I’ve had a really hard time calling myself a mom for most of motherhood. I anticipated Stepford status, complete with minivan and recent blow-out, and pies cooling on the window sill – and I am so far from that image. I was stuck in the wrong era, often seeking proof of stereotypes – instead of looking at the world with open eyes, seeing every mom as an individual.
In the past six months, I’ve become not only comfortable with identifying myself as a mom, but proud of it. Why? Because I no longer think of it as limiting, like I once did. I’m an average mom, sure, but I’m way more than just a mom.
I fit into the ideal mom shoes because I live in a semi-affluent neighbourhood, bow to the god of Starbucks as much as anyone else who has popped out children, have a constant wardrobe of jeans and a tshirt, and am celebratory of my daughter’s accomplishments.
I differ because I have visible piercings and tattoos, listen to heavy metal and grunge music, dye my hair an inky brown, avoid makeup, don’t really care if my daughter goes to college, stay up some nights until some of you are waking up again, and I freelance for a living.
But some of us do get a little caught up in the day-to-day details and maintenance of appearances to really delve into what’s different about us. I know I did; it took me nearly three years to get my sense of self back after having my daughter. If you’re facing the same kind of internal debate about being just a mom, I have some suggestions!
Change the way you move
So, what’s in? Jillian Michael’s 30-Days Shred, right? And I’ll bet you’ve (at least considered) shredding your butt away because the reports you’ve heard from peers was astounding. Guess what? So’s water aerobics. So is that now-passé spinning class. Have you considered Rumba? How about gymnastics?
I’m not talking about granola, tie-die or veganism. I’m talking about changing the products you surround yourself with. Consider this: that $40 lotion, $25 cleanser, $15 toner and pricy eye cream you use could probably be replaced with a wash cloth, bar of nourishing soap and witch hazel. Question who gains from advising you buy the things you do, and why you eat the food you eat. Where else can you save time, money and waste?
This can mean a class, trial-and-error, or reading volumes of materials on a specific subject. Use whatever tools and methods work for you to learn about something that interests you, that doesn’t have to be anything that will further your career or family life. Seek out Russian or basket weaving, cake decorating or art appreciation!
Write yourself love notes
No, really. Write yourself a note every day that tells you something special about you. Put it in flashy red lipstick on your bathroom mirror, in your wallet, on your forearm – somewhere you’ll see it and be reminded, often. (Reread it on purpose, too!)