Let me start out by saying I love my kids more than life itself and I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything in the world. The minute my first baby was born I was changed forever. I’m also not debating the pros and cons of being a stay-at-home mom versus a working mom. I respect each woman’s decision in that regard.
BUT, every mom needs to be more than just a mom. Once I had kids I had no choice, I needed to continue working for economic reasons. But I also wanted to continue working for my own personal fulfillment. I knew that I could support myself no matter what happened – and everything did happen. By no means am I saying that every mom should work, but there needs to be something to fulfill you spiritually, emotionally and mentally along with being a mom. As moms, we get wrapped up in our kid’s activities and social lives. Usually, their friend’s parents become our friends, but oftentimes we have very little in common except the shared friendship of our children. When we stop talking about our kids and their activities, what’s left?
Too often I hear moms saying that they’re “getting by” for now or they’ll live their lives once the kids go off to college. But, here’s the problem. None of us are promised a tomorrow, we only have today. And even if we’re not hit by that proverbial bus, once our kids are in their late teens we have so completely forgotten who we were as women before we had kids that we fall into a depression. Yes, we all have a warm glow about being a mom at Mother’s Day but it’s kind of like the day after Christmas or New Years – now what? We return to the same old/same old.
We can’t live our lives through our kids nor should we. They have their interests and activities and we need to find what makes us passionate in addition to motherhood. Is it training for a 10K marathon, taking a painting class or going on a mission trip? Or, possibly, it’s turning a hobby into a business. I know the response most of you will have – “I don’t have time with everything I need to do as a mom.”
There are so many reasons we come up with as to why we can’t find time to develop ourselves personally and/or professionally, but here’s why we should:
You’ll be a better mom – Let’s face it, when we’re stressed, overwhelmed and don’t feel appreciated we snap at everyone around us, including our kids. Discovering or rekindling a passion for something will make you happier and more energized. And, as we know, a happy mom is a happy family.
You’ll teach your kids valuable life skills – Unfortunately too many ‘tweens and teens suffer from “entitlement issues.” They think they deserve to be driven everywhere and not have responsibilities at home. People are amazed that my intellectually disabled son at 15 years of age cooks, does his own laundry, vacuums and snow shovels the driveway. My kids know that mom has to so they need to pitch in. All three of my kids, including my 8 year old, are self-sufficient and enjoy having responsibilities around the house. They understand that each family member chips in and shares responsibility equally.
You’ll be healthier – Whether it’s starting some physical activity, joining a group that shares a similar interest or taking a class, you’ll reduce your stress level tremendously because you’ll be stepping away from your regular “mom routine” as chauffeur, event coordinator, cook, housekeeper and peacekeeper. Stress reduction is critical for everyone as it can lead to high blood pressure, asthma, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and a host of other chronic issues.
Have you carved out time to develop your “other side?” I’d love to hear what you’ve done and how it’s made you feel.