“Just a mom” a phrase that I believe contradicts itself by its very wording. I am a firm believer that motherhood is the highest calling, that raising children to be awesome adults and good people is one of the most challenging, rewarding, heartbreaking, amazing experiences that can come out of life.
Whether you are a mom who stays home or a mom who works outside the home, motherhood is not a job, not a task, but a state of being. It is a profound change in who you are, how you see life, how you deal with things, and an exercise in how deeply you are able to love another human being.
But… it’s ok to want to be something more.
I’ve been a stay at home mom for 18 years, and I’ve loved it. But I understand what mom’s mean when they say, “Oh, I’m just a mom”
They aren’t in any way diminishing motherhood, making light of the job that they have before them. They are in no way saying that they don’t think that what they are doing is important. What they are saying, if it could be rephrased is…
“Right now a mom is all I am.”
They have become a mom, first and foremost… and only. It’s easy to do. It is so easy to be completely consumed by taking care of children. After all when they are little they need everything from you, from feeding, diapering, bathing, waking in the night, dressing… the list goes on and on.
Once you’ve passed the infant stage toddlers and preschoolers although more independent are even more demanding. You begin to see personalities develop, you are working on teaching them, answering the 4.78 million questions they ask every day, picking your battles about why they can’t wear the same shirt for the fourth day in a row, and why they need to at least try their peas.
As they grow and school and extracurricular activities start you are still in demand. Yes, maybe at this point you can shower uninterrupted… maybe, and you have a little more me time, but the job of mom is still an incredibly demanding one. There’s bake sales, swim meets, meetings, Dr. and dentist appointments… super mom is still in high demand, and your energy is focused
And that is an easy place to get stuck. It is easy to become a mom, and only a mom, and forget who you were before your kids came along.
And it’s ok to want to be more than that.
It’s ok if you want to pick up a new hobby, something that makes you feel alive. It’s ok if you want to go back to something you used to do, before kids, that helps you remember who you are when you aren’t being mommy.
It’s ok if you want to start a blog, write a novel, become a pampered chef consultant, take a ballroom dancing class, finish your degree.
It’s ok that you want to be more than “just a mom.”
Don’t feel like that by wanting more, wanting something of your own that you are somehow saying that motherhood isn’t your most important job. Don’t let the guilt get you, by wanting to be more you, and have an identity outside of motherhood you are doing your children a great service.
One day you will find yourself telling them to pursue their dreams. Wouldn’t it be nice to have achieved some of yours. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be an example of that to them, let them follow in your footsteps, instead of telling them how you put your goals to the side to be a mom?
One day those little demanding people will be grown. Believe me 18 years goes by quicker than you can even imagine. You will still be a mom, and a grandma, but will you be you?? It’s important to let yourself have something that defines you outside motherhood so that when this season of your life passes and changes you have something to focus on.
You don’t want to end up resenting being a mom, or what you have given up by dedicating your life to your kids. I know resent is a strong word, but it is an easier trap to fall into than many people realize. One day when you are exhausted and realize that every minute of your life is spent lazer focused on your family, you can end up feeling very negative about that. Having a little space, a little time, a little focus on yourself can help you be a better mom.
I’m not saying abandon your family and run away to the circus. I’m not saying put yourself first to the detriment of your family. I’m saying be who you want to be within your role as mommy. Realize some of your dreams may take a different form than you thought they would but you can still have them. Some of your hobbies might take longer to complete but you don’t have to give them up.
For a long time I got lost in the idea of being “just a mom” I felt like if I was going to be a good mom that was all I could be. I let the mom guilt get me in a big way. If I was spending time doing something for myself, spending money or energy on a hobby of mine, that was taking away from my kids. I had trouble picking out what clothes I wanted to wear on some days because I felt like my own identity had just kind of melted away into the background.
I wish someone had told me then that it’s ok to want to be more. It’s ok to want to find yourself and how you fit in your life as a mom. It’s ok to want to achieve, chase your dreams, carve out time and energy for just yourself.
So now that I know I am telling you. I am telling all my mom friends, the new moms and the seasoned ones. It’s ok to want to be you, to chase those dreams, set those goals.
It’s ok to want to be more than “just a mom”