I'm going to admit it, become a mom is all consuming in the beginning. I love being a mom... especially to Logan! He is the perfect son for Geoff and myself and we feel so lucky he is now a part of our lives and hearts. It's so easy to put his needs in front of mine. To think of it simply, he can not take care of himself right now. On a deeper level, when I hear his little cries something in side of me doesn't feel right until they stop. I can see how people loose themselves to the title of "mother". Well, that and the fact that your life now exsists in 2-3 hour incriments of sleep, eat and play time 24 hours a day. :)
It's gratifying work, it really is! To see your baby thriving, growing and learning about the world around him is so rewarding. To think that I grew this baby in my belly and now the only food source he has is coming from me is amazing. I hear people all the time asking how I feel to be a mother- I love it. However, I don't want to be defined by simple words. Words I have used to describe myself like mother, runner, world traveler. They are innocent descriptions of my stages in life but all too often people hold you to those standards and they start to define you. I know to put yourself out there you have to talk about things that excite you and awaken your deepest passions but when these words become who you are is when it becomes a problem. It's easy to tell yourself during a sleep deprived 3am feeding that "you are a mother, this is now your life" to struggle through another long night but it's a different thing all together to fully believe that it has become your whole existence.
On blogs and facebook, you can share bits and pieces of your life with family, friends and/or total strangers. But it is just that, bits and pieces. It is never the whole picture. So what you decide to share can shape an image of who you are. One that then you can be compelled to live up to. Now you are pushed into a niche with limited space to grow. Or you can notice someone else whose pieces of life look flawless and want to make your life like theirs, even when you know they are just showing you the good and not the bad bits of their life. What happens then in the transition periods of life? When big changes happen and who you were isn't always who you are now? Growth is a part of life, if being a mother defines you then what happens when your kids grow up and leave the home? If traveling the world defines you, what happens if you can't travel for a while?
A defining moment in my life was going away to college. The freedom of meeting new friends and exploring who I wanted to be was amazing for me. I was free to grow and change with no one telling me that I wasn't myself anymore. I became happier with who I was when words didn't define me.
When you become a parent, a lot of people want to now define you, tell you what to do or what not to do. It sometimes feels like they are trying to fit you nicely into a box labeled words that make them comfortable. I've had plenty of people tell me that my traveling days are over but don't worry... I wont miss it. To me, this is another turn in the road where I get to see what makes me happy now. I feel like to be the best mom I can be, I have to stay true to me. I can not let being a mother consume and define me. I still want to travel... but now I can day dream of showing my kid the world around us. I still want to be a good wife and carve out time for my husband and I. I feel like a family can not build a strong home with out a solid foundation. I still want to be active whether it is running, yoga, dance or something new I try.
What sparked all this thinking is 3 weeks after I gave birth, I went back to the dermatologist to have my moles checked. I walked away with 2 more being biopsied. When the tests came back, one was severely irregular and we had it removed. I'll know the results of that test soon.
It's been hard the past 2 days. I've alternated between trying to be the best mommy I can be and knowing I have to take a break and take care of myself (which was icing my throbbing back 15 minutes each hour). I started to feel like a failure of a mom and had to ask my poor husband who was already cooking, cleaning and doing laundry to take Logan for a few minutes while I had a mini break down. In those few minutes I realized what I had done. I had let being a mother every second of the day define my life for the time being. I guess I felt like if I was the one staying home for now (I still have a job but I'm on leave for a year) then I needed to take care of everything in the home, including Logan. That left no time for me. I am a mom but I am so much more than that and I'm working to find a balance that lets me be a wonderful mom to Logan and also time to be me, whatever that means!
Balance is a hard thing to perfect but I am working towards it each day!
Oh, and please remember to be kind to your skin! Get it checked and wear that sunscreen!!!
(Because I can't help myself and if you are still reading, you made it through my rambling thoughts... here's another baby pic)