I’ve been a mother for thirteen years. During that time, let’s face it, I’ve been subservient to my children. I’m not saying I’m a pushover, and they don’t know the word “No.” I’m saying that my duties are to put their needs above my own.
It comes with the territory. It doesn’t matter if tired; your kids will still need attention. They’re going to need meals, even if it’s a bowl of cereal. Someone has to pour the milk. Diapers need changing. Nights out turn into trips to the playground. As a mom, your identity doesn’t matter. We know this. It’s something that moms have been saying for years!
And yet, here I am.
I’ve morphed into this woman that thinks about her children before herself. Someone that never bathes alone anymore because her daughter is afraid to take one alone. When I plan my day, I don’t think of things that would be fun for me but the kids. What will keep them entertained the longest? What haven’t they done in a while? I don’t cook meals that I’m craving, but I know the kids will eat. I haven’t slept alone in a bed in over ten years.
There is no end of the day, clock out of my shift and refocus on myself. Parenting is all day. And it doesn’t stop when they go to sleep. The house needs to cleaning; the next day requires planning, and overthinking makes an appearance. This is my life, and it’s not okay. Why does being a mother mean that I can’t be selfish?
Yet, it’s so hard to put time aside when your children are young. Their independence intertwines with your presence. And the guilt. So much responsibility comes when you finally decide to put yourself first. That makes it not worth it and somehow shameful.
Why does becoming a mother mean stripping away your identity?
I did not want to lose myself to become a mom. And, I’m not okay with it. So, yeah, I’m going to be selfish. I’m going to feel as if I’m doing something wrong. But I’m not. It is okay to step outside of our mothering duties without guilt and shame.
I will break away and find moments that are for me.
I will lock the door to take a bath.
I will plan something special for myself.
I will cook a meal for myself.
I will wake up before my children to sit outside, drink coffee to be me: only me.