. Just like that.
My old DNA, buried under my new Mommy DNA -- and my new normal life of busy-ness and kids and schedule-juggling -- fought its way to the surface. It was a hard-fought, 3 year-long battle, but the Tanika who makes her bed every morning emerged victorious! And guess what? My bedroom is just a smidge tidier now too! Hooray!
Another casualty of having kids that has come back? Flossing!
Seriously, people. I cannot even tell you how far down on the list of priorities flossing dropped after having kids. It was like my brain could not make space for even those two small minutes -- in the morning or at night. Or ever, frankly.
But, as with my bed-making mojo, sometime recently I started flossing again every day! I don't know what prompted me to pick up the flosser -- but boy am I glad I did. I feel so much better about myself! Cheeeeeese!
I am getting this down in print for two reasons:
1) To give myself hope that more of myself will emerge over time. I love the new Mommy me. But after having kids, you do mourn a bit for your old life, or at least certain pieces of it. People who say they don't mourn are lying -- or droids. So it's nice to see these small slivers of the old me coming back so naturally, without a major declaration or a whole lot of effort. I guess this is just how long it takes to get back to the old normal.
2) To let other Moms and women-who-will-one-day-be-Moms know that this happened to me. In case anyone else is mourning pieces of her old self, know that it gets better.Whether it's big things like your career ambition or sex drive or body image (still working on that one, folks!) or little things like flossing or finding one ounce of yourself to even try to care about that pile of mail that keeps growing and growing in that basket over there. (You know the one I'm talking about.)
You can come back! You will come back! Maybe not all of the old you --and certainly not all of your old life -- but give yourself some time, ladies. And cut yourself some slack.
*Now, if only the old Tanika who took her birth control pills RELIGIOUSLY, like clockwork, every single day would come back. That woman, if you're listening, way down deep under all the new junk I've acquired? Come out, come out wherever you are! Or I'll have to replace you with IUD Tanika. And I hear that chick is no joke.