“When you become a mother, half of your personality goes away,” a friend once told me. She assured me it does come back, but in those early years, it’s incredibly easy to lose oneself.
I immediately understood what she was saying. I, too, had lost myself in the daily chaos of being a mom. I felt like I had lost a part of me that I was dying to get back.
I was feeling disconnected… like I had absolutely no space in the house I could call mine. Both of my boys had their own room. Even my husband had his own office… but not me.
As the person busy running around taking care of everyone else, where was my own place of refuge to try and recuperate from the day? As moms, it’s so easy to lose ourself in the family and house that we forget we are independent people who need, even yearn, for a space of our own. We need to remember that we are not just mothers and wives and household managers but full-fledged women.
Virginia Wolf once made the argument that all women need a room of one’s own (affiliate) if they were going to be successful writers. But I argue that all women need a room of their own, period.
Staking my Claim
Three years ago I decided the one way I could actually crawl back into feeling more of a human again was to find a space I could call my own, and it was one of the smartest decisions I could have made.
Before I reached this conclusion, our sunroom was a play space for the kids. We had a mini slide and the children’s toys in there. Sunlight would stream through the window and it was an enjoyable place to spend time. But as the kids hit the later toddler years, having the room as a playroom wasn’t quite so important. They began to take over the family room and work their way into the basement play area.
I saw my opportunity and claimed our sunroom to be my space. I kicked the family out of the sun room and made it mine. It is my refuge. My place to enjoy the sun. My place to curl up on the mini couch and enjoy the fireplace.
A Room of One’s Own
Even if you don’t have this kind of space for yourself…. find ONE PLACE in the house that is ALL YOURS. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be a room. But it should belong to you and only you. And have the family honor that space as yours… where you can reset, refill your tank and get ready to take on the world. Even if it’s just a place where you can put your papers and know they won’t be touched. Even if it’s just a sitting chair where you can read for 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter… but it should be YOURS and yours alone.
My children understand that this room isn’t theirs. They are invited to spend time here by me. And trust me, I do invite them. Recently on a cold, rainy weekend, I invited to boys to come hang out in my space, promising a fire in the fireplace, board games, snacks and my undivided attention. From their perspective, it’s a special time to just hang with me.
Having My Own Space Made Me a Better Mom
I know it may sound strange, but having my own space really did make me a better mom. It allowed me to feel like an individual person again. I can go into my sun room (which we call the green room because of the gardening green carpeting with white diamonds) and have my own cocoon. A place that I can recharge. I place that I can exercise my brain.
It’s also important for me to have my boys understand that I am my own person with my own thoughts. Having this room and having them learn how to respect my space is key in them learning that I am not just here to serve the family. And yes, there are lots of things that go into that — but trust me, having my own space was a physical indication of the fact that I have my own things going on outside of their daily needs.
As moms, we’re usually too busy taking care of everyone else. Isn’t it time to take care of yourself?
TELL ME: Do you have a space to call your own?