How I regained my pre-baby identity - and you can too
But I used to be coooooollllllll!!!!
First off, let's talk about clothing. Here's the thing - I didn't want to sacrifice my personal style and live in frumpy, shapeless clothes. Vanity? Sure, whatever. But sometimes you just want to wear what you used to wear, without spending extra time and brain power in the morning worrying about fit or access for breastfeeding. So both times before my baby was born, I made sure to set aside only breastfeeding-friendly clothes (low necked tshirts, button down shirts..) so that I didn't have to stress about what to wear while nursing, but also didn't resort to clothes that made me feel like I'd given up my sense of style.
I found a uniform that made me feel like a total badass - a bomber jacket, hair in a high pony, and a swipe of lipstick. This made me feel like I could take on the world, even with a baby in tow. And let's not forget about the muslin swaddle. I used it as a scarf most days, which helped me feel confident breastfeeding in public without feeling like I was carrying around a ton of baby gear. Plus, it was a stylish accessory that made me feel put-together.
When it comes to diaper bags, I highly recommend using a backpack style. This frees up your hands for wrangling a baby or chasing a toddler. I quickly realized that I didn't need to bring my entire house every time I left the house with my baby. So, my backpack diaper bag that had just the essentials - diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, a light all-purpose blanket and a couple of snacks. This made outings so much more manageable and stress-free (also, each daughter now uses their old diaper bag for their schoolbag!)
And speaking of outings, I made sure to prioritize doing things that I enjoyed, even if it didn't involve baby music classes or other traditional baby-centric activities. If you like the outdoors, taking your baby to the park is great, but don't feel pressured to do activities that aren't your cup of tea.
I made it a point to take care of myself as a person, not just as a mom. This meant putting a limit on talking about kids when I was one-on-one with my partner and making sure to hang out with friends and talk about things other than motherhood. I also pumped as soon as possible so that I could have a little bit of alone time every now and then. And although we are fortunate to live in Canada and enjoy a year of maternity leave, part of cutting through the fog for me was freelancing in my industry (something I was glad of when my job was swiped, but that's another story!)
Lastly, I took the path of least resistance when it came to what worked for our family. If something wasn't working, we got rid of it. And if sending my older child to daycare was the best option for our family, then that's what we did. It's all about finding what works for you and your family and not feeling guilty about it.
Bottom line, loves - you don't have to sacrifice whole self just because you're a parent. Find what works for you, and don't be afraid to put yourself first every now and then.