On this day, when women are being honored and celebrated for being a mom, spending time with their kids, getting woken up to be given homemade gifts from small, smiling faces, I am celebrating something else.
I am celebrating being me, and I am much more than just a mom.
I do not, at all, identify with the phrase, “My kids are my life and I would be nothing without them.” Or “I could never leave my kids for the weekend”. Or, “Being a mom defines me.”
Being a mom is part of the definition that makes up who I am and it is a role I cherish.
But I am also a friend. A sister. A daughter. A teacher. A free spirit. A reader. A beach bum. A cook (and not the short order variety that creates meals at the whim of my family). A traveler.
In order for me to be a happy mom, a caring mom, a loving mom, I need to take care of myself. And I don’t just mean making sure I am healthy and don’t get sick and need to stay in bed all day (hahahahaha!!!) so I am not there to care for and love my kids.
I mean that I need to take care of myself by doing all of the things that make me ME.
This means spending time away from my kids.
Spending time away from my kids and NOT feeling guilty about it.
Mom’s shouldn’t need a “special day” to go out and spend some time for themselves. When my husband asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I said I just wanted to go out and get my nails done. His response?
“How is that different from any other Sunday?”
And he didn’t mean that in a bad way; in a way that would suggest somehow that always going out to get my nails done is a luxury I am fortunate to “be allowed”.
He meant that I should choose something that would be special to me, something that I don’t get to do often.
But here is the thing; there isn’t anything I would do today that I wouldn’t do on any other typical Sunday. I frequently go get my nails done, go and leisurely browse the bookstore, go to lunch with friends or just by myself.
This in no way suggests that I don’t 100%, absolutely, and totally love spending time with my kids. I love watching them explore, learn, laugh, run, play, tease, hug. I love being able to give them opportunities to experience a fulfilled childhood.
But in order to give them that, I need to give to myself first.
I need to feed my reading obsession; and let’s be honest- there is not much reading to be done in a room full of attention-needy children. Going out to meet friends for book club keeps me reading books other than by Oliver Jeffers and Dr. Seuss.
I need to grow my garden and while I welcome little hands in the dirt, it’s hard to get things growing when those same little hands are pulling things out quicker than I can plant them.
I need to go out and explore- and many of my places of interest, such as art museums, don’t keep a kids level of interest for long before they’re rolling on the floor chanting “we’re bored!!!”
Skiing in Colorado with a 9 month old? Skiing in Colorado; yes. The 9 month old got a vacation week with Grammy.
My mom is the one that taught me that being yourself, taking time for yourself, spending time without your kids, is okay.
You can love your kids so much you’d give your life to keep them safe.
But you don’t need to give up the life that makes you the wonderful person you are when you have kids.
So on this Mother’s Day, remember who you are. You are a mom, but also, so much more.
Have a great crazy day!