I am a stay-at-home mom. I own a business, which I run from my home, and I work part-time outside the home. Living in a rural area, I don’t get a lot of social opportunities nor do I have the energy to attend when I do.
You see, I have lost my identity. I have completely become “Mom”.
When did this happen? I’m not really sure. It was a slow process, I think, which is why I didn’t notice it at first.
Why did it happen? Because I didn’t know any better. I have devoted my entire life to my husband and children but forgot to save some for myself. Yes, that may sound selfish to some, but it is so important to take the time to do things YOU like to do. I love my family dearly but I have suppressed who I am in order to please them.
I know…it’s my fault for letting it happen but I can assure you, I’m not the only SAHM to whom this has happened and it is happening right now to others. It’s a trap for the unwary, this loss of self, and we start to believe this is who we really are.
What happened to the artist in me that loved to paint? Didn’t have time for that any more and the supplies were just taking up precious space. They had to go.
Where is my Muse? She felt ignored and so went elsewhere to find greener, more verdant pastures. The wellspring of poetry that used to flow so easily has dried up from lack of use. There were too many dishes to do.
Where are all my friends? They either had children of their own and fell into the same rut or got tired of waiting for me to actually say yes when they invited me to lunch or a movie. Even worse, when I did say yes, all I talked about were my kids and how much laundry I had to do.
Now that my children are both in school full time, I find I am repeating the same mistake with my business. I pour what I have left into work because I don’t know what else to do. Only now am I beginning to remember that there is a whole other “me” inside that needs my nurturing attention just as much as my kids and business.
I realize that I haven’t spoken to any of my friends, outside my part-time job, in months. I haven’t been to a movie in years. My husband and I don’t go out for dinner alone anymore. When was the last time I purchased something for myself that wasn’t business or family related like nail polish or frilly panties? I need a massage…but that would take too much time away from my business and kids.
Wouldn’t it? I mean, don’t I have to be ‘on-call’ 24/7 to make sure all their needs are met? Surely they aren’t capable of fending for themselves for a few hours. Goodness knows I am the only one who can give them what they want so a sitter is out of the question. Their growing minds would dry up and blow away if I weren’t there to entertain them and teach them every moment of the day. But what am I teaching them? That it’s okay to give so much of yourself that there is nothing left and you feel hollow inside? That taking time out for oneself is selfish and when they have a family they should give up who they are as well?
I’m making an effort to re-discover myself. That doesn’t mean I have to leave my family behind. In fact, I think they might enjoy the journey of self-discovery upon which I have embarked and I certainly could use their company and support along the way. Making myself a happier, more fulfilled person will add value to our family relationship; not detract from it. Who wants a grumpy, depressed mom and wife anyway?
Children learn by example. So what kind of example are you setting? It’s not too late to turn things around.