The OM Bottom Line: Whether being a mom is enough for you or not, I encourage you to ask yourself “Can I be more?”. Because the answer is yes. If that idea makes you feel the least bit excited and a little warm and fuzzy, you should pat yourself on the back, because for just one second you put yourself first. Now stop giving yourself a guilt trip about it and take the next step….
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Whoever you are, no matter where you come from, nothing prepares you for motherhood. We have all heard it before: the diapers, the late night feedings, the tantrums, lack of sleep and emptiness of our pockets. And we hear the other side too, we have the wonderful days, when they cuddle up in our laps, smile and coo, tell us “IYUVOO”, they get dressed by themselves for the first time or bring us a handful of poop they have scooped out of the potty, so proud they want to make sure we don’t miss out. It’s the normal ups and downs of motherhood.
But if you are like me, being a SAHM wasn’t always your dream. You had personal goals, opportunities, maybe even a job. If you aren’t like me, don’t check out on me yet. Because what I am getting at is that for a lot of us, even though we chose to be mothers, either working or staying at home, sometimes motherhood isn’t enough. Despite the exhaustion, the messy house and even with the joys our children bring, we crave more. It is not that we are any less than we were before children, but many of us have held positions or engaged in activities that were fast-paced and high-stress. These were jobs or roles (even relationships) that engaged both sides of our brain equally and challenged us in different ways. And there is no denying that raising a child does the same thing. But whether we choose to stay home or continue to work, we have to admit that being a mother (despite truly being a full-time job) doesn’t always give us the same fulfillment, just as our job or occupation can’t be the only thing that gives us purpose. It is okay to want more, something else to find balance. We sacrifice a lot when we become mothers, there should be no reason for us to give up more than we have to.
Now I know I am not going to connect with everyone out there. Especially using the word “sacrifice” with respect to motherhood. At the end of the day though, we all want to be great mothers. When we gave up our jobs or our passions and maybe some of our childless friends, it didn’t mean we wanted to sacrifice our individuality; that something we could cling to in order to set ourselves apart from the other moms at the playground. Not to make us better than them but different. We know we can’t have it all, but why can’t we have what we want? Sure money is an issue and so is time. I’m not here to suggest everyone go hire a nanny and get a personal Pilates instructor (although if you can go for it and invite me once in a while). But I am suggesting that we find something that makes us happy outside of motherhood and do it. Here is the kicker though; DO NOT feel guilty about it!
If you google “is being a mom enough” there are plenty of people out there with their own opinions. I encourage you to read them. I will even include links to some of my favorites (on both sides of the argument) at the end. Whether the answer is yes or no, the fact that this question is being asked means we all still struggle with finding a balance. The answer is going to be different for everyone depending on the situation. If the answer is yes; for you being a mom is enough, that is the right answer for you. If it is no, I think the next question should be: Can I be more? And the answer is a universal: YES!
So what does “more” mean to you? Is it a job, more meaningful responsibility, a new or old hobby you wish you had more time for? It is just more “me time”? All of these are fair and reasonable answers. As mothers, we are expected (culturally and socially) to put our children first. But if we are not complete, both mentally and physically, we can not give 100% to our children. Whatever your “more” is, give yourself that time to be in the moment, and know that this time, although it may be away from you children, is only making you stronger, in mind and body, so that when you are with your kids, you are that much more capable of being engaged and active. As your children grow, they are going to see you flustered, tired and at the end of your rope, that is guaranteed. But they will also see your efforts outside of being a mother. They will notice when you are stronger, happier, more engaged and energetic. They will grow up knowing that they too can fight for what they want and be more. So go find your “more” and you may find your strength and balance which can only make you a better you.
What does “MORE” mean to The Overeducated Mother?
I call myself The Overeducated Mother. I spent 10 years as an Officer in the US Navy, graduated from the Naval Academy, and got a Master’s degree while I was still active duty. When I got out I had no clue what I wanted to do. I didn’t have children at the time and decided I would use my GI Bill to get my MBA. Halfway through my program, I got pregnant. So now I am a Stay at Home mom, with two Master’s Degrees. (Sidenote: this is the first and last time I will discuss my education, unless relevant to the conversation. Because we all know that when it comes to being Mom, degrees don’t mean shit.) But when I think of myself as “a mom” not just “Mooooooooooom!”, I think of my education and past career and I know I am capable of more. And just because I now have a child, that doesn’t mean I can’t want something different, something else. My purpose, my reason behind even starting a blog, is to say that this is okay (and not just for my edification). Escaping is not running away. For me, fitness is my escape, my balance: I run, I do Crossfit, and I do yoga. I know at the end of my workout, I’m back to being Mom again. But that is okay. In fact it is awesome, because my daughter knows and notices that when I come home all sweaty or when she watches me workout, that I come home stronger, and for an hour or so I was “me” again. Not the Twenty-something “me”, who had no cares in the world, but the “me” that was always inside, that wanted to be better today than I was yesterday. The “me” that knows in order to take care of her family, she must take care of herself first. That is not selfish, that is healthy, that is sanity.
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