Every once in a while, as I’m mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, I’ll see a post along the lines of “My kids are the most important thing I’ll ever do” or “Motherhood is a choice you make every day to put someone else’s happiness ahead of your own.” Every time I roll my eyes and then secretly wonder if there is something wrong with me because I don’t feel like that.
I love my kids, I really do. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. They have made me a better person and are teaching me patience and how to let go of a little control. They’ve made me the person I am today, one who is comfortable enough to share all these “wrong” thoughts and vulnerabilities with the world. But being their mom is not my only calling on this earth; it is not the only thing of worth I’ll ever do with my life. Some days there is nothing else I would rather do than snuggle those babies and be a mom, but more often than not I need more. I need more than days spent washing endless piles of laundry, kissing skinned knees, and wiping away tears. I need more than being called “Mommy” a million times a day, and I can’t believe I’m the only mom out there who feels this way.
I’m sure some people will read this and think “Maybe you should have thought about that before you had kids,” but I didn’t lose the rest of my identity the day I became a mom. My dreams, goals, passions, and interests didn’t disappear the moment I held my babies in my arms. Becoming a mom to two incredible little boys has changed my perspective on everything—the goals I set for myself and the entire trajectory of my life—and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being a mom has made me more open to facing my fears and chasing bigger dreams than I ever thought possible. Being a mom has made me take a hard look at what’s really important in my life, and I am thankful for those two messy, noisy boys every single day. But being a mom is just one of the amazing things I am going to do with my life.
I have read too many stories and Facebook posts by other moms who have been put down for pursuing their passions. Too many moms who are being called selfish or bad moms for taking time for themselves. Too many moms are being put down by other moms and women for wanting to better themselves, for wanting more for their lives, for wanting to have their own identities separate from their children. It makes my heart hurt to see other women turning on each other, judging each other’s choices for their family, and putting each other down just because their way of being a mom is different.
I truly believe I am a better mom when I am pursuing my passions and taking the time to care for myself. I can’t give my children the love and attention they need if I am in a constant state of exhausted resentment. I believe my children will be better off seeing me set and reach goals, pursue my dreams, and take care of myself than they would if I gave 100 percent of myself to them but was unhappy doing so. I believe my children deserve to see examples of hard work and dedication from both parents. I believe that the way I do motherhood doesn’t have to look the same as yours, and just because we may be different doesn’t mean either of us are wrong.
I am a mom, but I am also so much more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.