In November 2017, my son slid out of my womb screaming and hungry. He is now four years old, still screaming, still hungry. The day he was born was “the best day of my life,” as every mother says. But it was also the beginning of grief I felt ashamed to feel. My freedom was gone. My childless hot girl days were over and I would spend the first few years of his life redefining freedom as a mother.
I’ve managed to find a sweet spot so that my identity isn’t hijacked by motherhood and I can enjoy toddler-free moments. If you’re a mom, single or not, I hope my journey to freedom resonates and you can find your freedom too.
Grieving the Loss of Me Time
I was married when I had my son, but I was a married single mom. For those who can relate, my days were inundated with figuring out how to care for a child, domestics, and freelance writing with little help. I subconsciously liked being too busy to think because then, I didn’t have to come to terms with how much my life had changed. No more traveling on a whim, quiet time, and being energized enough to enjoy nightlife.
When I started therapy I realized I was grieving my pre-baby life and that it was ok to feel that way. I could love my child and miss life without him at the same time–and that didn’t make me ungrateful or a bad mother. During a therapy session, I was lamenting how trapped I felt and my therapist asked a question that marked a turning point for me: “How can you redefine freedom now that you’re a mother?”
Redefine What “Freedom” Looks Like
I had to get real about the sacrifices I made when I chose motherhood and allow myself to grieve. My old life was never coming back. It was only after acknowledging and processing my grief that I could answer my therapist’s question and figure out what freedom looked like as a new mom.
First, freedom looked like leaving my marriage because if I was going to do it alone, I wanted to do it alone without all the extra stuff. Getting a divorce and becoming a single mom around the clock wasn’t a huge transition, but it still took some getting used to.
After that, what did freedom look like for me as a mother? Working from home so my introvert had enough quiet time while my son was at school. It looked like making sure my son was tucked in by 7:30 p.m. every night so I had at least two hours to myself before bed. Freedom was also earning enough to hire help so I could spend time doing things I enjoy solo. Lastly, it would mean having the resources to take my son on adventures with me sometimes, because being a mother didn’t mean my adventures had to stop. It just meant I now had a broke best friend and a new adventure bae.
Leveling up My Finances to Make Freedom Tangible
We all know the odds are stacked against single moms financially for many reasons. However, I was determined to change the narrative and still am. I actively looked for ways to increase my income so I could pay a sitter when I wanted to go out since I don’t have family or friends to help with my son. I also needed money to pay for leisure activities because outside is expensive, sis.
With time, I increased my income and found a reliable sitter referred to me so I could have “me” time without my account going into deficit. Now that I can afford it, I drop my son with her a few times a month to go on dates, go to festivals, or even enjoy a weekend away. It may cost me extra, but I budget for it. My freedom is worth the extra coins.
Giving myself permission to have a life outside of my child is the best thing that has happened to my mental health and to my son. I get time to reconnect with myself and that is always going to help me show up as a better mother because i can pour from a cup that is overflowing.
To any moms out there grieving the loss of their freedom, your hot girl days are not completely over—you’ve just transitioned to the hot mom era. Redefine freedom for yourself and find a way to make that freedom a reality, one day at a time.