I Am Still A Person Despite Having Children

Mother of four kids in colourIt took me years to realize it. But I am a person outside of being a mother.

As young as I can remember, I had baby fever. I would mimic my mother of four, while she cared for my baby sister, I would even pretend to breastfeed my dolls. I thought becoming a mom would fill a hole in my heart. That I would be completely satisfied by caring for my own children.

I still went to college and got the fancy big city career, but in the back of my mind, I knew that this was just temporary… until I became a mother.

before kids

Kid-free and carefree

When I was finally pregnant with our first, I would daydream the entire train ride in and out of the city each day. I wouldn’t need anything else. I would stay home and bake, read stories, go on mommy playdates, do bath time and have a beautiful home cooked meal on the table for my husband when he came in the door from work each day.

My husband supported my dream too. So much so, that we put all of our savings into two investment properties, and he worked two jobs, his day job and taking care of our investments, so that I could stay home with our kids.

We welcomed our son into the world and it was time to live my dream.

Only, my dream was not at all what I pictured. My son was not the happiest baby. Don’t get me wrong, he was a great sleeper, and when it was just the two of us, he was fairly content. But add another person to the mix, or dare go out, and he was miserable.

These sensory issues, along with a language delay, eventually became a problem we had to address. I became a warrior mom. I had left myself behind in that train, and I gave my entire being to my son.

But, I didn’t like reading books, especially when he would want to switch halfway through. I dreaded bath time, it was a chore. I slowly stopped going to mommy playdates, partly because my son didn’t enjoy the chaos, and partly because I was bored of talking about my kid to other mothers.

When we found out we had an oops, and another baby was on the way, I didn’t know how to feel. I was in shock. I knew I wanted more kids, but I felt like I hadn’t really nailed the mom thing yet. I was still in the trenches and didn’t know how to get out.

pregnant with my second

My second pregnancy flew by, partly because I was full of anxiety

Three years after becoming a mother I was a shell of a person. I had no identity, other than being the person who cared for two children. I was definitely not the same person I was before having kids.

My husband would come home from work after the sun had gone down, and I would be pacing our upstairs hall. I wanted to scream “get me out of here!”

This was a pivotal point in my journey to becoming a person again. I began to search for a new path. Not my old path, not my mother’s path, or my current path, but a new one. A path that would only fit me.

It took me three more years, one more career, two failed businesses and having twins to get to my custom motherhood path, where I am today. My sweet spot.

I am a part-time stay-at-home mom, full-time entrepreneur. It’s my perfect fit.

attending a conference

Attending a conference

I now know that each mother’s balance and path is different from each other. Some mothers do love every minute of being home with their children. Really, I know some! Others need a stimulating career that may keep them out of their home. We are all good mothers, just different.

But all of us need to establish who we are as a person outside of our kids. Giving ourselves completely to our children will not fill that hole in your heart. There has to be a balance. Every mom has their own unique path, and it is okay to change your direction if your journey isn’t fitting you.

I am a person

You won’t be the same person you were before kids. Trust me, the new person you are is stronger, more caring, empathetic and driven… because you are also a mother.


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.