If you're reading this, you might have guessed I'm a mom. I parent two super-cute kiddos that I was lucky enough to grow inside my body and eventually birth without too much hassle. I'm also a wife, a sister, a friend, a daughter, a coworker, a national champion, a college-educated woman, and a volunteer. I'm much more than "just a mom", but it can be really hard to remember that when I'm wrestling my toddler into a carseat.
Society (that's the shorter way to say your friends, partner, parents, coworkers, boss, Tom, Dick, and Harry) hammers this ideal mom archetype into our brains from day one. The ideal mom is one who always puts her kids before herself, who devotes every hour of her life to her babies.
I call bullshit.
You, my friend, are more than "just a mom". You're still who you were before kids came into the picture - while everyone grows over time, you probably haven't done a 180 on your core values or beliefs. You didn't suddenly forgot how to build an algorithm, or broker a deal, or speak Italian. The resume of your personhood is diverse and expanding, but that past experience section didn't just vanish because you pooped out (or adopted) a baby. It might not feel like it, but you have more to offer this world than a quick diaper change or your nipple. To nurse on. For the billionth time.
Now, I'm absolutely not bashing stay-at-home moms. That's a tough job and you guys are CHAMPIONS in my eyes. Even stay-at-home moms have more to offer than their ability to multi-task while keeping children alive. Actually, I see a trend in stay-at-home moms - y'all sometimes forget that you once held down a 9-to-5. You underestimate what you bring to the table, or you pour so much of yourself into parenting that you forget to make yourself a priority. Give yourself permission to nurture your interests - take a class, pick your guitar back up and play, carve out time to learn a new language. Heck, even if you just meet a friend for coffee once a week - you can be their lifeline and confidant. To them, you could be the difference between feeling alone and feeling loved. And that, my friend, is an important role to fill.
This isn't exactly self-care. It's maybe better described as self-realization? I'm all about a good bubble bath, but that won't fix what ails me if I don't continue to be the same well-rounded person I was before my son was born. If I lose my identity to the mom archetype.
So don't lose yourself in the laundry. Be brave and lean into the fear and put yourself out there! I'd never give you advice I wouldn't take myself. I love my kids so much. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't look forward to their bedtime. Because after they go to sleep, I can find a few moments to put words on paper. I can remind myself that mommyhood hasn't destroyed my brain (completely) and I still have a voice to share. I remind myself - and I live an example I'd be proud for my kids to follow. It's my hope that they, too, keep chasing their dreams in the midst of child-rearing chaos. Time waits for no mom.
"Mom" is just one of my titles. It's not my only title. I'm all that a mom is, and so much more. And so are you.