I read a blog post the other day on an issue that has not gone unnoticed in the “momming” world. It was titled “Don’t Call Me ‘Mom’ Unless You’re My Kid”. The author goes on to say she is more than just a mom, that motherhood is only a part of her. She qualifies all this by saying that the old her is still in there, alive and well! I’ve seen countless posts with similar themes and I’ve even written one myself. [link here]
They’re totally relatable! What mom hasn’t felt a little overshadowed by this new role in life? It’s so easy to lose yourself in motherhood, to make your kids the main focus and forget about taking care of yourself. Motherhood – no parenthood – is hard. But why is it hard? I’ll get to that.
I realized too as I read the aforementioned article, just how negative we can be about this whole experience of having children (disclaimer: the author wasn’t necessarily negative about children, but it sparked a thought process in my mind). Don’t get me wrong, we all need to vent once in a while or even mourn the loss of the life we once knew or the self we once were. But I’ve even been concerned that I may turn off my currently childless friends and siblings from ever wanting to have any children of their own! I mean, heck, I rarely shower or put on makeup, I’ve put on extra weight that’s difficult to lose, I rarely sleep through the night (and by rarely, we’re talking I never do) and I don’t do anything without these little people hanging on me, unless I get a sitter (and getting a sitter can be much easier said than done!). So isn’t all of that just a ringing endorsement for becoming a mom?? Uuuuuhhhh.
On the other side of things, there are also some great posts written on the perks of mothering and all the sweet, wonderful, heart warming moments it entails. There are a lot! If there weren’t, no one would do this. Let alone do it over and over.
Here’s what I think I understand now: I’m actually not more than “just a mom.” I’m also not the same old me as before. She’s not really in there anymore. And thank God! I’m SO different. And pretty much all of the different (outside of the periodic lapse in hygiene) is better than before. I am stronger than I once was, more confident, more capable. These human beings exist who share mine and my husbands genetics and they carry a piece of who we are in them, forever. That’s just cool!! I am a mom. That is who I am. I’ll always be that; it never goes away. Just like I’ll always be a sister and a daughter and a wife. I’ve never read any articles about how I’m “more than just a sister” or “more than just a daughter.” Let’s stop treating motherhood like it’s stealing our identity instead of adding to it! I am SO guilty of this. But seriously, it shapes who we are now and it’s a valid, beautiful description. We earned that title!! And we continue to earn it every single day.
So why is it SO hard? It’s hard because anything worth having is hard. Parenthood exposes all the ugly parts of yourself that were already there. It makes you realize how much growing and changing you need to do. Just like marriage, just like any relationship or challenging experience you go though. It’s going to mold you and shape you until you are your best self (if you let it). And the more you resist that polishing, the more difficult it becomes. Give in with reckless abandon to all the messy bits of life that make up your new identity. Whether it’s in motherhood, a new position at your job, a new relationship, the loss of one, single, married, empty nester, wherever you find yourself in life. Let each experience be an opportunity for growth and add to who you are as a person. That’s something we will never regret.