I just joined a new writing group. As an introductory exercise we had to share our bios and a little about ourselves. When everyone was acquainted, I realized (with horror) that I totally forgot to mention my child, or even refer to his existence at all. Of course, that instance wasn't the first time this has happened. It's not that I'm forgetful, really, it's just that there are certain times you'll completely forget you're a mom. Like, at all.
Sometimes it's because you're still getting used to the title, trying it on like a new dress and not quite feeling comfortable. Other times it's when you're having a lot of fun and feeling too young and care-free to be someone's mother. Then again, sometimes you're just too preoccupied with something else because, of course, mothers are not completely defined by their choice to enter motherhood.
As a result of these totally normal moments in which parenthood slips your mind, modern parents are redefining the terms "mom" and "dad." Parents can be what they want to be. There is no rule book and you don't have to repeat the same patterns your parents set in place (if you don't want to, of course). You can choose to live the way that best suits your family's needs. Gender rules and expectations are changing all the time and family units will always need to balance work and home expectations. So, if you are ever feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities, try a few of these exercises that may just make you completely forget you're someone's mom:
When You Introduce Yourself To Someone New
It can take a while to change your internal script to immediately identify yourself as a mom. And why should you? After all, being a mom is only part of you, not your entire identity.
When You Get Ready For A Night Out
I love cranking up the music as I get ready to go out. It reminds me of my college days, when all my girlfriends would cram into one room to get ready together and end up in fits of giggles.
It's easy to forget about my parental responsibilities as I sing along to 'Single Ladies' and stick on false eyelashes.
When You Go To A Boy Band Concert
A night spent screaming your old pop crush's name out loud and singing along to all your favorite teenage tunes will completely erase dirty diaper duty from your brain.
I saw New Kids on The Block a few years ago and I was instantly 13 again!
When You Get Your Sexy On
Before you light the candles, do a sweep of your bedroom (or whatever room sexy time is going down in) for child related items. There is nothing that'll guaranteed to ruin the mood more than rolling onto some loud toy or getting a pacifier stuck somewhere no pacifier should ever be stuck.
However, once the scene is set, sex can be the perfect way to concentrate on yourself.
When You Go To A Theme Park
If you take your kids with you, a visit to a theme park can be hell. Dealing with extremely excited children, puking courtesy of some extreme ride, and waiting in long lines with impatient kids is, well, no fun at all.
But if you make the trip sans kids, the day may very well remind you of your former fun-loving self. (Not that you can't be fun-loving as a parent, because you totally can.)
When You Have A Good Babysitter
It's normal to miss your children when you're not with them. But if you choose a caregiver that you trust and that you know is providing the highest quality childcare possible, rest easy.
Once you know your children are safe and happy you can concentrate on whatever you needed a babysitter for in the first place, completely forgetting about the responsibilities that await you at home.
When You're At The Spa
I went to a spa with a friend of mine, when my baby was about 1 year old. Having the chance to get some physical and mental space from my little one was amazing. I promptly fell asleep in a relaxation room, but it was just what I needed.
When You Are With Your Child-Free Friends
Mom friends are awesome. You can share sleep deprivation horror stories, swap parenting tips, and generally commiserate with one another. However, sometimes what you really crave is time spent with gal pals that doesn't involve any kid talk. Hanging out with your friends who are not mothers can remind you of your other interests and help you see life from a different perspective.
Our children enrich our lives in so many ways, but sometimes it's refreshing to forget that you're a mom. Even if it's just for a moment.