A New Mom Reclaiming Her Life

We all talk about how you shouldn’t lose yourself when you get into a new relationship. We work so hard to maintain our individuality while merging into a relationship so that we still feel independent but can enjoy the aspects of spending time with a partner as well.

Well, what happens when you have a baby? As a new mom, I found myself really losing who I was.

Even before I had the baby, I didn’t recognize myself. I define my self worth by what I do (and if I really do it well). I had been working for the last 8-9 years and I had been dancing for a really long time and finding peace and happiness in that. But, as soon as I was a few weeks pregnant, I left my job due to the distances I was driving and I wasn’t allowed to do any other physical activity other than walk due to doctor’s orders. It was really hard for me. I still did see my friends but a lot of the activities I used to do were limited.

After I had the baby, there was obviously the time I needed to heal and get used to having a baby around. So that’s all I was doing for the first few months. But it was hard. You give yourself so entirely to this little human being. All of a sudden, the only label you have is mom. All of the other things you were disappear. At least, that is how I felt.

I’ve never been able to function in a one dimensional sense. Even though I worked in one profession, I was involved in so many other activities that really helped my life be well-rounded. So this was really a difficult way for me to live. There are women who fit so easily into the mother role and make themselves so well-rounded within that role. I’ve seen moms who plan activity after activity for them and their babies and it sounds amazing. I wish I could do that. But, after a recent breakdown, I realize that it’s not me. I need certain things in my life for me to feel like myself. And feeling like myself is the best thing I could do for my child.

I felt guilty wanting to be back in the workforce or wanting time to myself. I still haven’t gotten up the courage to have a girls night out without my baby. I want her to be with me at all times. But I have taken steps to reclaim who I was. I joined a gym and get an hour workout in a day which has done wonders to my self-esteem. I am looking to find other moms to hang out with. I have a found a new dance class that I’m really excited about. I also have taken steps to see if I can find a job that fits a schedule that would allow me to be home for my child whenever I want.

As much as I really wish I could do the stay at home mom thing with great joy, I know it’s not me. I need to find the things that help me feel like me so that I can really show my baby my best self, the person that I’m proud of, the person I want her to be proud of.

Who’s Cooking Tonight?

Last night, my husband made a full-fledged Indian dinner from scratch. Like from scratch from scratch. I don’t even know how to do that (not to say I’ve ever been a master at cooking or that I couldn’t learn how to). It was a pretty impressive sight. I’m definitely one of the lucky ones.

It’s a slightly odd feeling as well. I’ve grown up in a household where my dad can cook really well too so I’m not sure why this is the case. It’s odd just because I’ve grown up in a culture where it’s the woman’s job to cook and clean and take care of the family and house and it’s the man’s job to financially support and help out. These stereotypes are starting to be challenged and it leaves a gray area for us to figure out what we are supposed to be doing.

As a couple, we went 50/50 on almost everything. Initially, this did throw me off. Doesn’t the guy pay for everything? Here I was, this self-proclaimed independent woman and I was stuck in a stereotype of how it should be. In reality, 50/50 is the way an self-proclaimed independent woman should be approaching any situation. Once I reached that realization, it was easier to adjust. I also believe that that helped us respect each other more because we held our own.

Now, living in the same household, all of the duties are still supposed to be split 50/50. I can’t say that is always the case. Sometimes, I think my husband carries more than his weight. And knowing that makes me feel like I’m not doing my job. I’m still trying to figure out how to become the typical Indian wife where I do cook and clean and take care of everything. Due to the fact that responsibilities are being pretty equally distributed (at least in theory), I do manage to get confused about what my role is.

Trying to reconcile who I am to who I want to be to where we are in this world isn’t easy. Trying to reconcile being Indian to being American to being an independent woman isn’t easy. Trying to understand that there might be responsibilities that are stereotypically a woman’s job that the man does better and vice versa is a whole other challenge. You grow up with all of these ideal thoughts about what the world should be but being within your culture will still have an effect on you. I just didn’t realize how much. Breaking down the stereotypes is a challenge that we face head on in this generation all the time.

I’m proud that we are the way we are.  It gives our children a chance to have a more modern belief system intertwined with the parts of our culture that make sense to us. It also allows us to really do what we enjoy since we are not limited by pre-defined roles. I look forward to seeing how everything settles down in our lives and to see what our roles end up being like.