It is so important that moms have all the opportunities in the world to create the lives they truly desire, the lives they have dreamed of…or never dared dream of. We all deserve the best life we can make for ourselves, lives filled to the brim with our experiences as a mother, wife, partner, friend, sister, daughter, boss, coworker, neighbour. We should have it all. Right? But does anyone else sometimes feel a little bit pressured by this?
As moms, we are often given mixed messages by society. We are encouraged to have more, do more, be more. We are told to have it all, find balance, to add to our plates until they are overflowing. How else could we possibly feel fulfilled?
Especially confusing can be the message that we need to be more than moms, that we can’t possibly be happy unless we also have sparkling social lives, rewarding careers and committed workout schedules. In some ways it seems as though we are encouraged to add more and more childfree time to our lives, in order to feel as though we are truly living. We are told, either directly or subliminally, that fulfillment lies in having all of these areas full to the brim. The implication is that we do a better job at being a perfect mom if we spend more time away from our kids.
But what if you are a mom who finds much of your fulfillment in the time spent with your children? Working or not, what if to you the whole point of having children was to create a life where you feel inspired, rewarded and yes…fulfilled through the role you play as Mom? What if you have already had a life that allowed you to let your career take top priority? What if you spent many years enjoying a busy social calendar with barely a break between commitments? What if you would really rather chase kids around, hoist strollers and push swings than sweat in the gym three times a week? Does that mean the life you are creating now is somehow “less than”? Is being a Mom something you always need to escape?
I think all parents need to make that decision for themselves. And they need to do it listening to their own hearts and minds, not to the latest media chatter. We need to realize that while we need a balance and need our moments of escape and indulgence that it is also okay to fit these things in around the needs of our kids, instead of the other way around. It’s okay to be that mom that sneaks out for a pedicure during the baby’s nap. Or that heads out for drinks or a late show after the kiddies are safely tucked in for the night. The mom who rises before her kids to work out or who hops on her treadmill late at night. Or the family that plans its social activities around play dates, park visits and family fun.
I know I want a healthy, balanced life. And I want to make time for rewarding work and time to refresh myself away from the kids. I know sometimes that means being away from them, absolutely. Yes, sometimes I joke I’d sell them to the gypsies for a shiny penny. And I’m the first one to jump for joy when a perfect free hour or afternoon presents itself. I’m no Pollyanna. But in my world having those other things means clever scheduling, a careful juggling act and yes, some sacrifices because our children are small and their needs greater. As they become more independent, our freedom as parents will broaden. Occasional sacrifices are part of a parent’s job description, but I will not ask my kids to sacrifice anything for me.
In the end, while I strive to be more than a mom, deep down I know that being a mom means more to me than anything else.