I have spent countless hours in therapy redefining myself. Learning I am not a one-dimensional being, I am not defined by my trauma or individual experiences. I play many roles and have had many experiences, and that this collection of roles and experiences is what actually defines me.

I’ve been practicing dialectic thinking: the idea that things are not one way or another, but somewhere in the mass spectrum of gray.

It’s actually quite funny that I have made so many of my life decisions either black or white because I surely don’t see the world in that simple way. In the process, I’ve had to unlearn all the staunch rules I’ve given myself on what being a mother should look like.

And there I go should-ing on myself.

RELATED: Hey Moms, Lose the Weight

I had unknowingly conditioned myself to believe that in order to be a good mother, I couldn’t be anything else.

My focus had to be my children every moment of my very existence. And if they weren’t, then that meant I was a selfish human who didn’t deserve these beautiful, complicated, emotionally exhausting, physically draining, yet awe-inspiring creatures.

Spoiler alert: all of my everything does not have to be centered around my children at all times. My from dawn until dusk does not have to be consumed by my raising little people.

Motherhood is a piece of my purpose and a part of my definition. Albeit a large piece and a huge part. The part that drives all my other parts.

But . . . 

I can be a giving mom and still need to put myself in time out.

I can be a devoted mom and still not want to read a story right now.

I can be a dedicated mom and still devote meaningful time to my marriage.

I can be an adventurous mom but still have hobbies outside of motherhood.

I can be a present mom and still look forward to bedtime and want a minute to catch up on my newsfeeds.

RELATED: Why Tired Moms Stay Up Late

I can practice self-care and still give my all to motherhood.

I can be an emotionally available mom and still have personal aspirations.

I can be a weary mom and as I tell my kids to give me personal bubble space, I still want all my kids under my roof and within arms reach.

RELATED: Every Mom Needs a Place to Hide

I can be a confident mom and still be unsure of myself.

I can be an adoring mom and still be angry and impatient.

I can be a loving mom and still be learning to love myself.

I can be a great mom and . . . still be everything else I am.

Previously published on the author’s blog

Sara Springer

Sara Springer is a story teller, child wrangler, mental health advocate and co-founder of Love Will Foundation, depression and anxiety warrior, yoga enthusiast and a staunch practitioner of sarcasm. She blogs about these things on occasion but you are more likely to find her in her Instagram stories because as a writer, she does not find much time to actually write.