Letting go of 'me'

I hear 'Mama!' for yet another time during the day, and my mind instantly becomes active in anticipating my older son's need, gauging the tone of his voice, and wondering whether I should stop stirring the pasta sauce and get there already. I choose to respond verbally, shouting instructions to help the kid out. I respond to calls for 'Mama' about twenty times a day.

Who am I?

My identity, my foremost identity, has become Mama. I'm a mother first before anything else. I know that most women feel like they've lost something of themselves after they have a child. They may miss their past selves in the same breath as they love motherhood. This struggle for an identity that they may have lost can surface in the beginning, or at some point in their lives when their kids are not as much dependent on them.

My identity after having kids is of a mother, so I had to let go of the 'me' who I was before. Does this hold true for you?

I think we moms spend many moments during the day when we dream of a time when things were, well, different. When you're dealing with an over-tired child at 8 PM on a weekend night, you can't help thinking of a time when all you had to worry about was which dress to wear, and where to head out with your friends. When you're fixing a PBJ sandwich because your kid refused to eat lunch, you wonder when you'll sit down and have a proper, warm meal yourself.

Does it matter?

Whether you decided to work full time, or stay at home makes a difference, With work, you at least have an identity outside of home. You have a title. The conflict comes in when you're unable to define yourself beside being a mom. You know you're actually much more than that, but you appreciation that may come too little.

But is that really a problem? I decided to stay home after having a baby, and it was always part of my life plan. Do I miss my former self? Initially, I did. A lot. But after two kids, I don't anymore.

I know there is a part of me that is gone forever. A part that was carefree, and with no strings attached. It's true that I can no longer think of myself singularly. I must always factor in my children, for almost every decision. But I don't believe that motherhood is a sacrifice as much as it is a fresh start.

A fresh start.

Becoming a mom has allowed me to develop new qualities that only kids can teach you. I know what unconditional love truly means. I can honestly be selfless when it comes to them. I feel grateful at the end of the day, no matter how tough it has been,

I know I had a good life before, but I also had to no idea that things would change so much. I gave up my professional career (but not my ambition - still have that!), and the freedom of a single lifestyle. And yet, I don't miss it because what I had know is much more beautiful, and fulfilling.

I can say now that I have let go of that person I was. The 'me' who would have scoffed at me making dinosaur sandwiches, or doing laundry instead of my hair. If I met her today, I would just smile back in all my maternal wisdom, and silently say goodbye.

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