The Historic Mommies’ Night Out, A Mom’s Identity Found

IMG_5105From Left: Shelley, Amanda, Jennine and Myself.

Last week I set out to plan an evening with my mommy-friends.  One of them emailed the rest of us suggesting a night out of town with dinner, drinks and if we were feeling a little crazy, maybe even some dancing!  After careful plotting with our husbands and many more exchanged emails, my friends and I finally planned a REAL ladies night out.  Not a quick meal in town where one of us gets called home because of a screaming child, or an evening at one of our houses with a couple of diapered tag-alongs.  But a real, makeup and heels night out!

After removing the carseats in my van and vacuuming up all of the cheerios I was ready to pick up the ladies and head out on the town; maybe we should pitch a show called “Mommy Vans After Dark”?  My friend Amanda was too cute, she must have said how excited she was about every two minutes during the car ride which continued on in the restaurant.  I just had to snap a picture of her excitement!

IMG_5106We had many laughs and learned a lot more about each other (which we didn’t think was possible).

One underlying theme that has been paramount when I have been chatting with other moms at the same stage as me lately is the feeling of a lost identity.   Many of us have been so immersed in the baby and then toddler stage that we have left ourselves behind.  Now that the dust has settled and we are able to start venturing out again, we are finding it hard to see exactly where our place in the world is other than being a mom and a wife.  We are not quite the person we were before having kids, so who are we now?

About a year and a half ago I had already been home with my kids for three years and was fighting increasing depression.  My whole life I had wanted to be a stay-at-home mom like my mother.  She had always made it looks so fulfilling.  But when it was my turn it was not at all what I thought it would be.  My son Holden was extremely moody and anxious for the first couple of years which kept me fairly isolated.  When our adventurous and happy daughter Beau came along I was so burnt out that I barely had the energy to enjoy the simple pleasures of being a mom.

I found myself resenting my husband Mike leaving to work everyday and not having a reason to get out of my sweats.  I finally came to a breaking point where I decided I needed to get back into the working world.  I had to remind myself that even my mother, an incredible stay-at-home mom was also pursuing her dreams of singing on stage in the evenings with community theatre.  So I joined an Interior Design firm and started to re-discover myself. After a year of working I realized that this too was not the perfect fit.  I did not feel very supported by my work about the fact that I was a mom and I could also see the toll that the long days in daycare were taking on my kids, especially my son.  I needed to find a happy medium.

It was time to start a new journey.  I would do what I had always wanted to do: run my own business.  With a lot of support from Mike we pulled our kids out of daycare and put a halt on our spending (which wasn’t easy because we had just moved).  It has been a balancing act but so far so good!

There are days when my house looks like a bomb went off or I have to remind myself that I am still working and to be careful to protect my “working” time but I find myself excited and fulfilled everyday.  I still get out of my sweats, put some makeup on and style my hair even if I am just heading out to a playdate.

The biggest piece of advice I can give other moms is this: motherhood may not be exactly what you thought it was going to be or you may not have everything as clean or as organized as you would like, but that doesn’t mean you are failing as a mother.  Every woman’s path as a mother and a wife or partner is different and you have to carve out your own that doesn’t just include your kids and your husband/partner but yourself as well.  Whether you are working or at home, single or with a partner, make sure you are doing something that is also for you.  Something that is yours and that you are in control of.  If you are worried you might be putting too much on your husband/ partner for an evening here or a day there, they might shock you (and also pick up a bit more of the housework along the way).  Trust me, you will be a better mother and wife/partner for it!  We wear many hats and are trying to take care of a lot of other people.  But before we can happily give so much to our family we must give to ourselves first.

2 thoughts on “The Historic Mommies’ Night Out, A Mom’s Identity Found”

  1. Hey Joanna, your latest log post about a mommy’s identity really spoke to me. I, too, have felt like I lost my identity after having my daughter. Especially when my maternity leave ended and I decided to quit my job and stay home. As excited as I was, I was uneasy about leaving my career and my so-called respect and identity that goes along with it. I didn’t really know who I was besides a mommy anymore. Was I boring? Was my husband still interested in me? Will the workforce accept me back after a few blank years on my résumé? Will I be lonely? Even now, 18m after my daughter’s birth, I regularly get asked what I do for a living….responding with “I’m a mommy” often gets me smiles, awww’s, and I-wish-I-could-stay-home or…..sometimes “I could never do that! I’d be bored! I need to interact with adults and have my own life!”…..or just awkward smiles and silence…..I try not to get insulted because I love being home and know that not everyone is interested in my child’s developmental milestones or how many errands I did today. Sooooo I joined a book club, went to yoga classes with a friend, planned regular girls pub nights and signed myself up for hockey again. My daughter and I spend ALL of our time together so it’s nice to have a break, vent, burn off steam, laugh, relax, and discover other things to talk about besides Babies. It was comforting and enlightening to read about your career changes and own battle with your identity. We should be happy and proud of who we are. No one will do it for us, we have to do it for ourselves and I’m excited to say that my identity was hidden for awhile but is back in a new way

  2. Wow! Joanna, so well written as I’m not in that same situation it’s good to know that if I am ever to step into a full time mommy role there is support out there!!! Looks like you are doing an AMAZING job!!!

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