Yes, Being A Mom Does Define Me
“Mommy? Momma? Mommyyyyy?” I hear the pleas from the upstairs bathroom and realize I am needed. A certain kindergartner not quite ready to turn on the faucet and get the water going is ready for his bath. I get the tub filling and help him gather his dirty clothes. A few minutes later, my daughter asks for homework help. After she is settled, I get working on our calendar for the week and figure out who needs to go where and what I will make for dinner each night. This all sounds so mundane. And for many women, it would be. For me, it just makes me happy. They are all reminders that I am doing something I had hoped to do my whole life- be a parent. I have realized lately, despite fighting this notion for years, that being a mom does define me. And I am perfectly ok with it.
I had my children young, and that was by design. I wanted to be a mother, full stop. I was excited anticipating all aspects of parenthood. When I first had my daughter, I did go through times where it panicked me to think of motherhood defining me. There were solo car rides where I would blast music and cry thinking of the loss of my former self. These feelings intensified during my son’s infancy where taking care of a toddler and a baby left little time for anything else. I felt stripped of everything that defined me previously- reduced to this person that existed solely to keep children alive. I felt lost at times and wondered if “just” being a mother was enough.
Over time, I began to realize- I was not lost. I was found. I still had my personality but I had a whole new dimension added when my kids were born. I began to see it as something to celebrate rather than mourn. I am a mother. Even in the worst moments, this was still an amazing thing to me. As much as I was proud of my singing abilities and my wonderful lasagna, I quickly came to see that I was most proud of being a good mother. And there is nothing wrong with that.
It is not that I don’t do anything for myself- I certainly do. More than most mothers I know, actually. I still have outside interests. I still go to the gym almost daily. I still have friendships and thoughts all my own that have nothing to do with my kids. But when it comes down to it, my kids are my favorite aspect of my life and the title of Mother is the one I’m most proud of. Does it mean I expect other mothers to feel the same way or that I look down on the ones that openly fight the idea of motherhood being their defining accomplishment? Nope, not at all. I am all about you doing you. I just know that me doing me means defining myself by my role as a mother. Not completely, but mostly.
I write this because for a long time, I hid these feelings and tried to deny them. I see it so often- the insistence that we are not JUST mothers- as if that is somehow shameful to admit. That we cannot lose ourselves in parenthood and our children because we still matter. And I know that I DO still matter- but being a mother is what fulfills me most of all. I’m sure as my kids get older, my identity as a mother will shift and change and I don’t expect them to be the center of my universe forever. But for now, it fits. And that is completely fine by me.
(Image: Irina Bg/Shutterstock)