More Than a Mom
Mom, Mommy, Mama, Mother.
Sister, daughter, wife, friend, employee.
Nanny, chef, nurse, housekeeper, mediator, chauffeur, teacher, confidant, advisor, disciplinarian, counselor, family manager.
It’s true. The titles and roles a mother fulfills are virtually endless. We are any one of these things at any given time, sometimes all of them simultaneously.
But who are we when the roles and titles are stripped away? If you remove the term “mom” and all it involves from your life, what’s left behind?
A recent break from my own children has left me re-evaluating who I am and what I do. After a recent trip to Door County, Wisconsin, my husband and I headed home after three days while my daughters stayed behind with my husband’s parents for an additional two nights.
Being in my own house without my children here, having no one to tuck in at night or make breakfast for in the morning, has allowed me a fresh glimpse of who I really am. Yes, I am a mom. And that’s a huge part of who I am and what consumes my time every day. But as wonderful and fulfilling as motherhood is, it is intended to be a job that I eventually work myself out of. If I fulfill my role well, my children will reach adulthood not needing me anymore. Needless to say, I will always be present in their lives. I hope that for the remainder of my days my children will consider me a friend and their closest ally; but I also hope that they will grow to be mature and independent, taking what I have attempted to instill in them since childhood and living it out on their own.
I love being a mother, and I am a tremendous fan of all mothers, in all their beautiful varieties. I am in awe of the role of motherhood, the amazing responsibility we carry with the role we play in our children’s lives, the unique bond only a mother can share with their child.
That being said, if motherhood consumes all that we are and all that we do, what happens to us when our children are grown? What happens when our children are ready to start making their own way, being their own person? What is left of you?
Enjoying and relishing your role as mommy is wonderful and expected and necessary. But in the midst of motherhood, don’t lose who you are. Make a point to intentionally have time just for you. Schedule a “girls’ night out” with your friends once a month, make time for a hobby you had before kids, take a class once a week just for the pure enjoyment of it, take a weekend vacation- gasp!- by yourself once a year, read a book that doesn’t have illustrations in it, watch a movie all by yourself. Whatever it is, do something that is for no one else but you.
Unsure what to do with those precious children while you’re making time for yourself? Make use of those precious moments they are asleep: early in the morning, nap time, or get them in bed on time and use those valuable evening hours. Make use of grandparents, aunts, and uncles. If you don’t have family members available to help with your children, talk to a friend about trading childcare every other week or two.
In the end, relish every moment of motherhood. Enjoy the precious gifts that your children are for the time that they are with you. But in addition, keep in touch with who you are. Do things that you enjoy. Take part in activities with other adults, sans children. Get in touch with that woman you were before the kids came along, she’s still there.