I recently ran into my friend Melissa at a store. I’m sure she felt slightly overwhelmed chasing her young twins in circles around the display shelves, but what I noticed were her grey skinny-leg jeans, spiky-heeled boots, and her fit figure which reflected the fact that she still obviously enjoyed working out. She was the same fabulous Melissa that I knew before she had kids, despite the craziness that having three active boys below the age of four must elicit.
I love women who can, against all odds, still remain rock stars of the toddler set. Anyone with kids knows that it is no easy feat, but I think it’s important that we not sacrifice our own personalities in the process of raising our children. To every extent possible, we should find a little time in each day to simply be ourselves, whether that means exercising, painting, singing out loud in the car while driving, or being a mother hipster.
Some people may fear that becoming a parent results in the loss of the primary essence of who we were before having children, and it’s true that parenthood certainly shifts our priorities. It helps us to grow in numerous ways, and brings both joys and trials beyond imagining. It has many rewards, but oftentimes, parenting is an exhausting and thankless job.
It is possible, however, to be a parent and an individual with a unique spark too. Children can sometimes be included in the process. My kids love it when I turn up the music and dance with them, or let them pick out which shoes or earrings I should wear. They love to cook, enjoy the outdoors, and use just about any medium to explore their own creativity. It’s true that it takes three times as long to accomplish anything once kids are involved, but it is usually time well spent.
I encourage each of you to celebrate and maintain that flare that makes you who you are. Allow your inner diva to come out and play. Nurture whatever quality adds that extra little bounce to your step — and strut it!
Love this post, Lisa.
In my own experience, I virtually sacrificed several years of my life to my children, not because they demanded it from me but because I lost it in the well that is depression. That’s no one person’s fault, not their’s certainly, and not mine. It’s a medical condition so above any need to blame. But it did teach me something about parenting nonetheless.
My own mothering philosophy mirrors yours. It’s my ultimate goal to show my kids I’m an individual AND their mother. Right now it’s a little tough. Grad school takes up a lot of my time, and I also have my other projects going on. I’m not around the house as much as I’d like right now, but I know that’s somewhat temporary. I’ll be home more once I don’t have to commute.
But I also want them to see me accomplishing things. I want them to know I keep the “me” part of myself alive by doing things that are important to me. My life revolves around everything I care about, them included, but they’re not always at the very center. I think that’s an important lesson. If they need me I’ll of course be there, but they need to also know what I want and need to do is important, too. I want them to know their lives won’t come to a screeching halt when they have children. If they choose to have children. I’ll never pressure them either way on that.
I have a sister in law others may see as the super mom. She’s the most organized, generally put together thing on earth. But in order to appear that way she schedules every minute of her time, checking off the things she “should” do so she makes sure no one in the family misses anything. She and her husband even have weekly *scheduled* sex, or they used to back when she shared that fact with me years ago. We’re not as close now.
I’m not sure what spontaneity her family actually has, which seems such a loss to me. Her life is full with things she must do in order to check off items on her list. She and her husband insist on an immaculate house, too. It doesn’t look like a home so much as a museum, and they’ll let you know if you get anywhere near dirtying or damaging anything. Another thing I can’t identify with. Then again, she can’t identify with me much, either, so I guess that’s all relative (pun not originally intended!).
So, I’m with you! It doesn’t do kids any service to revolve around them, and neither should we strive for perfection. Good enough is often good enough in life, another important lesson for them.
I agree. While I cannot wear skinny jeans, I can “rock” a pair of sweats! Nurturing your kids does not mean being everything for them (a big ‘parenting’ mistake these days) – It means being the best you can be to encourage the best they can be. (Not losing your kids in your self-centeredness, of course, but I know we’re not talking about that.)
Right now I don’t know what I am, though I still know who. I am often a glorified life support system for my family and that’s just the basics of keeping them clean & fed! However, I haven’t lost myself. Half of me is just ‘hibernating’ – taking care of the mundane and magical presently, but somewhere, a part of me sleeps and evolves unconsciously. Into what? I guess we’ll just have to see when the kids all go to school and I can wake her up….
It is good to hear many sides of the same tale. Being about to make the change has made me a bit trepidacious on what my life will be like a year from now but I feel confident that I will not lose myself in this process. Thank you for talking about this 🙂
I’ve been hearing a lot of the same thoughts, from a lot of different people lately. I know that we’re nervous that having a child would change the way we live and the put such a burden on our lifestyles. But you and the others that I speak of have the same comforting message; A child changes you for sure, but you don’t have to lose yourself in the process. It really helps to keep hearing this from so many parents. Maybe we’ll get the courage to take the plunge sometime…
My thoughts EXACTLY…so glad you left a comment on my blog so that I could find yours. It is so true….to get lost in motherhood and lose track of ourselves. And I love how you put it….whether it be a painting or singing out loud…meeting up with friends who knew you “before”. It’s such a meshing of different worlds…I think I am finally getting the hang of it!? Cheers to that!