April 30, 2012 in Adventures in Re-Discovering Myself
Before I had kids, I used to do things. I’d see a movie in the afternoon, hang out with girlfriends, and sneak off for weekend getaways. On Friday and Saturday nights, I would dress up in flirty skirts and jewelry, taking time to apply makeup and style my hair. I’d stay out late and sleep in late. On a rainy Sunday, I could lie on the couch all day long just because I felt like it.
I guess you could say that before I had kids, I was pretty self-centered…in a good way!
Then I became a mother and life as I knew it ceased to exist.
First went the clothes. Infants spit up, and they didn’t care if I was wearing an expensive cashmere sweater at the time. They had blow-out liquid poops that oozed through their cute little onesies and seeped onto my Dry Clean Only silk blouse. So why bother? My nice clothes gradually got relegated to the back of my closet in favor of old, ratty T-shirts and sweatpants.
Next went the hair. By the time I finished nursing, burping, changing his outfit and mine from a blow-out poop, and throwing everything into the wash, I had approximately two minutes to shovel a couple of handfuls of dry cereal into my mouth and call it breakfast before he needed to eat again. Goodbye hair dryer…hello, ponytail holders and baseball caps.
Jewelry? No way! Not after experiencing the pain of a tiny hand yanking out my earring or pulling my necklace so hard it nearly strangled me in the process.
Going out on a Friday or Saturday night was replaced by falling asleep on the couch at 7:00pm because I hadn’t slept through the night in days, weeks, months, or years. Whiling away the day on the couch became a distant memory. No infant, toddler, or highly energetic small child with siblings to annoy will ever let you sit down for longer than five consecutive minutes.
But I didn’t care! In fact, I loved it! There is nothing more magical than seeing my sons burst into a smile or a giggle or a full-bellied laugh. Or when they would reach up their little arms to be picked up simply because I was their favorite person in the world. What movie, what night out, what weekend getaway could possibly rival that?
The years went by and without realizing how or when, it occurred to me that I was no longer needed every second of the day. My kids were growing up. Everyone knew how to use the potty—although their aim could certainly use some improvement.
They could entertain themselves. I no longer had to be on guard in case someone got the urge to chuck a Hot Wheels car at someone else’s head for no apparent reason. I didn’t have to watch my kids every second in case someone decided to eat a Lego piece or two for dinner. Sure, they still need me for homework help and my driver’s license, but other than that…I have time. Freedom, even, to do what I want.
The question is, what do I want? Yes, I am a Mom with a capital M, and my kids will always be my first priority. But I’m also a person with hopes and dreams and stretch marks of my own.
Now if only I could remember what those hopes and dreams were…
As with any overwhelming task, I began with the simple things. I started styling my hair again. I fished behind old bottles of baby lotion to find my jewelry box. With a flashlight, I ventured into the dark recesses of my closet to reclaim my nice clothes.
My kids thought I looked weird. “Why are you wearing that?”
My fellow Mom friends wondered what I was doing. “How come you’re not in sweats? You’re always in sweats!”
I felt weird: Is this me? Is this really how I’m dressing to go to the grocery store and to drive the soccer carpool?
But you know what? I got used to it. I started feeling more confident. Wearing “real” clothes gave me a sense of purpose in life, like I was getting dressed for something important: me.
There is still a long way to go, namely the age-old question of what do I want to do with my life? But I am content to have that on the back burner while I strive for the balance of having the Mom side of me and the Me side of me co-exist. I have no idea where this will lead, but I’m going to try my darnedest to meet it wearing something other than a baseball cap and sweats!
Welcome to the first post on the first day of Muddying the Waters!