I find I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of selfAudre Lorde
A year ago one of my oldest friends moved to town. We met thirteen years ago on a trip to Africa when we were in our awkward teen years, well, I was, she was (is) older and more mature than I was (am) but still, we thought we knew all. She lived in a different state and life took us down different paths but we still managed to do a small life update every now and then. And then came the day when she told me she was moving to town! I honestly couldn’t believe that after all these years we would be within minutes of each other. Well, sadly, life took another turn and just months after moving here, she moved away. In the short amount of time we were together, we clicked once again. We’ve managed to keep in touch since she moved (thanks to Marco Polo which honestly, I love despite my totally awkward self in recordings). Our conversations are not your typical “how’s it going?” kind but we have legit conversations. We encourage each other, ask thought-provoking questions, and bond over the daily learning and testing of patience that parenting brings.
What’s my point in all of this? Well, I confided in her that being a mom is hard for me sometimes. Am I just not fully embracing being a mom? Am I fighting it? Am I unwilling to sacrifice to be fully mom? She told me that she loves being a mom but it’s not the only definition of who she is as a person. She enjoys the break, she enjoys going to work and teaching and it’s not a bad thing. Breaks give her the rest she needs to be the wife and mom she needs to be and teaching utilizes the gifts and talents she has and allows her to do something she enjoys. Those are all parts of the whole person. And I really needed to hear that.
I feel like we live in this weird in-between where our parents’ generation is mainly those that were stay-at-home moms and then came my generation-ish that had the working moms. People had this attitude towards them (unless they were single parents) where working was such a negative thing because it meant putting their kids in daycare rather than being with them and growing with their kids. It meant they were caring more about themselves than their kids. Sacrificing self or sacrificing kids. And yes, I realize that’s really cutting it down to something that’s not as simple as that but humor me.
So I feel like I’ve been going back and forth between wanting and enjoying doing certain things and doing them on my own and feeling like I should be fully embracing being a mom and letting go of any desires I might have. When really, as long as it’s not taking away from being a mom or creating any bitterness towards it, those other areas of my life are just other parts of me. And all those parts come together to create a whole.
A whole me.
So, I’m learning that it all has its place. And in learning that, my whole self is healthier allowing me to be able to be better in all my roles. Allowing me to be wholly there. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.