Since 2007 when asked if I “worked” or “stayed home” I confidently replied that I was a stay-at-home-mom. I always envisioned myself as a SAHM and fortunately, I was able make that vision a reality. What I didn’t expect is that once I became a SAHM, I kept feeling as if I wanted to experience more, and often found myself thinking about ”what I want to be when I grow up.” I have come to find that while I am settled into and LOVING my role as a SAHM, I am continuously evolving and need to work hard to fulfill myself in other ways as well.
When I was expecting my daughter, I read as many expecting books as I could about parenting. I planned out EXACTLY what kind of parent I wanted to be. From the first moment I held her in my arms, I loved my new role as a mom. However, it wasn’t long after that I started to feel like I was totally consumed with my baby and had lost sight of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I got what I wanted; a beautiful, happy and healthy baby. Life had been good to me. But what was missing was that I didn’t have any new goals or ambitions for myself outside of parenthood. I seriously felt like I was “just a mom,” and I knew that if I wanted to be a great mom and a great me, I needed to change a few things and start to think of myself again too.
Meeting my friends from Mommy and Me class was a big deal for me, this is after all where I met Kimberly! Having new friends at this point in my life who I could relate to and really enjoy being around was comforting and refreshing. Though we were all from different walks of life, we hit it off with having the “mommy thing” in common and then discovered a genuine friendship based on much more than that. It made such a difference to spend that new chapter of our lives figuring out how to be mommies together while still feeling like “one of the girls.” Time passed however, some of the girls moved, and it got increasingly harder to get together with the ladies regularly. Trips to storytime, Monday Mommy Movies or walks through the Farmer’s Market didn’t always work out so smoothly. Plus, we all seemed to be starting different sleep schedules, activities and some returning to work. Things were changing and they were changing for all of us. I wasn’t spending my time in the same routine I had finally come accustomed to and loved, I needed to find something new that fit in with yet another change in my life.
Although I enjoyed being a SAHM, I refused to stay in and not have something new to see and do everyday. I remember thinking once my children started attending school, I would have so much time to do so many new things with my newfound free-time. However, I had absolutely no clue where to start! I also didn’t realize how hard it is to try to cram everything into four short hours! All I became accustomed to doing involved the kids. I quickly turned into one of those moms who rushed to run errands, clean the house and tried to make time to fit in a few things for themselves during the few short hours after dropoff. I was exhausted and I started to feel like that’s all that I had to discuss on date nights with hubs. This is when I decided it was time I start exploring my options of finding new interests and meeting new people. I started the year off with a clear set of goals and decided to challenge myself in different areas of my life.
Being a mother will always be a role I will continuously want to improve on, but what I needed was to also focus on ME. I started Pilates and stuck with it for a good year, until I again needed to change things ups in the exercise department. Then I joined Spectrum Clubs and signed up to run a half marathon as a totally new runner! I decided I didn’t want to hear myself say ”I want to learn Spanish one day” again and again, so I enrolled in the South Bay Adult Schools’s summer class and got started! I joined a book club and again met so many wonderful new people and formed new friendships. I also found a way to have some daily quiet time to myself to dive into a great book while working on the elliptical. Motherhood = multitasking. I went along with a friend when she volunteered at Good Shepard and was inspired by her willingness to give to others in need. I too wanted to be involved in community service, so I joined Sandpiper’s in 2010. Finally, last year, I decided I wanted to turn my passion for reading and being inspired by blogs into writing Pier to Peer!
As I write all of this out, I realize it may come off as selfish. Truth be told, as I am still in the thick of it all, it hasn’t been so easy and battling the demons of the mommy-guilt is no simple task. Change, especially for a mom, requires support and understanding from your spouse and family. It means you have to be okay with taking time away from your family some days to work on YOU. I used to be bothered by the perception that turning in my office job to be a SAHM for Max and Ella meant that I had it easy. I felt as if I couldn’t complain about how difficult my day was, or that I may be exhausted after loads of laundry, cooking, arranging playdates and not being able to hold a phone conversation without interruptions from the peanut gallery. While I am trying to recreate myself, I focus on trying to block out others’ perceptions from getting in the way of the life I want to create for myself. Sometimes that means blocking out perceptions from those I love as well. I manage to get by with a few simple realizations… organization is the key to happiness, excercise does the same thing for me as Xanax, girlfriends keep you grounded and sane, accept that the crock pot is a mom’s best friend, a vanilla latte in the morning and a glass of vino at night makes me happy, feeling supported and encouraged from my husband and the happiness of my children mean the world to me. My children will always come first, but I insist that I fit myself in there as well and not feel that I’m selfish for doing so. I actually hope I never settle into any one given role because I like the feeling of constantly working towards something new.
Every morning I wake up and feel excited to begin my day, striving to be the woman I want to be. I still have lots to learn, to do and to enjoy in my life and I thank my babies for helping me to want to be a better person each day.
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