There are some moms who dreamed of almost nothing but becoming a mom. Their hearts explode with happiness when planning play dates and Pinteresting the shit out of their sweet cherub’s first birthday.
Then, there is me.
Did I want children? Yes, but it wasn’t a pivotal feature defining my identity, like I felt was the case for other parents. Prior to the birth of my firstborn, I desired to be a mother, but I also equally strove for a successful career, healthy marriage and other traits that promised to fulfill and complete me. So, for me, while motherhood existed within this equation, it was only a piece to the larger puzzle.
While this argument probably characterizes me as an insensitive asshole who hates tiny humans, this can’t be further from the truth. I love my children—even at their worst—and furthermore, I love my role as their mother. Proof? I’ve had three kids in the past five years and I'm currently in serious contemplation for a fourth.
Regardless of my hopes and aspiration pre-kids, I did hold onto this naive falsehood that when I pushed that human out my vag, I would immediately be transformed into a June Cleaver of sorts—completely satisfied with drowning in my family’s needs and demands as if it fueled my existence.
My role of taking care of (my family) isn’t all-encompassing. I am more than a mother and wife.
Well, that baby exited (and then some) but no magical awakening occurred. I even admit to being disappointed and embarrassed with this internal conflict of not becoming what I thought motherhood was supposed to be.
Putting aside the mushy "becoming a mother" warm and fuzzies, I was exhausted, tired and depleted of any energy. I ached to escape the constant needs of my family, realizing my sanity could only be kept with much-needed breaks. Instead of staying up until 2 a.m. glue-gunning a Halloween costume, I chose sleep and wasting money on some overpriced cloth from a local retail spot. More often than not, dinners were made from someone else’s two hands or comprised of some quick-serve option from a box. When faced with the struggle of either staying at home or returning to work, I eagerly raced to regain my role in corporate America, because the stay-at-home mom gig wasn’t for me.
I love my children, husband and family in its entirety, but my role of taking care of them isn’t all-encompassing. I am more than a mother and wife. I'm also a writer, runner, adventurer and amateur gardener. I’m a binge-watcher of TV, avid Amazon Primer and enjoyer of a dry cab and seriously dark chocolate. While these aren't all inclusive of what I am and what makes me me, they're separate from my efforts in keeping my family semi-functional.
Running a family is as serious as it gets, which makes it unbelievably easy to lose yourself in. Without realizing, it can take over. Although my family’s happiness is satisfying and directly related to my own, it isn’t dependent on it. My own fulfillment doesn’t rest on my efforts in child-rearing or parenting, and I don’t see this changing in the future. As time goes on and life becomes more chaotic juggling the constant of raising children, I must work harder to carve and seek out additional ways to keep my own individuality. After all, a happy mom is a happy family, am I right?