Mom vs. Me

When your child becomes the center of your universe, it means that some things get shoved to the side.

Including you.

And when this happens, many moms describe a feeling of losing themselves to parenthood. When you've almost forgotten what it's like to have your own interests and hobbies.

"I'm a mom," says Randi Rockwell of Rock Island. "But I'm not just a mom."

If you feel like you've lost the "me" as a mom, here are a few tips from other local parents to find yourself again.

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Focus on you.

Your kids are very important, but so are you.

The number one tip to be a better parent from our local experts is to take care of yourself. That means staying healthy, having time to yourself, and focusing on relationships.

"As moms, we have to recognize when we need to separate ourselves from our kids," says Jessica Gregory of Davenport.

When her family moved to the Quad Cities with the military, Jessica left behind her career of 11 years and didn't know a soul in the area.

So she joined a book club. And two years later, she leads the group herself. And even in the midst of several deployments, the mom of two is building a career as a personal trainer, fitness instructor and teacher.

"It's really important to have things that are just for me," she says. "I can't imagine the type of mom I'd be without that."

Randi agrees. "I need to get out of the house and have 'me' time," she says of her career at St. Ambrose University. "It helps me to be a better mom and be a better role model to my daughter."

Sara White of Eldridge also believes that time to herself is important. The stay-at-home mother of two makes alone time a priority.

"I have an awesome husband, who encourages me to have child-free time," she says. She says just a bit of quiet time can leave her feeling recharged.

Focus on your passion.

Don't forget that your hobbies and interests also make you a more well-rounded parent.

For Randi and Jessica, that means they make time to work out and stay fit.

"It's really important for my kids to see me being healthy and helping other people (as a trainer and teacher)," says Jessica.

Randi agrees. "I'm really into fitness. And this teaches Rory that it's important to lead a healthy life."

Whether it's exercise, painting, or writing, make sure that you don't forget to make time for your own interests and hobbies. It not only helps you feel great, it also shows your kids that it's always important to nurture your interests.

Focus on your friendships.