I was once organized.
I used to go shopping.
I used to wander through different stores.
I used to take my time at the gym, and even take classes when I wanted.
I used to speak in complete sentences. I used to… hang on… I lost my train of thought.
I once showered in peace.
I once made decisions solely based on me.
…until I became a mom. Before I was a mom, I was responsible for just myself. I only worried about making and getting to MY doctor appointments. I planned out, to the minute, what time I needed to set my alarm in order to be somewhere—on time. I showered regularly, blew out my hair on a daily basis, and, believe it or not, once wore clothes other than a workout get-up. I wrote out my dreams and aspirations—all involving my career in soccer. But, most significantly, the decisions I made only affected me.
And that’s why, as soon as the words came out of her mouth Sunday night, I immediately related to Adele. She shared her own struggles with motherhood at the Grammys during her acceptance speech, stating:
“And in my pregnancy and becoming a mother I lost a lot of myself and I’ve struggled and I still do struggle being a mum. It’s really hard. But tonight winning this really feels full circle and like a bit of me has come back to myself.”
Five years ago, I was faced with the most difficult decision of my life. I was pregnant with my first child—and at the same time, I was also offered what I thought was my dream job: head coach of a division 1 university women’s soccer program. “What do you mean, you’re thinking about it?” was the question that every family member asked. This is what you worked so hard for, what you’ve been talking about for years. This is who you are. But, I couldn’t. It wasn’t. Something had changed. I knew I had an obligation to give my heart and soul to this precious baby inside of me. So, I graciously declined.
Motherhood is by far the biggest blessing I could have ever imagined. The unconditional love I have for my children is indescribable. But, it’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s hard to balance everything. Instead of planning a team practice session, I was preparing the baby’s next three bottles. Once I left the hospital and pulled up to our townhouse, I looked at this little being and thought, “He is mine. It is my job to keep him alive.” I had never had an experience comparable to raising a child.
All of the sudden, I was on this baby’s feeding schedule, who needed to eat every three hours. I was trying to figure out what each cry was for—did I do something wrong? How do I settle him down? Does he have an ear infection? How would I know? And, the worst one of them all: the “Is he breathing?” question at 2 a.m. when he is so peacefully sleeping. The list of worries goes on and on. And, unfortunately, they never stop—they just change.
As I have delivered each child, most recently my third, I feel I have lost a sizable piece of myself each time—to them. Not in a bad way. Well, maybe, sometimes. But, in essence, my goals in life have changed. I once dreamed of getting to the top in my career. But, I had this baby. And, who could take care of this baby better than his mom? I struggled terribly with this crossroad. I still do. My once famed identity of being a star athlete and collegiate soccer coach abruptly transformed into “Levi’s mom.”
Like Adele, I have felt pieces of myself have been taken away and dissembled since having kids., Sometimes it hurts me. I struggle with this concept. But, like Adele, I will keep working my hardest to do what I love, while doing the best I can as a mother. I won’t receive a Grammy to validate this, but even a new speaking engagement helps add back a little piece of me.
It was so refreshing to watch and listen to Adele at the 2017 Grammy Awards. I instantly felt connected to her. That we are together in this thing called motherhood. And that it’s OK to feel motherhood is hard. Because it is. It’s OK to think pieces of you have been taken. The fact is—it’s for the greatest creation we could ever ask for—and that is our children. Slowly, you will gain those parts back, like Adele did last night. And, you will feel whole. But, as we all know, this time goes by quickly. So, I will give my kids all I have—just like you.