Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Just Don't Call Me late for Dinner

How many women feel they have lost their identity since having children? How many women feel the relationship with their spouse has changed since having children? How many women feel they are neglecting their marriage since having children? How many women feel guilty because they want to refuse to become consumed and lost in their children? I believe all women struggle with these feelings at some point throughout motherhood. I read many blogs a day about motherhood, some from SAHM and others from working moms such as myself that struggle with the same issues. So let's get personal, but I do not want this post to become a debate about SAHM vs. Working moms. So with that aside, I am going to TRY to articulate my feelings on these subjects and I encourage you to address these questions too, whether by commenting here, posting your own blog about this or just having a conversation with your spouse or friends.

Identity crisis. Have you become so engulfed in your children that you forgot what your own hobbies and interests are? Playing chauffeur and shuttling your child(ren) from school to soccer to play dates, did you forget you love to play tennis or sew? As a mother or father you have to understand that at some point and time, your child(ren) will eventually go on their own and no longer will need you every second. What are you going to do then? Besides go bat-shit crazy from the silence? Have that mid-life crisis? Or are you going to embrace it? If you have maintained your interests and hobbies throughout raising your children, this should be a fairly easy transition. Besides 20 years down the road, lets talk about now. The present. As a mother or father, as a SAHM or a working parent, you need to keep in touch with your own interests, cultivate them, make them a priority. Make you a priority.

Marriage changes. Let's say you are a SAHM or dad and there you are, all day long doing the parent thing while the other spouse or SO is working outside the home. They come home and you have been baby talking all day to your child(ren). Now really think about this next question. Are you carrying over that baby talk to your spouse? Or have you been yearning all day for some adult conversation that you bombard them as soon as they walk in the door? Have you gotten so wrapped up in being a parent that you forget about making sure your SO has their needs taken care of? Make a regular date night for just your SO and you. You don't have to go out, there are things you can do at home to enjoy one another ALONE. Talk, Talk, Talk. Talk about everything from the news, family matters or whatever is holding your interest at that time. One more thing. I know your child(ren) touch you all day, hang on you, require you to hold them, but do not push your SO away at the end of the day. They need you to be available and open to receiving their attention. Have set bedtimes for the child(ren) so there is some down time for your SO and yourself before calling it a night. Remember when your child(ren) are grown and gone, it's just the two of you and that is NOT the time to discover and learn who each of you are, you should already know.

Guilt. As the title of this post says Mom, Mommy, Mama, Just don't call me late for dinner, how about your name? YOU have a name. YOU have an identity other than Mom, Mommy or Mama.
Back to the "empty-nester syndrome". Re-read Identity Crisis. Also, your child(ren) need to see you in another role other than Mom, Mommy or Mama. it helps them understand that you are a person also with interests, feelings, friends and your own sense of self (and those of you with daughters need to really drink this in). Do not feel guilty for taking some time to yourself and that time by yourself could be as simple as going grocery shopping alone, going to your BFF's house for some coffee or just pawning the kids off for a night so you can get some uninterrupted sleep. No one else is looking out for your own well being so you have to. Besides, if you are not 100% or running on empty, how can you give 100% to your child(ren) or SO?

Thank you for your time. I hope you take something away from this post. I also hope I was able to articulate this well enough for it to make some sense.


Candice said...

Great post. I think many men and women get lost after having kids and sort of forget who they are. Many important things are tossed to the side and before you know it you are a shell of your former self. The problem is that many people won't admit to that because they feel guilty about it and what they feel that implies.

Anyway, kudos to you for a great post.

Mrs4444 said...

I never feel overshadowed by the kids' stuff now that they are old enough to mostly take care of themselves. And now that Kyle drives, that makes me very happy. We are now at the stage, though, when I worry some about what we're going to do to fill the void when our kids are out of the next (potentially 4 years from now.) Hubs and I took our first vacation (just us) in 15 years last summer, and it was really nice. I look forward to nurturing us more. Great post.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I think your kids are way too young for you to have as much wisdom on these subjects as you think.

As your children grow, so will you.

I've been a working mom, I've been a SAHM.

My kids have now either left the nest, or are pretty darn close to it.

This is a *wonderful* chapter in my life, and I'm enjoying every minute.

While many of your points are valid, you need to live in the moment and appreciate those little ones - time flies much more quickly than you realize.

Average Girl In Average World said...

@Candice - great points in your comment and thanks for stopping by!

@Mrs4444 - WELCOME! It is nice to hear you took a vacation as Husband and Wife only. But I want to ask you, did it feel weird at first? Just the 2 of you? 2 bags to pack, 2 people to worry about? Thanks for stopping by!

@Anon - Thanks for visiting. I do not claim to have all the answers on this subject, and by reading the first paragraph it states that a lot of the issues I am addressing, I am struggling with too. The points are there and they are valid, whether for a young mother or a "seasoned" one. Just some conversation pieces to get parents thinking. That is all I was trying to do here.

The Mom said...

Fantastic post! My hubby works hard but sees that although i'm not paid, I work just as hard taking care of the household. It's so important to get out with friends and dates with your spouse. I dread hearing the kids cry when we leave but it's important to keeping yourself sane, and remembering that you matter!!

M said...

Good things to mull over.

I still have the same interests, I might not get as much time to enjoy them as I would like, but my husband is good about making time for me to be "me", whether I am reading a book, out snapping some photos, or hunched over the sewing machine. Just writing this reminds me that I need to thank him more often.

I do need to make more time for the two of us though. I tend to focus on family time, since being in the military you never know when "daddy" could be snatched away.

All good things to think about.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up! It is normal to feel so conflicted, it's hormones..trying to balance the work/mom/wife's also normal to go thru stages when you are married, if it was easy we would not have such a high divorce rate. Being married is hard work. you are going to have many days when you look at your husband and wonder what you ever saw in him in the first place and days when you feel like the luckiest gal in the world for having the good judgment to pick such a wonderful man!

As for your kids, enjoy every day. They will be grown up and out of the house before you know it. There will always be work. There wil be plenty of time for hobbies and sewing. Too much time.

I don't mean to sound preachy. I wish I had what you have right now. I had it and threw it away. So sad.

Haasiegirl said...

I think anyone can get lost in ANYTHING. I know i spend too much time working (at home) too much time on the computer, maybe too much alone time. But what is too much on any of those things? Maybe i lost myself, went back and found it, and am now having a hard time becoming a mom/wife full time.
I think its a struggle in everyday life.