How To Be a Mom Without Losing Yourself.

Tonight, I hope  you’ll help me welcome another friend of mine – Meagan. She’s a fellow Btowner,  writer, and  blogger (go visit her). And she’s very good at making you think. Help her feel welcome, won’t you?

I’m so much more than a mom. Don’t get me wrong, being Mom is great and I wouldn’t change it. But, like most moms I know, I have a life beyond my kids – and I think that’s a good thing.

I have met moms who can’t imagine being away from their little tykes, but is that healthy? What happens when little Johnny grows up? If your whole life is defined by your kids (or anyone else), what does that say about who you are? And how do you adapt when you have to define yourself?

I’m outspoken, as a mom, as a woman, as a person. And I’m all those things. I think that’s something we sometimes forget – that we’re people in our own right.

When you spend so much time taking care of your children, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. It’s easy to brush aside your relationship with your spouse or partner, deciding you can work on that later when the kids grow up. It’s easy to lose track of your SELF, thinking this is your self.

I think I am a much better mom when I take care of myself. What do they tell you on an airplane? Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Why? Because you can’t help someone else unless you can help yourself. (Ok, on an airplane losing oxygen, there’s a practical reason because you’ll pass out if you don’t put your mask on, but I still think the parallel applies.)

When I have time to do things I enjoy, I’m calmer. Dealing with tantrums and histrionics is rough when you want to join them.

When my husband and I spend time alone together, it builds our relationship (and makes us happier), producing a stronger team. And it’s easier to parent when you have a strong team.

When my kids see me doing things I enjoy, I think it sets a good example. They see me read and hopefully that inspires a love of books. They see me happy and passionate about what I’m doing and that hopefully inspires them to be passionate about something – sports, music, art, math, it doesn’t matter what.

I want them to know that I love them and support them, but I also want them to be independent. Because raising happy, well-adjusted, independent children is my ultimate goal.

12 Comments on How To Be a Mom Without Losing Yourself.

  1. BalancingMama (Julie)
    May 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm (5 years ago)

    It’s so important to have this perspective. I fall into the martyr category waaay too often, and I’m finally desperate to fix it!

    Reply
    • Meagan
      May 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm (5 years ago)

      I had a hard time when my older son was very young. Especially because my husband started grad school, along with working full time, when we had an 8 month old at home. A little break down (he came home to me crying and miserable one evening) when I realized I needed to get out every so often and he realized that he needed to make that time available for me really helped.

      Reply
  2. Unknown Mami
    May 24, 2011 at 9:07 pm (5 years ago)

    Yes all the way around! You have to be a full person in your own right.

    Reply
    • Meagan
      May 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm (5 years ago)

      I don’t get how anyone thinks they can raise a whole person if they don’t know how to be one.

      Reply
  3. Jen
    May 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm (5 years ago)

    I can totally relate to this post. I am a mom who doesn’t want to be with her children every second. I believe that leaving them for periods of time is the best thing I can do for both of us. Like you said, it teaches them independence and gives me a time to remember who I am as a person.

    Reply
    • Meagan
      May 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm (5 years ago)

      It’s tough to expect them to adjust to school and being out on their own if we never give them opportunities. But that’s probably why there are so many college students who have mom call when they get a bad grade (trust me, they do).

      Reply
  4. Amanda C
    May 25, 2011 at 9:30 am (5 years ago)

    This is especially appropriate for us nursing mommies of young babies. It’s so easy to forget about ourselves when our minds, hearts, and bodies are devoted to caring for them and making certain they’re healthy. The guilt of wanting to be by ourselves and do something for ourselves for just a few minutes really sinks in at this time of life.
    Thanks for sharing, Meagan! I needed that this morning. :)

    Reply
    • Meagan
      May 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm (5 years ago)

      That first year or so is hard because they are so dependent, especially on mom. That’s one reason I’m happy my boys are growing up. It’s easier to find time for myself now.

      Reply
  5. Allison Dellion
    May 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm (5 years ago)

    Meagan, I love your blunt, open, and honest attitude. You would actually be hard pressed to find a mom who has not at one time or another felt the same way!

    @Amber, Thanks for hosting another btown mama!

    @Amanda C, I felt the same way nursing mine. I hope you’ll find some relief now that your youngest is ready for table food! Both times, I felt the first six months were the hardest!

    Reply
    • Meagan
      May 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm (5 years ago)

      I actually have met moms who look at me like I’m crazy that I want to get away from my kids from time to time. Being a mom is the entire reason for their existence. It’s rare, but I guess it happens. I just think it’s kind of sad because their kids will eventually grow up and then who are they?

      Reply
  6. Lady Jennie
    June 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm (5 years ago)

    It’s hard for me to find the balance of taking care of myself without escaping. I think there’s a fine line and I’m more likely to escape (blog while the kids are in front of the tv) than I am to nurture myself.

    Reply

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