Like another blogger has stated, my child is not the center of my universe, my world, or my life, or however you want to say it.
Let me explain. I love my child with every ounce of my being. Especially after having fertility difficulties, we feel insanely blessed to have a happy and healthy child. Now that being said, he is not currently, nor will he ever be the center of my universe.
I firmly believe that in order to be the best wife, mother, sister, daughter, or surgeon that I can be, I have to be the best person I can be.
Image courtesy of http://www.hostesscakes.com.
Okay, so what the hell does “being the best person I can be” mean? For me, it means feeling fulfilled. My child absolutely adds to my sense of fulfillment, but so does being an trauma surgeon with an academic career, running half marathons, reading US magazines while eating Twinkies that I (may) have hidden from my husband, going to church, having road trips with my girlfriends and cheesy date nights with my husband.
The moment our vernacular changed from housewives to stay-at-home moms, it seems that our culture now expects every single waking moment of every mother to revolve around her child(ren). The term housewife implies a number of roles and responsibilities that involve the needs of the entire household, not just its junior members. It seems to me that stay-at-home moms are now supposed to entertain their offspring with an endless number of field trips, learning activities and developmental stage appropriate crafts in order to be worth her weight. I honestly don’t remember a single staged “craft activity”, outside of school projects, from my childhood. I mean, we had crayons and Play-Doh. Although I am admittedly not an expert with a glue gun I don’t think I have been otherwise negatively affected by this.
I am not currently always physically present for my child – I miss some skinned knees, tummy aches, smiles and laughter. Do I feel guilty about that? Yes and no. Yes, because of course there is a part of my heart that rips a little bit when there are days my child only sees me over an iPhone. But also no, because I know that my career, my hobbies, and my friends make me a happier person. This inner happiness and fulfillment allows me not only deeper and more meaningful interactions and relationships with my family, but also makes me a more patient and loving mother.
So why the hell am I writing this? Maybe a little to remind myself that even though I am currently on call for the 5th weekend in a row, I am still a “good” mommy. But mostly for all my fellow members of this magical club called motherhood. Where, once membership is granted, it can never be undone.
Give yourself a break. F&% Pinterest, make a really ugly cake for your kid’s birthday or heaven forbid, buy one from the grocery store. Drop your child off at a playgroup just because you want to eat lunch without a small human stealing your food or pooping their pants. Lock yourself in the bathroom and give yourself a pedicure. It is OKAY. You are entitled to your own wants, needs, desires and dreams outside of and separate from your offspring. They will absolutely benefit from having a happy and fulfilled mommy instead of a strung out always-feeling-like-a-failure mommy. And after all, because at some point, they are going to have learn, they not only are not the center of your universe, but they are not the center of anyone else’s universe, either.