I’ve had an uneasy feeling in my gut for a long time now – And I don’t mean in the e-coli or Salmonella sense, but in the something’s-been-bothering-me type of way. But when your days are full and Time just isn’t on your side, there is a tendency to bury the indulgence of self-pity and focus on the tasks you have at hand.

This has pretty much been me at least for the past year since I got made redundant last September. At the start of the year, I moved into a new phase in my career, all whilst juggling the new Mum thing and trying to do a decent job at it. This holiday in Danang really made me stop and re-evaluate. Okay, so I didn’t really sit on a rock literally like Hubba but I did have moments of revelation which literally brought me to tears.

Who am I?

No, I’m not 24601.

We all define ourselves by our passions, our pastimes and the going-ons in our lives. In the past nine months, I’ve definitely placed my Mummy role as top priority. I’ve also tried my hand at a new industry whilst trying juggle this and it has not been easy. I’d be chugging full speed ahead at work, then I’d come home and overcompensate by putting in as many hours as I could as Mum. I was losing sleep, beating myself up with all the guilt, and wondering if I’d made the right choice in going back to my career.

Somewhere along the way, I feel like I lost myself. Between work and being a Mum, I forgot how to be Me.

I stopped working out, I stopped blogging, I stopped making non-Mummy plans over the weekends. I’d watch Hubba faff around with his bikes and pour over his bike magazines; my sister-in-law go crazy over her coffee machine, newfangled oven gadgets and baking techniques; my best friend getting more and more into her riding… And boy, have I been envious.

What do I have to call my own?

Who am I?

I’m still trying to work that one out.

But I know I need to do something about how I’m feeling ‘coz I feel deeply unsatisfied and I’m not happy about it. I mean I absolutely love being a Mum and wouldn’t have it any other way, but I’m still struggling to find that balance so I can also still be who I was before.

Does that make any sense?

I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of months feeling unwell but I think I’m finally coming out of the woods, so I think it’s time I look at how to spend some time on Me. I was getting really into my cycling again but I had to stop for various reasons, so I’ll need to take another look at my physical activities.

Maybe I’ll start hiking again. And I’m definitely going to write more often.

Feel free to share some tips if you’ve got any!

17 Responses to Have you seen this girl?

  1. Chetz says:

    You stopped hanging out with me!

  2. Ling says:

    hi Janice,

    I have been following your blog for awhile. Like you, i became a new mom 4 months ago and during this period, i was also unfortunately made redundant. I experienced alot of ups and downs during this period- alot of ups as i have just had a new baby (a celebration indeed) and she cheers me up everyday. However the more ambitious side of me is pushing me to get a new job soon which i am rather reluctant at this stage in my life. So i cannot imagine how many of my girlfriends have gone through this phase and decided to just take a step back from what they have been doing and spend their time with their little bundle in their early years.

    I am still at the crossroad now but everyday i tell myself that ‘its ok to take a little break and enjoy this moment with my baby!’. My hubby has been extremely supportive and i thank god for that as i know not many young families are able to do that and rely on a single income.

    Being a mom is not easy, especially if you are working. I hope soon you will be able to find that balance not only with your time but also with your inner strength. :-)

  3. serenalism says:

    Hi Janice, I’ve read your blog for awhile and feel the urge to reply to this post because I totally understand how you feel! I am a new mummy too and my girl just turned 14 months. Your post got me reflecting as well. For the past year, my priority was my girl, spending available time with her and then back to work on the weekdays. I don’t have time to do anything i liked as well. I am planning and hope that i’ll stick to my plan to put in some work out days to get in shape and also spend more time with the hubby. I think it’s time mummy gets her me time! Cheers and I hope you’ll get to indulge in your me time soon!

  4. Elaine says:

    I’m not alone! Well, sort of. I am not a new mom, but I have been feeling rather lost at work these days, wondering if I am in the right job, and trying to find out what is it that I love doing. No luck as yet, and it will be great if you can share tips on how to start and where to look!

    • Janice says:

      LinkedIn, Monster, JobsDB, Jobstreet, Robert Walters, and lots of other recruitment agencies.. Just put yourself out there and proactively look, but be patient! These things don’t happen overnight.

  5. Angela says:

    Your post struck a chord in me as I enter my 6th month of pregnancy. There were nights (and some mornings too) when I thought, almost in fear, of losing my life, time with my husband and the things I like to do when my baby girl arrives.

    Hang in there and I am sure that we will all find ways of finding ourselves in the madness of everyday life with our beautiful babies :)

    • Janice says:

      You will enjoy motherhood, it is completely worth it. Being a wife and mother makes you feel even more special than before, and it just means a bit more effort to keep things as they were, i.e. date nights etc. You won’t lose your life! There’s just lots of adjustments to make and you will be fine!

  6. ziggy06 says:

    Dear Janice,

    Thank you for the reminder to stop and reflect every once in a while, especially those living the Singapore lifestyle.

    I was hit with the same sudden realisation last year not by the arrival of a lil one, but by a workshop – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 2nd habit is “Start with the end in mind”, and we were asked to reflect and identify our values and goals in life. Our daily actions and choices made should contribute and lead us to these goals. Know what you want to be, to know what to do to be.

    So, what is your end in mind? If it’s being a happy mum, maybe the “happy” part needs a little more than simply being a maternal figure, and it’s screaming for help now. :)

    Hope this makes some sense and helps with your current situation.

    You will find your inner peace real soon. Just hang on in there! :)

  7. RL says:

    it’s the no 2 hormones & coming to terms with the fact of “seasons of life”. there’s just not enuff time to zzz, not to mention catch up on being “me”! so we plan ahead like what we wanna do when we are 50, and beanie is a teenager who rather hang out with her friends than parents!

  8. Janice says:

    Hi there Ling, thanks for your encouragement. You know, what I learnt from the whole “made redundant” thing was that everything really happens for a reason and it all works out in the end. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it had not happened and I am way happier than where I was then. So you’re right, just trust that it’s God’s way of letting you take a break now and enjoy your little one. You’ll be back when the time is right!

  9. Sue says:

    Janice! It’s Sue from Canada! I absolutely understand how you feel. I “lost” wha huge part of my life for about 2 years now. Why? Life simply got too interesting. :) I don’t have a beautiful little girl like you so can imagine the tug but at the end of the day, a happier you means you’re a happier mum too. I’ve come full circle though and really appreciate that those interests, especially the sports stuff, is what makes me…well, me! I don’t go for insane bike rides anymore but anything that makes me sweat a bit each day, has made me a happier professional, friend, daughter, sister, you name it. Get back into it bit by bit and you’ll find that you don’t have to sacrifice a ton of time away from family to get back to the “old” you. Keep truckin’ girl!

  10. Andrea says:

    Hello Janice,

    I have been an occasional reader of your blog :)

    When I felt the same way last year, I stumbled across this book called Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. One of the key points the book made was “we have 3 innate psychological needs – competence, autonomy and relatedness. When those needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive and happy”. The book gives a clearer description of these three psychological needs.

    I gave a lot of thought to that and made some bold steps to move closer towards fulfilling these three areas. Although some of these changes I’ve made are really out of my comfort zone, I’m much happier now as I know that I’m pursuing something that I am (or at least am quite convinced) truly interested in. It took me a lot of time to think through and ask people what they thought of me and my ideas. Sometimes going through such phases in life seems pretty tough, but I personally believe that everyone will have to go through a questioning phase of what they are doing/passionate about – it’s just a matter of whether it’s now or later.

    If you ever get a chance to read this book, I hope it inspires you!

  11. missinex says:

    Can I say its normal? I’m not so new a Mum ( little one is in his terrible twos and driving me and HB up the walls)

    Since his arrival, I blogged less, go out with friends less, work less, and a ton of other things less. For a while I had a struggle like you.. what happened to the old me? Wheres my me-time? I don’t like new me, she is less fun, less (fill in the blank). So I must give myself more me-time etc…

    In the end, at least of now I decided that me-time is not something I need to force myself into doing. It takes the joy out of me-time. It has since morph into-as and when me-time.

    I acknowledged that I’m at another stage of my life now, and it means my energy get channeled to the little one a lot. I guess this is part of the sacrifice that comes with being a parent – we too are humans, we can’t be a good everything, we don’t need to answer to everyone. Some people can do that and more, but some just can’t and I’m not going to keep questioning myself why can’t I.

    I find it easier these days to go with the flow. I chose being happy over having higher expectations of myself. When I came to accept the above, I find myself happier, and me-time came a bit more naturally.

  12. wanida says:

    that’s been me these couple of weeks. finally decided to start moping and 1) pray and submit it to god 2) look up various things that i can do to help me find my purpose in life and 3) learning not to let my emotions control my life. i may FEEL stuck in a rut but it doesn’t mean i let it get me down.