Before getting married and having kids I knew exactly who I was. 10 years later and I know I am not the same person, but I wonder what defines me now. I am so scared that one day I will wake up, look in the mirror and not recognize the face staring back at me. Yes, I am married, but does being a wife define me? Yes, I have children, but does being a mother define me? Am I defined by my career choice or the fact that I stay home with my children? Am I defined by how I dress each day? I refuse to get lost in one of these aspects of my life and allow only that to define me. I am who I am because of all these things together, and no matter how many children I have, or how busy life gets, I will not give up a part of myself.
Getting married changes you. You are no longer living for yourself. You have a partner, a better half. The reason you married this person is because you brought out the best in each other. This doesn’t mean though that you have to change who you are. There will be things that the two of you can do together, and there will be times when you need time apart doing things you enjoy doing without your husband.
Having children changes you. (Understatement of the year, I know) You now have a tiny human who depends on you for everything. Does that mean you need to give up everything you once enjoyed doing? Heck no! Doing things for yourself makes you a happier person, and when you are happy, you can be the best mom you can be. It is also important to show your children that the world does not revolve around them. They need to see mom taking care of herself and doing things for herself. I asked my children one day to answer a simple question “What does mommy like to do for fun?” I was so pleased at their responses. All but one of the children mentioned things that I really do like to do for fun, like singing and art. More importantly, they made sure to acknowledge that I enjoyed it when I was by myself (they are smart ones). The littlest one said I like to read to him for fun, which of course is true, and for a 2 year old, the world really does revolve around him. But the point is that my children understand that I have interests other than them, and I know that in 15 years when all of our children are out of the house, my husband and I will not sit at the dinner table looking at each other and not have anything to say. We will still be the people we fell in love with.
Work is a hard one, especially in this day and age when companies require 40 plus hours a week, and everyone is constantly connected with email, social media, etc. It is hard not to get lost in your work. To keep my career from defining me I am constantly trying new things, dreaming up new ventures, and I never stop learning. Think of something you are passionate about and teach yourself everything you can about it. Learning is actually fun when you enjoy what you are learning about, who knew?
It’s easy these days to give so much, that we end up losing ourselves. I encourage all of my fellow mama’s to not fall victim to this. Hold onto those pieces of you that make you YOU. Take time for yourself, try something new (just for you) and never stop learning. You’ve signed your children up for endless sports and activities, now its your turn! Sign-up for that painting class you’ve always wanted to do, or start a club with some fellow moms with the same interests. Being a work at home mom, I sincerely appreciate an intellectual conversation with another adult. I love my Book Club and my other club of fellow work at home moms just for this reason.
Whatever you like to do, go out and do it! Don’t feel guilty, feel accomplished and whole. Your children will become who you are, so be who you want them to become.