There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity.
But what if you don’t want that?
When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself?
Why are you less of a mom if you choose takeout over home-cooked meals in order to get some time to yourself in the evening instead of cleaning the kitchen? Why are you looked down on if your kids go to daycare a few hours a week so you can have the time to get things done that don’t revolve around your family?
Society says the woman who devotes her entire self to motherhood is the best mom.
What a load of crap.
I do not have to let my true self disintegrate into the abyss of the past in order to be a good mom.
I wish I would’ve realized this sooner. I’ve spent the past almost five years being a martyr for my family and I am done doing it. (Thanks therapy! You’re the best!)
I am a mother, yes. But I am also a friend, sister, aunt, and daughter. I’m a neighbor, church member, teacher, employee, and volunteer. I was a wife before I became a mother, but society often tells you even that takes a backseat to your kids.
Motherhood does not have to be my entire identity. I tried that, and honestly, it just made me sad.
I love my kids. I’d go to the moon for them if they needed it. But I never want them to look back one day when they’re grown with kids of their own and find that my life outside of my family ceased to exist once they were born.
I never want my children to think I lived less of a life because of them.
But the reality is that I have the past five years. This was by no means my children’s fault, I thought I was doing it in the name of being a good mom. I was under the impression that in order to prove I’m a good mom and that I love my children, I had to give up everything that doesn’t revolve around them. And, well, that’s just not true.
I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty that I like alone time and that I need it. I am not a bad mom to ask for a solo hotel stay on Mother’s Day even though society tells you you’re supposed to spend all day letting your kids shower you with breakfast in bed, clean houses, and mimosas. (And let’s be honest, none of that actually happens in real life. It’s just another normal day with a Happy Mother’s Day card opened at some point.)
I like going out with my friends even if it means missing a baseball game. My family needs the chance to leave Dad home with the kids for dinner, baths, and bedtime, and I’m not less of a mom for doing that. Parenting isn’t 100% my job, my kids have a father who also needs, and deserves, to be involved.
Consistently pouring out of an already empty cup (honestly, a bottomless cup) was making me a bitter, lonely, sad, and angry wife and mother.
I was not being true to myself. I was doing what I thought I had to since I was a mom now. But I’ve learned this: I am allowed to have a life outside of my kids, and I’m still a good mom.
I do not have to martyr myself in the name of motherhood.
I do not have to shrink my desires because I am a mom. I am still allowed to dream and do with kids in tow. I don’t have to shut my future down for 20-ish years to rear children. I can stay true to my own heart and desires while still serving my family adequately in my role as mom.
One day, my kids will grow up and move out. I mean, that is the goal of this whole mom gig—raise them to be independent to go out into the world on their own. I don’t want 20-something years to go by and I spend every ounce of my time and my being devoted to motherhood because then what’s left when they move out? Unfulfilled dreams? Regret? Would there be anger? Hostility? A lonely marriage?
If you are burnt out, trying to fill a bottomless cup, and carrying around a load that is much too great for you to carry, then I invite you to take a step back and look at why you’re in the position you’re in. Did you put yourself there listening to the lies of society like I did? Do you have a spouse who put you there? Do you have women in your life who have pressured you there?
Please don’t martyr yourself for the sake of being a good mom. You can still be a good mom by putting yourself first.
Arguably, I think that makes you a great mom.