10 Ways to Find Yourself Again in Motherhood

So I wrote this post about us as moms not forgetting ourselves (that’s a link to it).

And, well, it resonated. Like big time.

And I’ve received request after request after request asking for words about how to go about finding oneself in the midst of motherhood. I’m not an expert, mind you, just a mom with a heart for us as moms and a deep desire for us to find that happy and ourselves again.

So here’s my list of ten ways that I found myself — I hope they bless you.

1. Recognize that you have just might have put yourself on the back burner. I think it’s really easy for us as moms to martyr without even realizing it. We live in a world of I’m fine and it’s okay and it doesn’t really matter and it becomes super easy to forget that we, in fact, do matter. One of the hardest steps in finding myself again was admitting to myself that I was lost. And it was uncomfortable – know that – but when you push through the uncomfortable great things can happen.

2. Know the season of motherhood you are in. Really really really take note of this. For instance if you have a newborn you are in a place of tremendous giving and sleep deprivation and so forth. This is not the time to probably attempt to be a world traveling speaker. But you still can take care of you – rest and watching an extra show and dreaming. Or writing or reading or whatever you can do. Knowing the season of motherhood can really help with lessening the expectations that can lead to discouragement.


3. Expect resistance. Yes, my friends, this. ¬†Sometimes people don’t like change. If you’ve always been a certain way and all of a sudden you’re doing new things or saying no to stuff or yes to other stuff some people might not like it. Resistance is honestly a sign that something is changing. Think of a diamond and how much pressure it must go under in order to become the beauty that it is today. You’ll have pressure and good days and bad days – but remember – your heart is worth it. Don’t bury it in hopes that someday you’ll have time — because today is the gift of time that you’ve been given.

4. Expect to feel some guilt. I know that I can tell you to not have guilt, but seriously, my friends, you’ll probably have guilt. I don’t even know really what to say with regards to guilt – don’t be hard on yourself about it – maybe instead see it as you wrestling with finding you and wanting to be the best mom (and partner) that you can be. Remember that if you operate on empty then it’s harder to give. So when you have those moments of guilt try to remember that you are actually working to be more whole so that you can give with more grace and joy.

5. Learn to let stuff go. We all only have 24 hours in a day. When we work to create space for us in means, inevitably, that space in other area will have to lessen. For me, letting go means letting go of my crazy bit of perfection and also stuff. The stuff? Well, we have to manage the stuff and I realized I was spending a tremendous bit of time managing stuff that was in fact, time that I could be using in other spaces. (If you’re interested in learning about my letting go adventure you can read about it here -> the tidying up letting go challenge)


6. Seek support and/or an accountability partner. This is so critical. And have it be someone that will stand by you but is also not afraid to tell you to get your butt into gear. You know, that person that doesn’t deal with anything. Several years ago when I was dreaming about writing my book it was just this nebulous thing out there. Until one day when Michael Hyatt’s manager chatted with me and made me write in my book the date that I would get it done and the two of them followed up with me. Let me tell you – I got that book done. But it was that accountability that really made a huge difference.

7. Intentionally write down your dreams and goals. And add an end date. I don’t think I need to explain this further, but remember that discussion about my book — it was nebulous for almost a year — and once i had the date I pushed myself to finish it. So write that goal down and add a date. And tell someone (you can post it in the comments if you’d like) and find someone who will check up with you to make sure you get it done.

8. Know that you’ll fall. But remember that you still get up. My favorite Japanese Proverb is Fall Seven Times Stand Up Eight. Well, most of life is a series of falling and standing up again. Somehow we’ve learned to not like the falling parts, but honestly, they are the parts in life that teach us about ourselves. They are also the beautiful moments where we find the strength and tenacity deep within to get up again. Think about all the times you’ve done that – again and again and again – and let that fuel you. You can’t continue to put yourself on the back burner. Stand up and keep fighting.


9. Remember that taking care of yourself allows you to be a better mom. And a better friend and partner and daughter and so forth. ¬†A candle cannot burn on both ends. You cannot continue to give without fueling yourself. And fueling yourself means taking care of yourself but also cultivating the beautiful parts of you that are independent of your definition of yourself as mom. Yes, that. There are parts of you that are so beautiful and powerful and cool — don’t lose them anymore — cultivate them.

10. Be proud. Sometimes I think we shove under the rug what we’re doing. It’s like there is this unwritten pressure that being a mom means dying totally to self. Well, the truth is that we can be unbelievable moms and STILL love ourselves and pursue our dreams and be happy. But I need you to be proud and to celebrate your friends who are proud for what they do. Celebrate the victories. High five the moments. The more we support each other in this journey the stronger we all will be. So when you hear about a friend of yours doing awesome things I want you to BE HAPPY for her. Why? Because that’s what friends do. And that’s what you deserve when you have awesome as well.

Those are my ten things. I think most of all I want you to remember that you are worth fighting for you. Your heart and your dreams and all of those little things that you love. Don’t hide them anymore. Be the best mom you can be and be the best you you can be as well.

I celebrate you.

And I’m proud of you for daring to dream and stepping out and believing in yourself.

I’m looking forward to hearing your story.



11 Responses to “10 Ways to Find Yourself Again in Motherhood”

  1. March 10, 2016

    Joyce Day Reply

    Hi Rachel – Thank you so much for putting words to what so many of us experience. I have been following you for some time and frequently re-share your posts as well as promoting them with my clients who are moms. At the end of the day, I consider myself just a mom. But professionally, it has profoundly changed the decisions I make for myself, my career, and my family. I wonder if you might be interested in collaborating professionally on a some type of project? Either way, I will continue to enjoy your posts and re-share when I can. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Take Care, joyce

  2. March 10, 2016

    Rosie Atterbury Reply

    There is a God, whose goodness and grace are there for all. I have given birth to, and raised, with my husband, nine children. They and their children and grandchildren are seeds of hope in this tired world. Bless your work and your tender and soul deep posts. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5) He WILL bring you back to you.

  3. March 11, 2016

    April Tillery Reply

    I love this! I’ve really been working on this lately and it is a sloooooow process, but I am seeing the value in it!

  4. March 11, 2016

    Allison Cahalane Reply

    I’ll be 51 this year and I have been thinking about finding myself again for sooo long. Than you for your words. Your words are what im thinking

  5. March 16, 2016

    Fiona Tucker Reply

    Thank you for this amazing encouragement. I’ve been recognising I’ve not been taking care of myself and this has given some great direction to do something about it! Thanks Mama!x

  6. March 19, 2016

    Diana Reply

    Thank you so much for this piece. It hit me like a brick. This morning I was packing and organizing the house and as I finally found time for me to shower. A real and long shower. I stood in front of the mirror wondering who is this gal starring at me. It’s true you get lost. I’ve been lost before. Sleepless nights, kids pickup/ drop offs, kids sick, Hwk assignments, dinner, etc you tend to forget yourself. I often joke that I’m a robot. My body wakes up and it’s running all day. I absolutely love my kids. The joys and headaches they give me. They are the reason I am me. But today as a mom I feel aged and tired. I don’t recognize that person in the mirror. I know I will be ok. The funk will pass and I will be going phew….
    Thank you for the piece. I read all the wonderful comments and it made me feel like I can get back up. I’m just going over a hump. Feel less alone in Morherhood.

  7. March 23, 2016

    tina rsthore Reply

    Hi i am tina a muslim i am living happily but in our socity and culture we have to be very careful in selecting a match for our daughters i will not go into details but recently my daughter is angry with me she is 25 years old and i have only 1 daughter in the house we are only 3 people my husband me and my daughter my son lives in dubai. We all work we all go out on work i come at 3:pm with my husband and my daughter comes at 7:pm i am frindly with her but she never tells me any thing how was work what did u do there she just goes inside her room and is on her laptop or phone i feel so lost and alone what to do even now neighbors also say that why ur daughter is so quiet . I want to take her on vacation but have no holidays and plus i short on finance plz tell me what to do i just cry alone she is holding something which i am not understanding plz help

  8. April 13, 2016

    Jennifer Perry Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    I am a 44 yr old Mom of a 13-1/2 yr old son who I have raised on my own up until a year ago. I moved in with my Mom since she had a big home and we wanted my son in a better school district. The move has been good for the most part.

    I feel as if I’ve lost myself along the way. Between work, being a Mom and some recent health issues I can’t seem to find myself. I come home and cook dinner, help with homework or am running my son to sports. I have no time for myself. Yes, I have friends and love them dearly. Yet, I never seem to go anywhere with any of them. It’s almost as if I’ve lost my own identity and the only one I have is Mom. I do have a friend who will send me cheerful notes or Facebook posts and I love her for that. I just don’t feel like I use to before this ragged schedule I now run with my son’s sports, tutors and work.

    I’m not quite sure how to find myself again. A friend gave me a book I would normally be dying to read and haven’t even touched it. I just can’t get myself out of this rut I’m in.

    Any suggestions??


  9. April 14, 2016

    Lisa Joy Reply


    I’ve read many of your posts and so much of what you write resonates with me even though we are in different stages of motherhood. The first one I read was the, “I Am Enough” post, where I took a pick of myself flat on my back bedridden. I’m still bedridden but that post showed me that it didn’t matter that I could not walk or leave my home because what I was doing was just enough to be the mom I needed to be for right now.

    In the last over two years I’ve lost myself in the fight with my insurance company, to the pain that I deal with every day, and the lost moments with my boys, who are the last three of my seven kids to leave the nest. I wanted dearly to get it right with my younger kids. You know, all the wrong things I did with my older kids, I desperately wanted to get right with my youngest kids. But, all of that angst and sleepless nights have me lost to myself. Who am I anyway? I can’t answer that question because for 26 years I’ve been what others needed me to be: counselor, nurse, referee, teacher, warden, and the list goes on.

    I look towards the next four years as I plan my youngest’s homeschool curriculum and wonder what the next four years hold for me. Who will I be when I graduate my youngest son? I’ve had dreams and hopes to fulfill the destiny that I’ve held near to my heart but will it still be there and can I make it a reality? Those questions haunt me because even though I believe motherhood to be one of the highest callings, I also believe that we have an equally high calling to fulfill a destiny given to us by our Heavenly Father. I don’t see one as greater than the other but we can’t allow one to die because then we assuredly will lose the whole of who we are as a human being.

    Lisa Joy Starr

    • April 25, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Lisa Joy — I remember you and have shared your picture because it is inspiring. You inspire me. Thank you for pressing on and showing up. It means so much. I’m sorry for the struggles, my friend.


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