A lot of my life now is defined by being a wife and a mother, especially since Calum’s diagnosis and the extra care necessary in my role as a mom, given his circumstances. This is my most important role in life and, indeed, the role I am most proud to occupy. My family is first and foremost and something I will never allow to take a back seat to anything else, but sometimes I have forgotten there is more to me than just being a mom. I know I am sort of stating the obvious here, but I am, in fact, a person independently from being a mother.
Sometimes remembering who you are outside of being a parent can be hard, especially with small children. I don’t have big children yet, but I imagine the absence of cleaning multiple people’s poops and forcing spoonful’s of peas down someone else’s throat every day gives you just slightly more freedom to focus on yourself. I realize with bigger children you have bigger emotional, social and more practical issues to tackle, but the physical, unrelenting demands of caring for children appear to lighten with age.
Having personal goals when you’re the primary caretaker to young children seems out of reach sometimes. Being a mom can leave you feeling a little under appreciated on a societal level but, I suppose, at the heart of it, what I have always wanted most from life is love and a family. In that vein, I do have a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment but, in another, I sometimes feel a little incomplete.
It is nearly impossible to have it all as a mom. If you’re an educated and motivated person but have chosen to dedicate your life to taking care of your family, you may still be left to wonder what you might have achieved professionally, had you continued to work. Working moms, on the other hand, carry the heavy burden of guilt that goes along with having to miss out on so much of kids’ day to day lives; a guilt that fathers may feel to an extent, but that generally doesn’t effect society’s perception of them as a parent. Though men bear a greater societal burden to provide for the family, they can wear that as a badge of honor. Women who are also providers, can sometimes feel judged or less maternal, not to mention the additional stress on them to keep up with the moms who are home and have more time to grocery shop, cook or work on school projects.
This dichotomy of motherhood is an issue for women, but is it driven by our own insecurities or has society created this conundrum for us? Why must our choices as women be dissected so much? Why can’t people be left alone to do whatever the hell they want without needing someone else’s opinion or approval? Society, media and social media have made such a damn stink about what everyone decides to do with their lives, that we can barely operate without the constant worry of pleasing everybody or, God forbid, offending someone (which is a problem for all of us, not just women). We are all so concerned with appearing a certain way and saying the right things that we can get caught playing a certain role, rather than being authentically ourselves.
I’m not saying let’s all go in the total opposite direction, or that it’s ok be an idiot and forget adherence to social norms. I still want people to maintain good hygiene and use basic manners but, how about this: how about we all just be decent people and, after that, stop giving a fuck about what everyone is going to think about us if we chose to do something that someone else doesn’t agree with? Can’t we all just heed the invaluable advice of the great Ron Burgundy who, to settle the score with Veronica Corningstone over the meaning of San Diego, so judiciously proclaimed that they, “agree to disagree?”
This concept is something I really need to take to heart more myself. It’s been on my mind, and it’s been a while since I have done much in the way of my own self-interest. I think it is because, deep down, I’ve worried that I might look selfish or less invested in my children, husband and home. I’ve taken so much pride in being good at that stuff because it is technically “my job”. The thing is though, I feel I could have something to offer beyond my role as a mother and homemaker. Recently, I have been working on some new professional endeavors. Starting this blog just about a year ago opened up a desire inside me, and my hope is to reach more people and achieve success through new mediums. Everything about doing this has actually been really hard for me. Everything I’ve shared has made me second guess myself at some point. Whether it’s my grammar, my thoughts, my language or my humor, it’s a risk to put yourself out there because I’ve opened myself to people’s opinions, both supportive and critical. That’s OK though, I’m tough enough to handle it, and here is all I need to know: I am a wife and a mother. I am person who has been through a lot. I know who I am and what is most important in life. I am a decent human. I am loved by the people who matter to me. I am so grateful for my incredible blessings. I will never lose sight of these things.
Here’s to doing something you want 2019. Wherever the chips may land, at least you’ll know you tried.