Loving family, but also loving ourselves
By Skye Tan| 3 March 2022
Like an intense, encompassing first love, motherhood comes with an enveloping heady-ness and focus.
Suddenly, your time, sleep and energy all go towards that one person – your bundle of joy. Even as they grow, your permanent role as mother means they remain a perennial focus.
But wait, besides being a mother, you are still a wife, a daughter, perhaps even a doctor, writer, or teacher. Especially when motherhood seems to override every other role and interest, how do you reclaim your own identity?
Tam Wai Jia, medical doctor, author and mother of two girls likens the phases of motherhood to being like seasons.
“There were seasons when I was not speaking anywhere and seasons when I was getting invites and being visible in the public sphere. We all go through seasons and it’s important to embrace each one or we become very hard on ourselves.”
She shared the following tips on how mothers can keep growing and not be buried by the seasons in motherhood.
1. Drive your roots down deep
“No one ever scolds a tree for not bearing fruit during the winter season,” said Wai Jia, “We are multifaceted beings and we have to ebb and flow with the different seasons of needs.”
“Winter is when roots go down deep,” she added.
In seasons when you don’t feel like you are going anywhere, learn to embrace what that season can do for you as an individual. Like how roots grow deep to find the water that sustains them, you will have to dig deeper to discover yourself.
This could look like renewing a sense of purpose, better communication with your spouse and family or even re-organising your days to make space for self-care.
“I think we underestimate the whole concept of rest, routine and doing the same things every day that motherhood sometimes is about,” shared Wai Jia.
2. Don’t judge yourself based on a single season/ role
There are times when we won’t do as good a job as we’d like to.
In Wai Jia’s case, her first child had severe eczema. As a first-time mum and also as a medical doctor, this somehow created a sense of failure . “There were times when I would say, ‘This (motherhood) is my only job and I can’t even do it right.’”
However, she realised she was being hard on herself, something she found many fellow mothers do. She reflected that we have to give grace to ourselves too.