I spend so much time with the babe I sometimes wonder if I am losing who I used to be. I am concerned about balance and keeping myself engaged in the real world. I admit that I have changed a lot since she was born, but I hope I still have those qualities (and faults) that made me who I used to be. I realize I need to be careful to not lose myself in the all consuming job of motherhood. As my wise father said to me recently, children will take as much of you as you let them. If you give 100% of yourself, they will take it. You have to make sure you watch out for your best interests because children will inevitably grow up and leave. Where will you be left if you gave everything to them?
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm reading Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety. The most relevant thing I've read so far is related to the discussion around losing yourself in motherhood.
"Too many of us now allow ourselves to be defined by motherhood and direct every ounce of our energy into our children. This sounds noble on the surface but in fact it's doing no one--not ourselves, or our children--any good. Because when we lose ourselves in mommy selves, we experience this loss as depression. When we disempower ourselves in our mommy selves, we experience this weakness as anxiety. When we desexualize ourselves in our mommy selves, it leads us to feel dead in our skin. All this places an undue burden upon our children. By making them the be-all-end-all of our lives, by breaking down the boundaries between ourselves and them so thoroughly, by giving them so much power within the family when they're very small, we risk overwhelming them psychologically and ill-preparing them, socially, for the world of other children and eventually, other adults." Page 55Well said! In terms of my own life, I admit I need to be more proactive in pursuing my interests and making time for myself. I keep saying I am going to do it, and keep not doing it. My husband and I have had many conversations about how I need to have time to myself so I can just be me and not someone's mommy. When I go out alone (which is rare), I feel like my old self, but different. I find it cool that people can look at me and not see a mommy. They just see me, and I like that. I am going to look into taking a yoga class on the weekends. By taking this time, I will work on something that I am interested in pursuing, while also giving myself a break from the non-stop job that is being a stay at home mother. It's back to school time, and for me, it's back to Christine time.