Do you ever feel like your pre-motherhood persona has been completely obliterated, and the remaining shell is now occupied by this new mom character? Yeah, me too. Not that it's a bad thing, of course, because being a parent is awesome (most of the time, or at least half the time). Still, sometimes I am so "mom-like" I forget I used to be this super cool, laid-back, carefree flower-child (at least that is the image I have of myself). But then I find these mom moments that remind me that I'm still me.
By today standards, I'm probably considered a young mom. I had my daughter at 26. At 26, most people are still partying, dating, falling in love for the first time, and definitely not changing diapers or sticking leak-proof pads in their bras. So, it's no wonder I sometimes lose myself to being a 100 percent mom. While it's totally fine, sometimes I miss the girl I used to be and, well, sometimes I want her back. I want to stay up all night again with her and not hate my life the next morning when my son wakes me up at 6 a.m. for who the hell knows why. I want to take a road trip with her without the kids screaming "are we there yet?" I want to do a spa day with her without feeling guilty about spending the money on something other than diapers.
While I said goodbye to that girl eight years ago, essentially forever leaving her in the past, I still embrace and celebrate her any time she randomly resurfaces and comes out to play.
All Those Times I've Dropped The F-Bomb
Although I don't believe in censoring myself in front of my children, I do believe in respecting the way other parents raise theirs. So when my kids have playdates, I have to constantly remind myself to not curse. After all, I don't want my kids to not have friends because their parents curse, like, all the time. So, I am respectful around other peoples kids.
To be fair, I do save some of my favorite curse words for when in company of adults. But sometimes one slips out and I remember that I am who I am and I am who I always was. So I'll drop the occasional f-bomb and in the same breath remind my kids that curse words are earned by adults. Parenting.
When I Sing
This one happens all the time. When my favorite song comes on the radio I start singing and dancing with my kids, and I am suddenly transformed into my teenage bedroom where I did the stereotypical singing into the hairbrush that I'm pretty sure most teenage girls do. Then my daughter usually tells me to stop singing because I'm so obnoxious, but I continue because in that moment I am 18 and I don't care what she says. So there.
When I Take My Daughter To Dance Class
Every Saturday my daughter has dance and every Saturday I drink coffee with my girlfriend. My girlfriend and I have signed up our daughters to this one dance class for the past three years. We drop the girls off and go have coffee every single Saturday during dance season. So while the mom part of me is exposing her daughter to the art of dance, the me part of me is having a coffee date with one of my favorite people.
When I Cry
Motherhood makes you cry. Like, a lot.
Last week, my daughter said something upsetting to me. I waited until I was on my own to cry. For better or worse, I did not want her to see me cry (although in hindsight I probably should have let her, so she knew how hurtful words can be). As I cried I remembered all of the times I was hurt but kept a straight face. I remembered that although I try to present a hard exterior, inside I am as sensitive as I was when I was 15. The only difference is I've fine-tuned my facade.
When I Gave My Daughter A Diary
I've been writing for as long as I can remember, and think I started writing little poems in elementary school. After that, I graduated to personal essays. Writing was always therapeutic and cathartic, writing about everything from heartbreaks and injustices to friendship and uncertainties.
When my daughter started having trouble constructively expressing her frustrations, I gifted her a journal. Giving her the power of the written word reminded me that I'm me.
When I Talk To My Kids About Friendships
Recently my daughter told me about how one of her friends in school said something mean to her. It was heartbreaking for me. However, I can't control how people treat her, really. All I can do is help her control how she responds to that treatment.
So as I told her real friends don't say mean things to each other and that she shouldn't let anyone treat her poorly, I reminded myself of how I am with my friends and how I don't take crap from anyone.
When I Let My Kids Eat Junk
I know our world is now on the quest for "healthy" and some moms give you the side-eye for feeding your kids chicken nuggets and mac and cheese for dinner. However, some days I just really want junk food. However, I can't just eat a cookie without sharing it with my kids, so while we all shove cookies in our faces I use that instance as a teaching moment about how everything should be in moderation. It helps me deal with the true me who likes junk food.
That Time My Daughter Said She Looks Fat
Oh yeah, that happened. It happened out of nowhere and it hit me hard. It was Halloween and she was putting on her costume. As I was adjusting her collared shirt under her sweater she looked in the mirror and said, "I look fat in this sweater." That phrase knocked the wind out of me. I spent most of my adulthood silently (and sometimes not so silently) hating my body. However, I always made sure not to voice my dissatisfaction in front of her. Still, here we were. I did my best to rectify that situation and teach her about self-kindness, but I did it all with this terrible panic and anxiety in my heart. Ugh, parenting is hard.
That Time I Took My Daughter To Vote
I first started caring about politics in college and, since then, I became somewhat of an addict. Like, I'm annoyingly obsessed with what is happening in our world. This past November, I took my daughter to vote and her excitement on that day filled me with such pride. We often discuss activism and what is and isn't fair. Teaching her to care about her surroundings is a mom moment that is also clearly a "me" moment.
I know I've changed since becoming a parent, but I wonder how much of myself was really lost. I mean, obviously being a mom means sacrificing some of who you once were, but I think allowing your kids to see your true you is valuable and important. I can't always be this proper mom-persona I feel like people expect me to be, because there's only so much of myself I'm willing to give up.