Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and motherhood will be at the centre of all the celebration. I thought it was important to remember that motherhood isn’t a woman’s entire identity.
The truth is, motherhood shouldn’t eclipse the rest of your identity. All the pieces of yourself you’ve spent the last xx years building. Motherhood shouldn’t eclipse anything about you. It should become part of you as one of the multiple facets of what defines you.
The first family visits we made after having our baby was marking to me. People were all excited to see the child, they forgot to say hi or acknowledge our presence. 100% of the attention was on the child. It was if, as parents, we had stopped existing.
I went out with friends after my daughter was born. Her father stayed home that night and took care of her as fathers should do. Upon learning about this, my mother scolded me. She said that now that I was a mum, I should forget about friends and having a social life. Having a child should be enough to make me happy. Having a child did make me happy and she was my priority number one. That doesn’t mean that I can’t go out with friends from time to time. I do not stop existing as a woman because I became a mother. It shouldn’t insult anyone that women maintain their identity independent of being a good parent.
My sibling and I moved out over a decade ago and my mother is still experiencing the empty nest syndrome. Children become adults with their own lives. Having your own interests and your own life to focus on helps make that transition easier.
Fast forward many years, when said child started school and made friends of her own. Upon meeting my daughter’s best friend and her mother, I realise I needed to have a conversation with my child about parenting. This mum was sleeping on a couch in the living room because the 2 bedrooms were for her daughter. The little girl had a bedroom and a playroom, while her mum had 0 places to herself. This little girl also had every toy she ever desired, while her mum didn’t have possessions of her own. Everything in the home was to make 1 person happy.
I wanted to make sure my daughter understood that you didn’t stop existing once your child was born. I didn’t want my daughter to believe you stop mattering once you give birth.
“I want them to see a mother who loves them dearly, who invests in them, but who also invests in herself. It’s just as much about letting them know as young women that it is okay to put yourself a little higher on your priority list.” – Michelle Obama