Sounds quite idealistic... doesn't it.
Mommy or Me - Selflessness or Selfishness?
When I became a new mom and the ripe old age of 20, again at 24, and again at 27, each one of my children became the beacon of my life. My world revolved around providing a home, a life, and an existence for them. I was (and still am) passionate about them, dedicated to helping them grow, responsible for providing them stability, and accountable for giving them the tools that they would need to be productive and contributing members of society. I gave my all to them, for many, many years. I was able to stay at home- we had reasonable financial stability, and my husband fully supported my desire to be an at home mom. My life, my existence, my passion, my interest, my career, my vocabulary, my interaction, my effort, my energy, my everything all flowed to one glowing ball of light.... my children. It was the natural state of "motherhood". The job of motherhood.
I must confess - it was not the natural state of my humanness.
Don't get me wrong - I loved that I was able to be in that place. I would not trade a single second of any of it. I am honored to be able to call myself Mom to three amazing women. In the ideal days of mommyhood, I played the role well. I played it with heart. I played and lived it with every fiber of my being. I was happy in that. I had focus, I had purpose, and I had an audience - three little children who needed me every second of every day. If moms could get Oscars - I think I would have been at least in the running for it. I was in the role, but I WAS the role.
But I am not going to lie. As the kids started to grow a bit, I tried to keep the script and the ideal the same. But there came a point that I just wasn't driven or fed. Instead of joy with moments of work, it became work with moments of joy. My energy began to run low. My tank was empty. My kids were still the center of my universe, but my revolution around them began to grow weary. I became unhappy, lonely and empty.
I lost myself. I questioned myself. I made these realizations about myself.
- I knew that how I felt had nothing to do with them or my relationship with them. It had everything to do with my relationship with me!
- I knew I had, did, and always would love them more than life itself. I would forever move heaven and earth if I could for their good. They were by far the most important human beings in my world, and as long as I was on this earth they would always be that.
- I came to terms that there really were times in "mommyhood" that I wanted to just shut myself in my room and not be responsible. I called it needing a breather, needing a break or taking a time-out. The reality was I CRAVED time for ME - time that I neglected.
- The idea of motherhood being hearts and flowers and puppy dogs and cute kids - it was a crock. Trying to make it look that way only led to failure and exhaustion. There were days when I really didn't care if someone judged me because my daughter wore a plaid flannel shirt, a floral skirt, and pink cowboy boots on the wrong feet to the store. She was covered and dressed. MORE IMPORTANTLY was that the battle of getting her that way was over.
- I realized that I was jealous of all of the time and attention that I and their daddy could give to them, but I failed to give to me or us. It wasn't the green face of envy, but it was certainly a gnawing very quiet message of I wish I had someone paying this attention to me.
- What in some moments was my giving and existing in selflessness, felt like sacrifice in many others. (The difference in meaning and attitude surrounding those is huge.)
- I questioned my own heart as to why I was not fulfilled in the way I thought I should be.
- I faced that as much as I loved being Mom, there were moments that I just didn't like motherhood.
- I realized that I needed to do the things that refreshed me and filled my pitcher. That way I could fill the cups of my children.
- I realized that what I was experiencing was the natural state of HUMANNESS!
I like to and I need to feed my OWN spirit, my OWN goals, and my OWN self. There are times when I want to be the center of the universe. Sounds pretty selfish, I know. But it's true. It doesn't make me a bad mother - it makes me an honest and healthy one.
I am a human Mom - not a saint.
Do you struggle with feeling selfish for needing some time for yourself?