On this episode of the Real Happy Mom Podcast, I am talking to Katie Kahvo. Katie is a wife, mother to a three-year-old and a life coach.
Katie started her work as a holistic nutritionist, but found that she was helping her clients more with dealing with the stresses of motherhood. As a result, she shifted her practice and gave more life coaching services.
In this episode, we talk about how you can lose yourself in motherhood. With the simple steps that she mentions in this episode, you will get back to feeling like you again instead of lost in motherhood.
As a mother, it is so easy to get to the place that you feel like you have lost yourself or lost your identity. Katie explains that this can easily
happen because being a new parent, especially for the first time mom, is so encompassing.
Your sweet little cherub requires so much attention. In addition, you are learning how to take care of a new baby and be the supermom that everyone talks about. Even if you think you know what you’re doing. You really don’t.
As a result, you put so much time and energy into figuring everything out and working through this transition into motherhood.
And I think that you kind of get into that routine and you get into that habit. And then as life continues on, even though the child grows older and may not be so dependent on you like they once were, it’s just a habit now. You just do it without really thinking about it. And then a few years go by or many years go by in some cases and all of a sudden I think we have this moment of you know, “what happened” and “who am I” and “what am I doing” and “what do I even like.”
When Katie said this I felt like I had Deja Vu. I remember clearly talking to one of my colleagues at work for the first time after having my first son.
And I was asked what do I like to do for fun. I had the dumbest look on my face and said: “I don’t know.” The truth is, I really didn’t know. I had wrapped myself and my identity into being a mom. I didn’t even knkow what my favorite food was anymore.
Have you lost yourself?
How can moms really tell if they have gotten to that point of losing themselves through motherhood?
Katie explains that if you are asking the questions (“what happened” and “who am I” and “what am I doing” and “what do I even like.”) or not sure of the answers, that is a good indicator that you are probably losing yourself in motherhood.
I think if you don’t feel clear on who you are and if you aren’t confident in yourself. If you’re not confident in your decision makings. Or one that I have heard a few times, is they’re not confident going out in public without their kids anymore and having an adult conversation. They don’t know how to talk about things outside of their kids. When we stop making time for ourselves. When we stop making self-care part of our regular routine. If you’re super stressed out, overwhelmed. If you’re constantly feeling frazzled, there’s a really good chance that you’re really disconnected from yourself.
Steps to regain your identity when lose yourself in motherhood
So how can you regain your identity and feel connected to yourself again?
First, know that you are not alone. Don’t let the feelings of shame and embarrassment take over because the truth is all moms have been here one time or another.
You are totally capable of coming out of this and regaining your identity again. Katie gives a 5 step process to help you regain your identity and feel like yourself again.
Start listening to the voices inside of your head. You know. The negative voices and phrases that you say in your mind.
Listen to the phrases that you say that aren’t necessarily negative, but all ways come up. Pay attention to that.
So mine, for example, was “I don’t know”. What are we having for dinner? I don’t know. What are we doing this weekend? I don’t know. What’s my next step in my business? Or how do I address this parenting issue? I don’t know.
Katie shared how she noticed that she was saying the phrase “I don’t know” every 10 minutes.
That phrase pops into my head and it can be really, really disempowering
Spend a day or two to paying attention to what you are saying and really what you are thinking.
So fear is a very powerful thing and it raises its head each and every time change happens. Each and every time growth happens. So it doesn’t mean though, just because fear has come up that that’s not the right direction to go in. So just because those voices are coming up doesn’t mean that we’re making the wrong decision or that we don’t really know the answer. Because probably we do. So pay attention to the things you repeating to yourself.
Once you have spent no more than a week listening and paying attention to the voices and phrases, write them down.
Rewrite the phrases
Now it is time to rewrite those phrases. By doing this you will be able to take back your power.
So back to Katie’s example of the phrase, “I don’t know.”
So for me, it was about stopping when I heard “I don’t know” pop into my head. I no longer let it come out of my mouth. That’s how I stopped it. And I reworded it to say, okay, “I’ll figure it out.” And it’s so much more powerful when you can do that. And if I couldn’t figure it out, then it was, “it wasn’t that important.”
You can also use positive affirmations to help with rewriting those phrases.
I have actually a whole blog post on writing affirmations because this is something that I think people are hesitant to a lot because they believe that affirmations are something we tell ourselves that isn’t true, but that we want it to be true. But affirmations can be that.
So another really common phrase that needs to be rewritten is “I don’t have time for that.” Having this phrase repeated in your head or coming out of your mouth can make you feel disempowered.
Instead of saying this, try saying “I have time to get the things done today that needed to be done and the rest will wait till tomorrow because I am only one person.”
Bring in silence
I think in our society that we live in with all the technology, with all social media, it is very fast paced. It’s very, very go, go, go, go, go. Expectations are high and we forget to take a step back and breathe.
It is so important to slow down and find time for stillness.
Katie mentions mediation and how meditation has been proven to be powerful and effective in bringing a positive impact on our lives.
Taking the time to just simply breathe is important.
It’s important to remember that slowing down can actually be more productive than speeding up. Because when we slow down, we allow for clarity. We allow for time to think about things. And to maybe we approach things a different way. Or let go of things that we’re doing that we’re just doing kind of habit that we don’t really need to be doing. So make time for silence.
You can make time for silence by:
- turning off the radio when you are driving alone.
- practicing meditation
- waking up before the kids
- leave for work a few minutes early so that you are not rushing
- put away phones, computers, and tablets
- do some type of physical activity like walking or even picking up the weeds outside
And another great thing about that is we often have all the answers inside of us. I think that we know what’s best for us. We know what’s best for our family. But when we’re going at such a fast pace constantly that we lose track of that. So taking that step back and slowing down can really give us clarity.
Envision and dream
Next, you want to allow yourself to dream. Allow yourself to envision things.
And I think this is one that is really, really difficult for people. It’s something that we often judge ourselves for. So say we have a big dream about something, it will pop into your head and we’ll be really excited for a couple of seconds. And then our practical mind comes in and says, yeah, right, who are you to do that? You have 3 kids and a full-time job and when are you ever gonna do that?
So, release the judgment and fear. Tell those thoughts that come against your dreams to shut up.
Just because you are dreaming doesn’t mean that you are going to act of every dream.
Or that every dream will come true. But give yourself the space to dream.
I know Jensen Sincero who writes the Badass books, which I love. There’s a quote from that book that says, “the invisible world creates the visible world.” So if you are so unhappy with your life right now. If you’re super stressed and overwhelmed. When you’re looking for change, sometimes we need to stop, take a step back and say, okay, so what do we want? What would be the ideal situation? Because a lot of times we don’t know that because we’ve never taken time to think about it.
So take time to dream and envision.
This last step is super powerful. But you have to be brave.
Katie explains that change and growth are hard and can be scary. But remember to be brave.
Because as Katie explains, our minds are made to keep us safe. Sometimes you will have to be brave and jump.
Katie’s best tip for moms to prevent them from losing their identity
I would say, do things that you enjoy. Don’t let go of that. Make that time for self care and continue to do things that you really like for you. It’s not the “kids like this and I’m going to go and do it.” It’s actually, “I really liked doing this too.” And that may include the kids or it may not.
I recommend if you are having a hard time trying to figure out the things that you enjoy, think back before you had kids and a husband.
What did you enjoy back then? What were your hobbies or favorite events to attend?
Katie also recommends trying new things until you find something that you like.
Trying something that seems interesting can give you something to look forward to and something fun for you to do. Plus, you will quickly find out if it is something that you truly enjoy doing.
Let me know in the comments if you feel like lose yourself in motherhood.
- Know that you are not alone. We have all been through this phase of feeling like we have lost our identity when we become mothers.
- Pay attention to the words and phrases that you constantly repeat.
- Replace negative phrases with positive ones.
- Make time for stillness and give yourself space to dream.
- Be brave because change and growth can bring on fear.
- Remember to do things that you enjoy.