In most instances, people are not what they do, but in Motherhood the marriage of the two is as seamless as the Separation of Church and state in Rome. In no other aspect of our lives does one single event of our life forever define who we are to the outside world as does becoming a Mother. It not only instantaneously changes how we view ourselves, how our family and friends view us; it changes the way we are viewed by the entire world. It’s not like being a Republican or Democrat, you can’t hide that you are a Mommy. Besides being recognizable by the obvious changes of Motherhood; your body, the tethering of a small human being to your side for 18+ years, and chronic food/spit/shit/ or urine on your clothing. There are also the not so obvious changes, the slow softening around the edges, the small appendage roaming the world freely (your heart), and the ever present elation filled with sadness and extreme exhaustion readily seen on most, if not all, Mommies faces.
The moment we become a Mother in our minds, whether it be at conception, labor, the moment we hold that newborn, or at that moment they first call out for us, we are changed forever. Never again to be that same woman we were before that moment, at least not entirely. However, where is the line between being their Mommy and the woman independent of the child? We become so consumed with the task at hand (being said Mommy) that we sometimes forget about the woman behind the miracle.
I sometimes look at my girls and I am in awe that I have anything to do with molding such amazing little humans; little lone that I am the sole reason they are on this earth. In those instances, I feel as if I am capable of accomplishing almost anything. I feel as if my potential is limitless. Then I catch a glimpse of myself in my ponytail and yoga pants and I feel like an incredible failure. How can someone who can do so many amazing things for and with her children have such little regard for herself? I am barely recognizable to myself in the mirror. I have become so immersed in their lives, their dreams and goals that I have forgotten about my own. Well, obviously I have not entirely forgotten, since I am referencing and acknowledging the fact that I ever had dreams and goals of my own, but I have certainly pushed myself to the side in many ways.
Like most Mommies, I do this willingly. After all, isn’t Martyrdom #1 in the Mommy manual? Nevertheless, am I really doing them any favors in the end? I have girls, so do I want to be the example that imprints on their tiny brains that being a Mommy= losing yourself and relinquishing all of your hopes and dreams? Obviously, that would be a resounding Hell no! That would be, by far, the greatest disservice that I could ever do to my girls. I think to be a really great Mommy, we have to be willing to let our children see us as humans and as women with interests, hopes, and dreams outside of just being their Mother. I struggle with this daily. Most days, I lose the battle.
Our children are our top priority but shouldn’t we be a priority on our own life, as well? Our children need to see us succeed, fail, survive it all and to pick ourselves up and continue on. If I were practicing as a lawyer or a doctor, I would not let it engulf my entire life. I would still allow myself outside interests, friends, hopes, and dreams. If we don’t do the same with Motherhood, who will we be when our children are grown and don’t need us to be their every thing? How will we define who we are if we have completely forgotten who we were?