As you grow older, you change. Your mind expands, your opinions alter, and your role in the world shifts. As a girl growing up I was called by my birth name and when I got married, people started calling me by my married name. My identity had shifted a little. Fast forward several years and stop at the birth of my first-born. I was now not only called by my name, but now I was also said baby’s mother. Now that I have two small children, I think my original identity flew out the window and sometimes I’m not really sure who my actual person is. I can’t be the only one.
As you experience the rigors of motherhood, your time is no longer your own. Relationships change, friendships sometimes fade, and what you used to fill your time with is no longer how you fill your time. I know, I said “time”. What is that again?
This whole experience of mommyhood is different for everyone. Some of us remain in the working world, balancing being a mom and making a living outside the home. Others choose to put work on hold to stay home and do the mommy thing full time. I am in the latter category. I can’t say that I’m always confident that I made the right decision, but most days I think I’m doing what is best for my family.
There is, however, a double-edged sword that comes with being a stay at home mom (SAHM). In many ways, the life you once had ceases to exist and the new one you adopt is something you cannot anticipate or prepare for. Life as a SAHM can be lonely and isolating. I find myself feeling self-conscious when filling out paperwork and not having something to write in the “Employer” column. I feel like there are people who really wonder what I do all day. To be honest, there are days that I myself wonder what I have accomplished.
I’m rarely called by my name anymore when I’m out doing errands. I am now _______’s mom at the pediatrician’s office, at preschool, and at swimming lessons. My identity has been whittled down to these little people who belong to me. I am their mom. I’m not complaining; I’m lucky to have such adorably, amazing children. I do, however, want them to grow up and see that in addition to being their mom (and hopefully they think I’m a good one), I’m also great at other things.
How do you balance life with children? How do you continue to grow and learn and have fulfilling friendships? These aren’t hypothetical questions – I really want to know!
In the end, being a mom is the most important job we will ever do. But, it doesn’t have to be the only job we’ll ever do.