Make a Deposit is a new book by Danielle LaShawn McKnight offering a blueprint to anyone who has lost their identity in motherhood to relearn yourself, redefine who you are, and LEAN IN to who you want to become.
Motherhood can be fulfilling and rewarding, but what happens when you start to lose sight of the woman you were before the children came along? Lifestyle content creator and mom of four, Danielle LaShawn McKnight has been there and done that. There is no question that she loves her family, but she started to realise that she no longer recognised herself outside of the “mum” title.
Make a Deposit is packed with insights into how making small deposits daily can add up to drastic life improvements. With easy-to-use exercises, Make a Deposit teaches you to use daily choices, no matter how insignificant they seem, to increase your rewards.
In the following extract from Making a Deposit, Danielle talks about her own awakening to her situation and how her book can help you rediscover YOU again.
I understand what it’s like to give all of yourself to everyone else. To spend a good chunk of your day cooking, cleaning, working, wiping tears, kissing boo-boos, and giving cuddles— unless your kids are older. In that case, keep the first two things but replace the last three with making sure chores are done, enforcing rules, and trying to stay one step ahead of your tween or teen.
Am I on the right track? I know that’s what my life looks like most days. I also know that right now
it probably seems there’s very little time to focus on you—your dreams, your goals, your needs, your passions. You probably don’t even know what you want, but you know that what you have is not enough. What you’re feeling right now is uncomfortable because it is SO contrary to where you envisioned yourself going and who you saw yourself becoming. And that’s okay. Why? Because you don’t have to know what you want right now to know that you need a change. All you need to know is that you don’t like where you are, and you want something different. You can determine what that something is later on.
Most of us started our adult lives with big dreams (in high school I wanted to go to California to become a special effects makeup artist—clearly, it wasn’t in the cards for me), and for a lot of us, becoming mothers changed our plans for that part of our lives. Even if your dream was to be a stay-at-home mom, there are probably other aspirations you realized you had after your babies were born. For those reasons, many of us believe that being a mom is the reason we can’t do the things we really want to do or be the women we really want to be. I’m going to turn that idea on its head and tell you something you probably don’t want to hear.
Your children are not the reason your life hasn’t turned out as you imagined. Your job is not the reason. Your partner is not the reason. YOU are the reason. Let me explain.
When you became a mother, your plans changed. You chose a different path and decided on a different course for your life. Your ideas and what was important to you changed. And at the time, that was a good thing. Your new role required those changes. Motherhood was meant to change you! It was supposed to increase your maturity level, expand your heart, make you more selfless, and invade every crevice of your perspective. When that sweet little baby came out of you, you knew instinctively that your life would never be the same again. And you decided that to love, care for, and protect him/her, you were totally okay with becoming a new version of yourself. But now, you’ve mastered that role, and it’s time to move on to a new one, one where you put some of that energy into yourself to figure out who you want to be.
It’s Time To Evolve
Do you recognize the person you’ve become? I know I didn’t. One day I looked up and realized that I hated my life. I absolutely, positively hated it. I had everything that I needed—the bills were paid, food was on the table, my kids and husband were happy—and yet I was miserable. My entire life was about everyone around me, and I was so out of touch with myself that I had no idea where to begin to regain my identity. To me, it seemed there were always a million tasks that needed to be completed, a never-ending to-do list that just kept growing and growing and growing. A mountain of things that really didn’t matter. I was sick of it.
After staying home for 10 years, dedicating every waking moment to my four beautiful children and loving husband, I was over it. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for my family. I love them more than words can describe. But still, I was done with my life being the way it was. I felt that I hadn’t accomplished anything other than being a good mom and wife. I’m sorry to say it, but even though those are HUGELY important things, they just didn’t cut it anymore. When I finally admitted to myself that I was unhappy (and worked through the associated guilt), I knew I couldn’t settle for the life I’d been living any longer.
“After staying home for 10 years, dedicating every waking moment to my four beautiful children and loving husband, I was over it.”
I knew I had to do something different, or I’d continue to be miserable. That day, I decided that I wasn’t going to spend most of my days doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning anymore. If I only had 24 hours, some of them were going to be spent on myself and my dreams. Why? Because chores will never stop needing to be done and doing them didn’t fulfil me. So, if the dishes had to sit in the sink a few hours longer, oh well. If the laundry was in the dryer for three days, so what? The world wasn’t going to come to an end. I decided I’d get to those things when I could get to them.
As soon as I adopted that way of looking at things, guess what? The world remained intact! And suddenly I had more time to think, breathe, and decide on my next steps. I cleared up some space in my life and my mind— space for me. I really needed it. Everyone else already had a chunk of my attention, but I was starving myself. I was strangling my creativity. I was suffocating my personal identity. When I finally realized that I was neglecting my own needs, and I changed my outlook and priorities by making one tiny deposit into my life bank at a time, everything else in my life changed too, including the disdain I felt for my situation.
I know that saying I hated my life is harsh, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It was what I needed to admit to myself to decide that changing, no matter how scary, was a better option than staying the same. When I realised that the path I was on was no longer an option for me, I was much more excited about doing the work
I needed to do to make a real change in my life. If you’re in a similar spot, I feel you. I get you. I understand you. I was you. Shoot, some days, I still am.
What I want you to take from this is an understanding that it’s okay to feel that way. You are not wrong for having those thoughts. It is completely possible to be BOTH grateful for the life you have and unfulfilled by it. Just because you don’t love your lifestyle doesn’t mean you don’t love your family. As a mom, I know that the love you feel for your children is unmatched and unconditional. But the fact is, they’re going to need you less and less as they grow and mature, and unless you start devoting some of your time and attention to yourself, you’ll be even more lost when they’re no longer there for you to take care of.
This is what Make a Deposit is all about: helping moms who have lost their identity in motherhood figure out how to get it back and find fulfilment in their lives. Motherhood doesn’t have to be an impediment to your dreams; it can be a stepping stone for them. Right now, you might feel that being a mom is holding you back from the life you want, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Motherhood has the potential to be one of the most motivating and encouraging aspects of your life because it gives you someone besides yourself to build, grow, and work for. The problem is that you don’t know how to make it feel that way. But, by the end of this book, you will.
Buy the book: Making a Deposit by Danielle LaShawn McKnight.