Motherhood, Personal Growth, Perspective

What Does It Mean To Be A Wild Lass?

Last weekend my cousin visited. He told us about his new apartment, where he lived by himself with no roommate. “I remember those days,” I said jokingly.

Do you recall a time when you had fewer responsibilities? For me, it’s when I was single and dating, making more money than I ever had before, and living alone. That lifestyle was a wild adventure I’d never been on before, and I loved every second of it. And I loved who I was back then.

Have you ever been wild and adventurous? When was that time in your life? Do you feel like you’ve lost that person?

My circumstances have changed. I’m married to the love of my life and we have two beautiful girls, ages 4 and 3. It means a tighter budget and more responsibilities every day. Cooking for and taking care of those tiny humans has taken over my life, and a little while ago, it never occurred to me that it should be any other way. I work part-time as a writer, but I have to work that around my family obligations because those come first.

Listen closely: you are still YOU. Having the 24/7 job of “Mama” is exhausting. It’s the hardest, best job in the world. But underneath it all, you’re still that person who used to feel wildly adventurous. Don’t lose her.

I created A Wild Lass because I want women, mothers especially, to realize that they aren’t defined by one thing. A mother and a wife are beautiful {large} parts of you, but you are also

a dreamer. An adventurer. 

You’re not wild in the sense that you want to run away. But part of you knows who you used to be and who you want to become. And you’re going places.

​What I want you to know is that you can plan for the future. Realize that every bit of you, even the non-mom parts of you, are part of the way you were made. You have your own road map. We support you 100%.

If you’re ready to find that woman you have always been, deep within the depths of motherhood, then keep reading. Below are a few guidelines for remembering who you are and bringing her to the surface again.

*(Keep in mind, I offer a lot of suggestions below. By no means do you need to do any of them, and I wouldn’t recommend tackling them all at once. Start with a small change that seems manageable, then add another change. As they become habits, you’ll start to find the woman you are (other than just the mama side). Notice I didn’t say the woman you used to be. We are all becoming someone different as we learn and grow, and going backwards isn’t the goal. The goal is to be your genuine self.)

Remember Who You Are

It helps to remember who you are. You might have forgotten about her. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you remember:

  • Do I have any hobbies now? What did I used to enjoy doing?
  • Why have I stopped doing those things?
  • Have my interests changed?
  • What would I need in order to pursue those fun things again?
  • Would I rather pursue something new and interesting?
  • What are my skills? Are there any that need honing? Are there any I’d like a refresher on to build confidence?
  • Who am I really? How would I describe my personality?
  • Do I like that person? How have I changed since I’ve become a mom?
  • If I don’t like her, what needs to change?

These are just a few questions to get you started. Often journaling can help you with this. If you’re scarred by a history of someone reading your diary when you were younger (like I am) and don’t want to write anything down, that’s okay. You can record voice diary entries on your phone. Talking it out with yourself can help you process and think through things.

Stay Healthy

You can’t raise kiddos unless you’re healthy yourself. Have you ever had the flu at the same time as your kids? It’s miserable. It’s beyond miserable.

The same is true of the rest of life. You need to curate a mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy body to be able to do the best you can at being a mother and at being yourself. Start by scheduling your annual well visit with your family doctor if you haven’t already. It’s easy to skip those appointments and say we’ll get to them when we have more time.

Do the same with your dentist, and then consider your mental health. Would it help you to talk to a therapist? Just because you see a counselor doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It actually means you’re aware of your needs and you’re taking care of yourself. Having someone else’s feedback can help you process and stay aware of how you’re becoming the best you.

I didn’t find out how many of my friends saw a therapist until I became vocal about my mental health struggles and needs. Then it seemed like everyone I already knew visited a therapist regularly, and some even saw the same one! We had a lot more in common than we thought, and our friendships deepened because of our vulnerability.

Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself instead of others. Find this part of the woman you are, the one who recognizes her own value and seeks to preserve her health.

Take Care of Your Body

Medical professionals say we need exercise to keep our bodies strong.

Personally, I hate exercise. I do it because I’m supposed to, and because (okay, okay, I admit it) my mental and emotional health are better. 

If I’m in the regular habit of working out or moving my body, I also feel more energy and less like an old person when I get out of bed in the morning. I don’t notice this benefit unless I’m exercising regularly. One workout won’t give me that feeling.

Whatever exercise means for you (walking, swimming, Zumba in your basement, visiting the gym, mommies exercise classes where the kids run wild), you should get back into it. Or start up, if you’ve never done it.

If that means every day for you, that’s great. If that means once a week, that’s great, too. However this looks in your season, take the time to move your body. Take a walk by yourself after dinner every night, or twice a week.

Look for the woman you are, the one who takes care of her body and (if exercise is tough for you) makes herself do hard things because they’re beneficial.

Preserve Relationships

Take that evening walk with your partner (we like to call my brother-in-law who lives 2 miles away to come for 45 minutes after the kids are in bed so we can get away for a short time and talk). Let’s face it, when you fall into bed after a long day and you have to get up early for work the next day, no one’s doing much talking.

Remember who you felt like when you fell in love. Choose to be vulnerable and let your partner know what you’re going through and how you feel. Why are you looking for that part of yourself again? What does it mean that you’ve focused so much on being a mom that you’ve lost the rest of yourself? Try to explain, and if your partner doesn’t understand at first, be patient. 

Try scheduling some dates if you haven’t been on one in awhile, and remember to ask about them, too. Show them you want to reconnect and most people will respond by opening up.

Positive Encouragement

Some call it “self-talk.” Whatever you call it, it’s important to notice how you’re talking to yourself and make some changes if you need to. Is your automatic response to a small mistake to tell yourself, “You’re so dumb! How could you let that happen?”

Making changes is hard. Start by noticing how you talk to yourself. Set reminders on your phone to help you stop and notice, and leave yourself reminder notes at your workspaces (desk, kitchen sink, bathroom mirror).

Make a list of helpful encouragements to tell yourself instead. You can post those near your reminders to take stock of how you’re talking to yourself. If you’re going to prioritize being your own person again, you need to encourage that person.

Finally, remember to give yourself grace. While you can have grit to get through anything and tough it out, you also need a little TLC sometimes. 

If you catch yourself reverting back to the negative self-talk, don’t beat yourself up about it. Remind yourself that you’re growing and you’ll do better next time. Maybe repeat some of your positive encouraging phrases to yourself. The more you hear them, the more naturally your internal monologue will include them.

Your Latest Journey

Finding the person you are underneath the mom responsibilities is only the latest journey you’re embarking on. Going on adventures isn’t anything new; it’s just that this one is a bit more of a journey of the heart. I’m not suggesting you find freedom by going to the bar more with your mom friends or staying out late like you did in college. In fact, I’ve intentionally avoided the word “freedom.”

You are already free. You’re already a wonderful human being. You just might have forgotten about the beautiful person you are, buried in the nursing or formula mixing and preschool and learning to ride without training wheels. Raising good tiny humans is a huge undertaking, one that can be pretty absorbing. 

Just do me one favor? Don’t forget about the fabulous woman you are, because you were that person first. Those adorable kiddos are looking at her every time you wipe the counter, wipe the noses, and wipe the dishes. Remember to use some of the strategies above to help her shine again.

For more about being A Wild Lass, check out the rest of the blog. Don’t forget to follow A Wild Lass on Instagram and Twitter.

Kate Gassman
Kate Gassman

Kate Gassman is a reader, a writer, a coffee lover, and a chaos coordinator for her beautiful family. Her motto is “Always choose both.” She’s also the creator of A Wild Lass Lifestyle Blog for Adventurous Moms, where she seeks to help women realize who they are amidst life as a mom. Someday Kate wants to retire early and bartend on a beach in the Caribbean with her hubby, who is her absolute favorite person ever.

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