Have you let go of your hopes and dreams to become a wife, mother and cheerleader for your family? Look back at who you used to be and realise that you have lost your true identity to the process of growing up and settling down? Akossa Mphepo finds out how women can maintain their individuality and tune into their inner selves.
A workmate of mine once told me that she let go of most of the things she used to indulge in once she became a mother. She said that small things like going to the salon had been pushed to the backburner because her family kept her busy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have to lock myself up in the toilet, just to do my nails. Enjoy spoiling yourself and doing what you love while you still can because once you become a mother, a lot of things will change,Ã¢â‚¬Â she warned me.
American childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s book author Rachel Renee Russell says she lost herself the minute she met her husband. Instead of pursuing her dreams and doing what she loved, she became his cheerleader.
The result? He applied for divorce after 25 years of marriage and she lost her job shortly thereafter because she did not have the time or passion for it.
It was only after the divorce that she rediscovered her love of writing and went on to become a best-selling author.
The truth is, a lot of women battle with holding onto their identities when they start up families because they do not give themselves enough time to simply be.
They forget their individuality and the fact that it is this individuality that actually drew their spouses to them in the first place.
According to psychologist Sandra Mapemba, it is essential to remember that individuality is about knowing who you are, what you like, and what makes Ã¢â‚¬ËœyouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.Ã‚Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Often women lose this side of themselves because they become a label; wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, sister and lose out on the things they love because they forget themselves.Ã¢â‚¬Â
She adds that women often lose sight of themselves because they are more nurturing by nature.Ã‚Â This nurturing side allows women to bow out of the race and let family shine through.Ã‚Â Socialisation also makes it known that this is what is expected and most women, even if they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to do this, will abide by social norms so that they fit in.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Men think in a more compartmentalised way – they look at one event at a time with gratification at the end.Ã‚Â Women tend to look beyond the event and will link the event to many different attributes – this stops us from personal gratification.Ã‚Â In illustration of this, going to the salonÃ‚Â equals; who will I leave the kids with?Ã‚Â My husband may say IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m wasting money, I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be able to attend to his needs and so on.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“AÃ‚Â man on the other hand will think: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve worked hard today and deserve a drink and chat to relax.Ã‚Â He willÃ‚Â go out after work and come home once satisfied. The woman mayÃ‚Â go to the salon and try and rush theÃ‚Â girls so she can get home, look at her hair and think it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t worth it, pay the bill and think of howÃ‚Â many loaves of bread that money would have bought.Ã‚Â She will go home and find the kids sulking and feel itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s her fault,Ã¢â‚¬Â explains Mapemba.
She advises that to keep in touch with your individuality, you should see yourself as your name; Sandra for example. This way, you can play the role of the wife, mother, sister, aunt, CEO and not lose sight of the things that make you!Ã‚Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You will remember that Sandra also needs to do the things she likesÃ‚Â such as reading, shopping, travelling, writingÃ‚Â or whatever it is that makes you the person that your husband fell in love with. If you remember this, you will service Sandra and keep her on track.Ã¢â‚¬Â
She adds Ã¢â‚¬Å“We need to make time for themselves.Ã‚Â We are always giving and therefore we are not recharging.Ã‚Â If we recharge, we are doing something obligatory. Make time for yourself just as you do for other responsibilities.Ã‚Â You need to be able to be selfish at times.Ã‚Â It can be everyday, once a week, every fortnight, once a month, once every two, three months to spoil yourself.Ã¢â‚¬Â