Mom First, NOT Mom Solely
Becoming a new parent is a role that naturally becomes life-consuming. Moments after delivery, we are handed our little ones and sent on our merry way to adjust to life as a new parent. No book, blog or seminar can fully prepare us for what’s to come (believe me I’ve read them all).
And yet… they still have an endless amount of books, blogs, and seminars.
But what about understanding who we are after becoming mothers? No, mom, I don’t mean what we do – nurture, work, clean, cook, nurse, and teach - we know all of that already. I mean who we are. How come there isn’t a book on that?
Naturally, children become the center of our lives, and most of us will throw ourselves fully into their lives in order to avoid what’s going on in our personal world. Fighting with your spouse every evening? It’s okay, because your son will keep you plenty busy so you can just ignore them. Miserable at your job? No big deal. You’ll just rush home to simultaneously cook, clean and play with your little one to convince yourself that a crap job isn’t that detrimental to your overall health. We don’t stop to think about who we are as a being anymore. We become a mother, and that is now the first and last thing we introduce ourselves as when meeting others. It’s the easiest to talk about, right? Someone wants to get to know us, and immediately we begin our sentence with, “Well, I’m a mom.” That is the proudest title I will ever hold… but what else am I?
Loss of self-identity is a major issue we face as mothers because by the time we get through those first few months, it’s easy to forget that we enjoyed things that didn’t involve our children. Or even worse, we feel BAD that there could be something else we enjoy doing that doesn’t involve them. We’re expected to tie in all of our hobbies, dreams, and leisurely time to coincide with motherhood, because we’re taught to believe that anything less is not good parenting.
I am grateful to have realized how important it was for me to discover who this woman that stares back at me is so early on. And when I say that, I really hope you feel these words. Finding who you are after becoming a mother was never supposed to be a “How can I feel like the old me again?” journey. That is why we find that “lost” feeling lingering for years. We spend so much time looking to feel like that woman who didn’t experience carrying, birthing and raising a human. Or feeling like that woman who moved ever-so freely and did whatever she wanted without a second thought or quite frankly, a diaper bag to pack. It’s so important for us to recognize and appreciate the woman we once were, because she led us to this point. But it’s even more important to take time discovering the type of woman we want to be in present time. Someone that understands motherhood comes first, but that it doesn’t have to be our sole focus. A mother that still has passions and a drive to chase them, but knows how to create a healthy balance that allows us to be present with our children. A mother who goes out and doesn’t allow herself to feel guilty about enjoying time without her child on her lap.
Honest moment for me? The type of woman I am brought me to the realization that working made me a better mother for me child. Whew. The load of guilt I used to feel for spewing those words; for recognizing that I didn’t have a desire to be a stay-at-home mom. You know how horrible of a person, a woman, I felt for realizing how much more attentive, lively, and better of a mother I seemed to be after returning to work? “What kind of mother would choose working mom over stay-at-home mom?” Me… and about one hundred other women I’ve had the pleasure of having this conversation with since returning to work. And guess what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Going back to work allowed me to connect with myself in a way I wasn’t able to during my 5-month maternity leave. Being able to socialize with other adults, accomplish tasks, and stretch my muscles… that all contributed to me being a better mother!
Those small actions led me to realize that wanting more for myself was completely okay! It was okay for me to dedicate time to building a platform. It was okay for me to want to return to school, or even follow on entrepreneurial path. It was okay for me to go to the gym and work out for one hour and not get my son from daycare immediately after I left work. And it’s okay for you to do the same.
This isn’t to say that every mother must go back to work to excel. This is what worked for me. I just know one thing is certain – you must do something that sets your heart on fire, for YOU. If that’s being a stay-at-home mother, girl, do the damn thing!
I always speak about how as mothers, if we throw ourselves into motherhood and constantly say, “I’ll get to me later”, what happens when later comes? Because, Supermom, later is going to come. Our children are going to grow up, with all the lessons and teachings we’ve instilled, and go on their merry way to make us proud parents. They’re going to have their own friends, partners, careers, and dreams, and we are going to sit there, asking ourselves, “Who am I?” There is no ounce of guilt that has to ever be attached to your journey of answering that question.
I feel as though I got a little carried away with this blog post, but I think it’s so important to have women read these words.
So, Supermom, if there is something you feel you want to do for yourself… go for it. If it’s starting a new project, put your baby to bed, turn on the monitor, and start typing – in your phone, notebook or computer. Just start typing. If it’s launching a business idea, skip some lunch breaks with your coworkers and write out a business plan. If it’s a health and fitness journey, join a gym that offers childcare or turn on free YouTube fitness video and get moving in your living room.
Earlier this year, I told myself that going back to school to pursue a career that my heart wasn’t on fire for, and would take away the already limited time I had to spend with Jayden, was the best choice for me because I was so afraid to make my dreams a priority. I believed it so much that I even made a blog post about it. Sitting down with my honest thoughts and realizing that I can work towards my real dreams (that I will announce in 2019) and still be a present mother, all while still working on my health, fitness, blog, and me-time, was the most liberating feeling!
I am a mother first, but I am not a mother solely. I am also a partner, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, content creator, and listening ear to many other people. I am a woman who enjoys wine nights in the house alone as much as I enjoy bar nights in the city with friends. I am a woman who enjoys girl talk while I walk on the Stairmaster as much as I enjoy my one-on-one sessions with my therapist. I am the woman who manages to meal prep, outfit prep, record content, read books, and clean a home all on Sundays, as well as the woman who comes home and eats Ramen noodles while my son turns the house upside down on Thursdays. I am a woman who enjoys working a job that aids in my mental health and allows me to provide for my family as much as I love enjoying time off to bond with my child. I am all of those things. I do not wear one hat. I am a Supermom, and that word to me means being my truest self, unapologetically.