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You were someone before you were their mom—and she still matters

I feel like the woman I was before I became a mother is someone I am familiar with, but I don't know her all that well—she's more like an acquaintance. Honestly, I have to think really hard to remember what it was like to be her.

You were someone before you were their mom—and she still matters

I was mindlessly scrolling Instagram and saw this quote: "You were someone before you were their mom—and she still matters."

My heart felt that one as I read it. My mind sort of came to attention.

Yeah, that's true, I thought.

I used to be someone different. I slept really late. (And I never felt guilty about it.) I spent money way more willy-nilly than I do now. I went to concerts and stayed out late dancing. I worried a lot more about what makeup I was wearing (versus what my soft stomach looks like now). I made plans with friends on a whim and my husband and I traveled whenever we felt like it.

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I never thought twice about the timing of my workout classes—I just signed up for the ones I wanted to do, when I wanted to do them. I made my hair appointments whenever there were openings, I didn't have to check with anyone—my roots were always tended to.

I weighed less and my clothing sizes were much smaller. We stayed up so late binge watching TV shows and sometimes on the weekends, we'd just laze around on the couch for hours. I finished books I started, I finished conversations, I finished the thoughts inside my brain.

I would get up in the morning and shower, put my makeup on, do my hair, get dressed in "real" clothes and go to work. My husband and I planned fun adventures on the weekends that only him and I had to agree on.

I had dreams and goals and a vision of what my life would look like. And starting a family was one of them.

I had my first baby five years ago. Then, after two years with our daughter, we welcomed another daughter. Then, two years after that one, we welcomed another one. (We've been busy.) Five years have zoomed by and all of a sudden, after reading that quote on Instagram, I felt like the wind was knocked out of me.

I feel like the woman I was before I became a mother is someone I am familiar with, but I don't know her all that well—she's more like an acquaintance. Honestly, I have to think really hard to remember what it was like to be her.

I think that's because I've been deep in the trenches for the past five years. I'm all the way down here—under the diapers and laundry piles and preschool paperwork and doctor's appointments and hours breastfeeding and boxes of toys and dress up bins and all of it. All of motherhood.

I'm down here, with this title 'mother' weighing heavy on my shoulders. It's felt so heavy, I haven't been able to climb out of this trench. Or maybe I just haven't been trying as hard to? I've been living among the chaos, feeling too overwhelmed to try.

But I have to. Because that woman does matter. She really matters to me.

I keep thinking if I take care of myself—if I go to bed earlier and get more sleep, if I talk to a therapist to work through some stuff, if I plan fun date nights, if I schedule dinners with my girlfriends, if I make time to exercise—if I do some of those things that made me 'me' back then, then I'll find my way back to myself somehow. I'll remember more easily.

And I don't know if that's true, necessarily. I don't know if I'll ever know her very well again. Not like I used to. But I think part of the process of digging out of the trenches is getting comfortable with that fact—of not feeling like her anymore. Because I no longer am her.

Instead, right now is about getting acquainted with a new version of myself—not the pre-mom version or the new-mom version, but the version who realizes she's lost herself a bit in this big, beautiful, messy life.

I've been surviving. I've been managing, just getting by. But I deserve more than that. So I'm going to create more, get more, believe in more. I'm a work in progress—and one worth tending to.

So, little by little, I'll dig. I'll try a new yoga class or I'll plan a weekend away with my husband. I'll try out new hobbies and spend time with friends who make me feel like the best version of myself. I'll journal and meditate and I'll focus on personal growth.

My ultimate promise to myself is this:

I will not diminish my feelings.

I will treat my dreams with respect.

I will forgive myself when I make mistakes.

I will not try to do it all.

I will allow myself to be vulnerable enough to accept help.

I will be gentle, kind and considerate with myself.

I will remind myself that I matter—very much—to three tiny humans and one man who loves me as I am.

And, possibly most importantly, I matter to myself—past, present and future iterations of me—too. ❤️

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In This Article

    Nuna

    New mama life is often fraught with decision fatigue. From choosing a pediatrician to choosing a baby monitor, it can be difficult to know which solutions are made to last. Fortunately, Nuna just made one very important decision a lot easier. That's because their new MIXX Next Stroller has everything a new parent needs to get out, get around and get everything done.

    An upgraded version of their popular MIXX stroller, the MIXX Next features a more compact fold (shaving 6.5 inches off the folded size, down to 27.5 inches long and 23.6 inches wide) thanks to a compact fold-away axle where the rear wheels tuck under the frame when it folds. Plus, the new model also stays standing when folded—meaning no more back-straining as you bend to pick up your folded stroller and heave it into the trunk. Instead, the MIXX Next can be tucked more easily into storage whenever your ride comes to an end.


    Nuna Mixx Next Stroller


    Speaking of the ride, your little one will love the new rear-wheel Free Flex suspension™ and front-wheel progression suspension technology that absorbs more shock as you roll over uneven terrain. The wheels have also been updated to tough, rubber foam-filled tires for a smoother, more durable ride and the no re-thread harness makes it easy to clip your baby in securely and quickly. And when all those gentle bumps lull your baby to sleep? The seat features a five-position recline that adjusts quickly with one-hand—all the way down to a true-flat sleeper recline—just don't forget to move them to their crib when you arrive home. (Don't forget to extend the water repellent, UPF 50+ canopy to keep those sleepy eyes shaded.) Even better, the all-season seat keeps baby cozy in winter and unsnaps to mesh for a cooler ride in the summer.

    Perhaps most importantly, though, this stroller is made to last. (After all, what's the point of solving a mama dilemma if it creates another one a few months down the road?) The MIXX Next pairs perfectly with all Nuna PIPA™ series infant car seats using the included car seat ring adapter, and then adapts to a child seat that can face toward you (for a little face time) or forward for when your little one is ready to take on the world. All in all, this stroller gets you where you need to go with a child up to 50 pounds, meaning it's the only one you'll ever need.

    The MIXX Next is available in three colors and retails for $749.95.

    This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

    So, what's new this week?

    Happiest Baby: Baby sleep solutions designed by the experts

    Created by renowned pediatrician, baby sleep expert and (as some might say) lifesaver Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby has been helping new parents understand and nurture their infants for close to two decades. Building on the success of his celebrated books and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block he's developed groundbreaking, science-based product solutions that conquer a new parent's top stressor—exhaustion.

    WSEL Bags: Dad-designed diaper bags that think of everything

    WSEL stands for work smart, enjoy life—an ethos we couldn't agree with more. Founded by a stay at home dad who struggled to find a diaper bag that he not only wanted to use, but one that would last far beyond the baby years, these premium, adventure-ready backpacks are ideal for everything from errands to week-long getaways.

    Codex Beauty: Exceptionally effective sustainable skin care

    Codex Beauty's line of sustainable plant-based skin care blends the science of plant biology with biotech innovations, to create clinically proven, state-of-the-art products for all skin types. They're all vegan, EWG and Leaping Bunny verified and created in collaboration with Herbal Scientist Tracy Ryan who uses concepts dating back to the 8th century leveraging plants like sea buckthorn and calendula flower. Not only are we totally crushing on the innovative formulas that are in the packaging but we're in love with the sustainable sugarcane-derived tubes as well.

    Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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