When I became a mom it was a hard transition from having alone time whenever I needed it to having a baby attached at the hip 24/7. The one piece of advice I got from an older wiser mom was to schedule some time for yourself EVERY WEEK. ”Even if you just go to the coffee shop down the street make sure you get some alone time,” she would say. At first I thought this was a bit overkill. Did I really need it every week? But with the help of my in-laws I always had Friday evening to myself to do whatever it was I needed. Sometimes I would just go do errands or go out with girlfriends. Other times I would spend it writing at the nearby coffee shop. On rare occasions I would splurge and just go shopping for myself. I noticed that if I missed a Friday evening for more than a week in a row I started to get edgy and short-tempered. Yet the longer I would go without alone time the harder it was for me to take it.
One time I was really tired and didn’t feel like putting in the effort to leave the house. I recall making myself get in the car and drive to the mall. I walked into a women’s clothing store thinking I would look for a dress for Easter and the minute the sweet sales girl asked me my dress size I burst into tears. I didn’t know it. This from the girl who loved fashion and putting together new outfits! I had forgotten how to shop for myself. It was an important realization for me, not because I needed to make more time to shop for myself, but because I needed to not have my entire identity wrapped up in my children.
As a mom it’s easy to put everyone else’s needs above your own (frankly you have to be self-sacrificing to some extent). But it’s also important to not make your entire identity about your kids. I want my son to have the strength of character to be his own person and not what someone else says or thinks he should be. How am I teaching him this if my entire identity is about him? He needs to see me as a separate entity from himself. One that has her own likes and dislikes. One that enjoys singing and dancing and cupcakes. We have even started teaching Little Man his full name, first, middle and last. At the same time he is learning we also have a name besides Mama and Dada. I like hearing him repeat my entire name. It reminds me that I am a person who just happens to be a Mom to this wonderful Little Man whom I love so much.
Today we were up visiting a church camp we serve at every year. I didn’t expect Little Man to remember much since he hadn’t been there since last summer. But as I was walking him towards the chapel he turns to me and said, “Mama, that’s where you sing!” My eyes teared up a bit as he knew his mama loves to sing. It’s a part of my own person that I am sharing with him.
What part of yourself do you want your children to know about you?