The journey of motherhood is never an easy one, but it is one that gives us a new perspective on life, family and even ourselves. We held a contest for moms to send in their stories in 300 words (at the minimum) to tell us about an experience or activity they’ve done as a way to reconnect with who they are as women beyond motherhood.
The prize was a spa getaway for 2 courtesy of our sponsor, Chevrolet Canada, to Ste. Anne’s Spa! We received so many entries and it was so hard for us to choose, but these two moms captured their stories best. Congrats to Harpreet Patel, a mother of three and Prathna Negandhi, a mother of two both living in the Greater Toronto Area, for sharing their ‘Road to Motherhood’ stories with us!
We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did!
Hapreet Patel, Mother of 3, My Road to Motherhood
As a stay-a-home mompreneur of three beautiful and busy boys, the road to re-connecting with myself takes a new turn every day. For the past ten years, I’ve been mentally writing my own self-help book on “How to do it all”. After all, there are two things that Iʼve always known: 1. I want to have lots of kids and 2. I want to be a strong, successful, self-employed businesswoman. How to make number one and two jive together?… well Iʼm still working on perfecting that.
Upon starting our family in 2006, I traded in my tailored suits for track pants and Iʼve never looked back. I left the corporate world to start my own business, which would allow me to work from home at my convenience so that I wouldnʼt miss a second of my kids growing up. Since then, my days have consisted of to-and-from school drives, trips to the park, DIY craft projects, prepping three meals a day and Iʼve even perfected my slap shot and goal-kick! That covers 6am-7pm and then my workday begins.
Long days and late nights on the computer started to catch up with me somewhere right after the arrival of my third son. I always felt as though there werenʼt enough hours in the day and struggled to find ways to juggle play dates and proposals with phonics and photo shoots! I hated the feeling of exhaustion, but more so I hated the way I looked. Frumpy was definitely not fun, but it was practical considering I could trade in my hour-long beauty regime for an extra hour of work time.
Being the ringleader of my very own circus was draining and it seemed as though everyone in the family was happy except me. Of course I was grateful for my wonderful husband and our little loves, but I was so desperately seeking some time that was just mine. Time to look inward, time for self-reflection, time for self-improvement. At that point, I made two decisions. First, I promised that I was going to take myself from frumpy to fabulous and I was going to document the experience with a glamorous photo shoot. I direct fashion shoots with beautiful models for a living, and this time, it was going to be my opportunity to get in front of the camera.
I wanted to forever remember the way I felt at this moment, and how much I needed this change in my life. I reflected on how much I have to be thankful for, and how lucky I am to stay at home with my children, while still being able to fulfill my passion for work and creativity. The photo shoot was a wonderfully liberating experience, and I will frame the portrait in my office with a quote that reads: “I promise to always find time for me.”
I am currently in the process of developing an event for moms to come out and experience the same thing with their own personal photo shoots. The second part of my plan to re-connect with myself was implementing “Mommy-o-clock” in our household. I am always available to my children…. Always! Every waking hour until they are tucked safely into their beds, I am on call for them. Trying to answer the phone or respond to emails while at the park or reading a story can be challenging, but Iʼll admit to sneaking some work in every now and again when I have the chance. Other than that, time that is all mine was almost non-existent on a daily basis. Now, when I find myself feeling overwhelmed or in need of some fresh air, I can tell the kids itʼs “Mommy-o-clock”. During this hour, they need to find something to do independently (or with Daddy) and I am able to do whatever I need to do.
Occasionally itʼs work, but 5 days out of 7, itʼs a walk in the park, time to reflect on the day, the week and on what is happening in the days to come. Itʼs also a time to think about things that worry me and challenges that I may face. I dedicate a few minutes of time to thinking about those things, so that I can file them away in the back of my mind, and not spend excess time worrying about them.
Taking advantage of ‘Mommy-o-clockʼ has allowed me to reflect inwards, get some much needed exercise, work on my challenges and most importantly, spend some time away from the kids which is not about work or commitments. This is one path that I plan to follow for a very long time
Prathna Negandhi, Mother of 2, My Road To Motherhood
After having my first child at 27, I had resigned myself to no longer existing as an individual. I had an amazing little being who was totally dependent on me. The pressure of parenthood as well as fulfilling my roles as wife and daughter in law in a traditional family was overwhelming. It wasn’t until my son was one and a half did I realize that if I didn’t do something to maintain my identity as a woman I was going to crumble into a miserable, depressed heap. That wasn’t going to do my child any good. Finding the outlet for my self-preservation proved to be easier then I thought.
After visiting the salon for a hair cut and an interesting conversation with my stylist, in which he asked me if I had just had my make-up professionally done, I called my sister. She surprised me by saying, “Prathna, I’ve been telling you for years that you would be so good at this!” That September I enrolled myself in a part-time course in Make Up Artistry And Special Effects Make Up. It was the best thing I could have done for myself at the time.
Twice a week I connected with women who had a common interest and was learning about something that gave me joy. By the time I graduated, my daughter was born. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to embark on a new career and be home with a newborn and a toddler. I’m sure a lot of mothers can attest to that! The great thing is that I have an amazing and supportive partner in life. I get the luxury to work when and if I get the yen.
I also find that connecting with other mom’s is a great way to reconnect with being an individual. I have an amazing group of friends who I have lunch with almost every week, other girlfriends I go out for dinner with once every 2 months, and breakfast dates with some pretty smart and motivating moms! Trying new things, even if it doesn’t always work out (sigh, jujitsu probably wasn’t the wisest choice), is a great way to find what works for you or not.
The point is to get out there and do something. Not to think that “now I’m a mom and I can’t have a life of my own’. I admit that I still fall into that thought process, but I remind myself that I’m not only a Mom, but also a role model. I want to my children to know that I love them more then life itself, but that I’m also a human being with emotions, needs and goals. I don’t want to become lost in all of my roles and lose who I am. I want to my son to learn to respect a woman’s individuality and my daughter to learn that she has the potential to be more then a wife and mother.
I love being home with my children. I get to be there for all of their milestones, learning experiences and celebrations, big or small. But doing things for myself, whether it’s taking a course for the enjoyment of it or spending time with my girlfriends, allows me to be me. Rediscovering who you are after having children can be fun. You’ll realize how much you’ve grown and changed and become a better you. I did!
©masalamommas and masalamommas.com, 2016-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to masalamommas.com and Masalamommas online magazine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.