Mom of 3 Nails the Struggle of Finding the 'Happy Middle' Between Mother & Self

Instagram mom colorsof_opal
colorsof_opal/Instagram

Chances are the hospital in which you delivered your kiddo offered all kinds of courses in prepping for baby -- from childbirth to breastfeeding and infant CPR. But what each mom has to learn on her own is how to find middle ground between being a parent and her own individual self. A mom of three touches on that "happy middle" struggle perfectly in a recent Instagram post.

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Meet Opal. She recently gave birth to a third little boy and admits she's in the midst of postpartum anxiety that is all too common. But this time around she's taking the time she needs to enter back into that split universe in which, as moms, we try to find a balance between being Mommy and remembering who we are outside of motherhood.

"I've been a mother since I was 21, I will be honest and say almost 8 years after my first child was born, I have yet to find my happy middle. Still relentlessly torn between two versions of myself," she writes alongside a gorgeous moment captured on camera with her baby. 

Instagram mom colorsof_opal
colorsof_opal/Instagram
But the third time might truly be the charm for Opal, who goes on to say how much she's enjoying sitting back and watching her sweet little guy get a glimpse into his new world.

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"This third time around tho, watching my little one discover the world around him is vibessss," she writes. "I'm still searching for my happy middle. A little more aware now that 'middle ground' takes time. [It] took 7.5 years but I'm more willing to focus on enjoying the moments I have with my infant, instead of comparing my day to day to women with no children, women with less children, women with independent children."

"Comparison has never served me," she adds. "It only weakens my ability to deal. Mama has to be able to deal. Because, displaced emotions. And my small children usually take the brunt of that frustration. And that shit is not cool."

It's something to which many of us can relate: That desire to be the best parent we can be while simultaneously feeling so desperate to get back to life as we know it -- you know, the kind of life where you feel comfortable thinking of yourself again.

"For now while baby is still small and the anxiety is still pervasive, and I still find myself battling between two versions of myself, I will take my time easing back into experiences without my children," says Opal. "Postpartum anxiety is like a wave that washes over you. If you allow it, it has the power [to] swallow you whole, not relinquishing its control until you let go of the need to hold onto yours. I've let go."

Letting go for this mom means not feeling rushed to get back to the "civilian" world, but rather taking time to enjoy those tiny moments with a newborn that are so fleeting. Because in taking that time, Opal may be less likely to feel the struggle to find her "happy middle" is so difficult the next time.

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This isn't to say the Instagrammer is giving side-eye to the moms who are ready to grab dinner and drinks with their friends or pick up more independent aspects of their life. Opal's wish for all mothers is that we can stop comparing ourselves to one another and take the time that we individually need, not what those around us do.

"There will be time for everything else," she says. "The SnapBack, girls night, girls trips, but for now, I can enjoy what my body took 10 months to create. Self care looks different on everybody, and for some mamas self care means more nights away from the mania that is motherhood, and that's okay too. Just take care of yourself, please?"

Personally, I totally get it. As I chase around after my two sons, balance schedules, and attempt to maintain my work life, I'm always trying to figure out who I really am these days when my kids aren't around. I've grown as a person over the past eight years of motherhood, but I have yet to really identify who I am these days when I'm not playing the chief role of mom. 

Opal's words resonate and make me want to slow down and turn off my overly analytical superpowers. In the end, I hope I'll be a better all-around person for it.

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