When YOU are Your Last Priority


Have you ever been so blissfully happy in one area of your life while simultaneously miserable in another?

This was me last summer.

My youngest was six months old and my oldest was two-and-a-half. We spent lazy days at Jenness beach, ate picnics in Prescott Park and I thought my heart would burst from happiness. My kids were so fun and flexible — a perfect combination given the amazing weather we had.

While I was overflowing in my love for my family, every time I looked at myself in the mirror I felt miserable. I felt like a shadow of myself–like my luster had faded. My body, which had once felt powerful and sexy, felt like someone else’s. It felt like a body that was about everyone else but me.

I had a moment when I was dressing both of my girls in adorable outfits when I realized that my kids are more put together than I am. 

From their Mini Boden sundresses to their Native shoes and pigtails, these girls were looking amazing (Side note: obvi they look amazing in EVERYTHING but this mama loves her some cute kids’ clothes). While looking “put together” didn’t matter to them at all, it mattered to me. It matters to me. More often than not I was wearing yoga pants and flowy skirts because I didn’t feel good in anything else. My regular clothes didn’t fit me yet but, beyond the size I was, I just didn’t feel good (because who cares what size you are if you don’t feel good?).

Now, I am ALL FOR wearing yoga pants (I’m a yoga instructor, after all!) and flowy skirts but not when I’m wearing them because 1) I don’t fit in anything else and 2) it’s all I want to wear because I just want to hide and feel comfortable.

I needed to start doing things for myself that made me feel like less of a baby factory slash milking cow (yes, I spelled the slash out because I just do that) and more of a woman. I needed a big change.

Motherhood is an incredible gift. The privilege of being a mother to a tiny human that grows into an actual, real life-sized human is truly the best thing ever. But what I also have come to realize is that motherhood isn’t just a gift I receive, it’s also a gift I give. And because it is a gift I give (and give continuously), I need to be replenished.

As I mother, I struggle with this whole “replenish myself” thing. Hence the never feeling put together and feeling like my body (my “self”, really) was EVERYBODY else’s business and I barely seemed to have time for it. From showering to time alone, I put off and discard chances for self-care ALL THE TIME.

I did until last August, at least. Until I couldn’t take it any more. I couldn’t take looking in the mirror and feeling miserable. I couldn’t take the dichotomy of being elated and devastated. I couldn’t take the constant giving without replenishing.

So, I did something about it. Actually, I did a lot about it.

This isn’t some before and after situation where I am like this perfect specimen of amazingness and I’ve figured it all out. Because, gross. If anyone claims to have figured it all out, run away from this person. Like, now. All I offer is what has helped me turn the corner and feel like myself again. There are many versions of this story and this is mine.

I offer my journey of reclaiming myself after receiving and continuously giving this gift of motherhood. My story of replenishment. My story of ending the dichotomy.

I found it was a three-step process that I’ll break down for you because 1) I love me a good list and 2) it just makes it all so much more official, doesn’t it?

  1. I decided to treat my body RIGHT. Even though I wasn’t feel super fond of it at the time, I knew my body was amazing. It produced 2 children, kept them alive and was a site of miracles, plain and simple. I knew it deserved better than I was giving it so I got down to business with eating clean and working out. Everyone adjusted because Mama needed 30min a day to GET WORK DONE and mama needed to PUT DOWN THE GOLDFISH CRACKERS.
  2. I stopped envying and comparing. Teddy Roosevelt must have been a mom (or at least a woman) because his quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy” hit me at my core. I needed to stop seeing myself only as I was next to others. Next to other women. Next to other moms. GOOD GRIEF, next to EVERYONE ELSE.
  3. I decided to dress up for my life. Sometimes my Sunday best is still yoga pants (because they are AMAZING) but I make a concerted effort to put myself together. If I put that much energy into my kids being put together (because I care about these things), I deserve it, too.

I needed to prioritize myself because I am important. So are YOU. 

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Allison’s mission in life is to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary. Her commitment to see beyond what’s in front of her was fostered by her degree in Philosophy and Theology from Boston College. Allison’s a book nerd and credits her parents and inspiring English teachers for her love of reading and writing. She went on to earn her Master in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College and then taught high school for several years, both in New England and San Francisco. After moving from San Francisco to Boston with her engineer husband, she began teaching yoga and working as a social media marketing consultant. Now a Portsmouth resident, she spends most of her days with her three daughters (she does not have enough arms) and does her best to find the bliss amidst the endless snacking, dance parties and tiaras. With all the beautiful chaos in her life, she’s grateful to have her partner-in-crime (husband Charlie) and fellow movie quote enthusiast alongside her. Her passion for writing first drew her to Seacoast Moms as a contributing writer, and her desire to connect moms of the Seacoast with businesses who serve and interest them led her to become SM’s owner. Being able to write about the ordinary grace present in motherhood, while interacting with incredible Seacoast business owners is a dream come true.