Am I just a mom? Is this my life now…changing the 4th diaper and its only 9am… Slept 2 hours last night…Didn’t brush my hair this morning. ..coffee in my veins. ..playing Barbies for the 4243 time today…. Has this become my new lifestyle? This can’t be right. When I hear mom for the millionth time today, is that my identity? I didn’t just suddenly exist when I had kids, right? There was someone before this. Is it bad to miss her? Should I feel all the guilt for even thinking about it?
These questions have been totally stressing me out lately. I don’t know why all of the sudden I’ve started to question my role in life. Nothing momentous has happened. But maybe that’s just it. Maybe the mundane is sparking this little crisis. Maybe the fact that I have a trillion things I want to do but can’t even seem to find the time to get dressed.
I love my kids. But can I admit that I’m not totally in love with a mom lifestyle? Are these two things even connected? Do I have to love this lifestyle to love my kids? Honestly, at this point in my life and my mothering, I say no! I’m done pretending that I love everything to do with motherhood. That’s like saying that I like scrubbing toilets because I love a clean house. No one really likes changing diapers and being up all night. Maybe some people like playing Barbies, but I don’t. And can I tell you how much I hate those library classes. If I have to sit through another one, I’m gonna fucking scream. So how much of yourself do you have to give up when you become a mom? Is there a point when the person you once were can disappear, and how hard do we need to fight to preserve it?
Lets face it, having kids, whether its 1 or 10, is time consuming. Never mind that. LIFE consuming. It changes your identity. We become different people through lack of sleep, loss of freedom, our new ever consuming role, no ‘real’ accomplishments during the day (we’ve all been there… “what did you do today”…. “the kids are alive, aren’t they”), and you don’t look like yourself anymore. There has never been a point in my life where I have gotten ready so quickly. My new beauty routine is to check to make sure my boob isn’t still hanging out from an all night breastfeeding session (opps, I fall asleep with my baby in my bed). You even get a new name, well a variety of new names…mom, mommy, momma, hey you, I need, can you. But this doesn’t have to be your only identity. It shouldn’t. I’m not ‘just a mom.’ In fact, I want my kids to know the woman I was before I was mom way more than I want them to know this stretch pants wearing, bone tired, short tempered coffeeholic. I want them to know that the woman is still here under all the yelling and impatient moments because that’s who I want them to love and strive to be. Could you imagine if they only thought this was who I am and I didn’t show them the real me? I wouldn’t be friends with this person so why would they want to.
So while it is necessary to change our lives for our kids, it doesn’t mean I’m giving up everything. Hell, I was here first. I say they should fit into my lifestyle. I’m not giving up restaurants for the next 12 years. You can sit like a human being and let me enjoy my meal. And speaking of meals, I’m not eating chicken nuggets and fries until you acquire taste buds. You can eat what I made or don’t eat at all. I’m also not playing Barbies (can you tell I fucking hate Barbies?!) Instead, you can play Barbies by yourself and when you want to play with me, lets compromise and do something we both want to, like go for a hike. No, I’m not giving up everything. You came into my life. Not the other way around and this is how I roll.
So how do we get through motherhood without totally being consumed by it?
Take time alone. Even if you need to plunk them in front of the tv. Or make them cry in their crib. Read a book. Write a blog. Just sit and drink coffee. Just like we make time for old friends, make time for yourself.
Do your hair. Or buy a new outfit. Or simply put on some hotass jeans. Just make yourself feel good.
Talk to friends. Find new ways to connect. So maybe I can’t go to a bar on a random Tuesday night anymore, but I can grab some pizzas, invite my girls over, and throw the kids downstairs with a movie and talk and laugh until….well 10pm. Because I am still a mom who doesn’t want to deal with overtired shitheads in the morning
Hold onto what makes you you. Even if it’s only a tiny piece of it. That way, it will be easier to get back when you’re ready. For me, it’s my horses. Am I able to give them I time I used to? No. But it is worth waking up at the crack of dawn just to feel like me, even if it’s only for an hour.
Stop comparing. Some people really fall into motherhood and embrace it wholeheartedly. Then there’s moms like me who fight the conventional mother role and want to do it differently. Do what’s right for your family. A happy mom is better for everyone.
Don’t define yourself solely on your role in life. You are more than just one thing, whether its mom, wife, friend, lawyer, farmer. That way, if one of these things is no longer your role in life, you can get through it without questioning who you are.
Make kids a part of YOUR lifestyle. I really love kayaking so I took all for of my little shits with me. ALONE. And it was totally fine. And they all had fun. And saw me having fun. Totally better than a miserable mom forcing a smile through a game of barbies. I’m not sitting at a smelly indoor trampoline place because that’s what I think kids want. They will gravitate towards your lifestyle if that is what they are shown
There’s some days when I feel like I’ve totally lost sight of who I am. There’s days when I can’t even answer the question, “what do you do for fun.” And these are the days when I force myself to do something for myself. To remember I’m still here, not lost in this mom life. To remember that I’m not on this planet to wash dirty underwear and feed kids 387 times a day or referee the 18th fight about who gets the last whatever. I think we all need a reminder sometimes. We are moms but not just a mom.
So what do you all think? Should we fit into our kids lifestyle or should they fit into ours?