Pay What You Owe

Being Transparent About Debt I’ve Accrued

Recently my Sonshine turned six months, and as usual, we celebrated this milestone together as a family. It made me reflect on all the highs and lows as he grows, on one hand, he is thriving and living his best life and on the other hand, it’s almost as if it’s a count down for integration back into society. I couldn’t help but think about all of the social obligations I am mentally not prepared to endure, especially amid a pandemic. But then another part of me realize where in the hell have I been? It’s crazy to realize how much being on maternity leave, can allow you to not only physically but also mentally distance ourselves from the world.

Mentally distancing myself from the outside world after having a baby has me coming up with all sorts of excuses like:

  • “Baby has me busy, I’m too drained to do anything”

  • “My close friends don’t have children, so we can’t relate anymore”

  • “I look a mess, I hardly have time for myself much less to get dressed to go out”

  • “It’s not about me anymore, all the focus goes to baby”

By the time we blink, a full 12 months (or 18 months, depending on your preference) has gone by and we've taken on the identity and role as a mother and only that. We continue to feed this habit for who knows how long, where we put ourselves on the back burner because the shift and focus are solely on our child. Here’s the thing, it’s so easy for us young mothers to lose sight of who we are, our dreams and aspirations once a baby enters the picture. We forget what our interests are, and what makes us happy. Chasing our dreams seems to be a thing of the past, hanging with friends is out of the question, and treating ourselves comes off as selfish.

I know this because this is something I battle with personally. I watched a great series called Little Fires Everywhere (highly suggest checking it out, if you haven’t) and there was a scene that resonated with me, and perhaps with you as well. While on a casual date with a long time friend, one of the main characters is asked “how are you doing” and immediately she answers with what almost feels like canned responses in relation to her children. Her friend interrupts her by saying “I didn’t ask how your kids are doing, I asked about you”. Now I can admit, I am guilty of this one - talking about my children as a way to steer the conversation from talking about myself because let’s face it it’s easier to talk about what the kids have been up to instead of putting the focus on me. It’s almost as if we're blind to how much we've conformed to our identity as a mother that we avoid facing the truth that somewhere along the lines we lost ourselves and who we once used to be.

Being a mom doesn’t mean you have to forget about you. It’s actually about you more than ever. It’s so important to have a balanced life as a mom, but most importantly as a woman. I stumbled along #TabithaBrown’s video where she quickly shares a message about Paying What You Owe. If you know you haven’t been paying attention to something you owe your attention and time to - pay what you owe. What happens when we don’t pay, debt accumulates, not financially, but mentally - resulting in you feeling stuck and overloaded.

I have replayed this video over numerous times because it was certainly a message that needed to be received at that particular point in time. I automatically thought about those around me and how I could invest my time wisely to nurture those relations, when in actuality that something that requires my attention and time is ME. It’s easy to get stuck in our identities as only being someone’s mama, but in reality: you can still be an amazing mother and still feed your soul & fulfill your purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a mother, and it is certainly something I take pride in and nor do I take it for granted - but I am also aware of how important it is to not feel guilty to pour back into myself.

So do me a favor, next time someone asks you how you are doing - take the time to really reflect and then answer wholeheartedly and selflessly.

Love & Light,