I’ve been seeing this phrase around a lot, lately, and I gotta’ tell you, it bugs me a bit.
But at the same time, I think I know what it’s meant to be saying…
I dunno. I came here to think it out through my fingers hahaha
I can’t remember how old I was – old enough, obviously, to remember; maybe I was already married? I don’t know – but I do remember sitting chatting with my mom one day and her lamenting having lost her identity in her family life – she got married and gave up a lot of what she liked because my dad wasn’t into the same stuff (I’m sure he didn’t ASK her to, it’s just something that happened) and then eventually evolved until she was “just a mom.” She’d stopped being herself somewhere along the way, immersing herself in caring for her family and catering to other people’s wants and needs.
I DO remember, though, having this conversation, whenever it was, and thinking to myself, nope! Not going to do that! hahaha
Interesting declaration to oneself before even having an iota of a clue who one is truly! But despite having never really before had a handle on ME, or more like been comfortable with me before, I’ve never not been me. If that wasn’t just the most confusing way to put that ever! Did you follow it?
I mean, I don’t think I’m uber selfish (maybe I am) or self-centred (possibly?), that’s not what I mean. I just… even when I’m not doing well and I hate me I’m still doing ME. Does that make sense? I dunno. Let me try to explain better:
I’ve always been into athletics. I think there are few things, if any, in life, that I enjoy more than MOVING. I LOVE IT. When I was a kid I danced – ballet, jazz, acrobatics, tap – and I played soccer. Oh, how I loved soccer! I played soccer until I was resembling-the-shape-of-the-ball-pregnant with our first hahaha and then resumed shortly after giving birth. I played soccer until I found kickboxing. But over the years I tried everything. I played hockey in high school; I was on the wrestling team (I was terrible hahaha!); did a very short stint in rugby; played and was good at squash for a while; oh, I was a fantastic swimmer! Back stroke was my best race… I fell in love with rock climbing, too! Man, I haven’t done that in AAAGES!
I was into music, as well. I played piano. I learned flute. I had a brief encounter with both the guitar and trumpet, and aspirations for violin.
MOST of the things I loved to do, I still love to do. I mean, I haven’t seriously worn tap shoes in over 20 years (holy CRAP when did I get so old?!), but, you know, I still do stuff.
I’m still ME. I still love sports. I LOVE to move. I kick box and exercise and run stupid distances and dive into mud pits… I’ve just started jiu jitsu, I’m actively working on being able to do pull-ups. I’m usually the first girl to jump up and play whatever the game is at picnics or at the beach or wherever the game is afoot. There’s fun exercise to be had? I’m in. Let’s do it.
And I don’t spend as much time on it as when I was a kid – time is VALUABLE and hard to come by in adulthood – but I’m still into music. I play, I sing, I LOVE performing. Which is weird, because I hate it when people look at me hahaha go figure.
Some of the exact things I do have changed, absolutely. I don’t play soccer anymore – totally would if the opportunity presented itself, and frankly, I’m in so much better shape now than when I stopped playing I’d probably be better at it hahaha! But while the things I do have changed and evolved over the years the fact of the matter is that I have never stopped doing things that I love to do.
Not for extended periods of time, anyway. I mean, there are always the dark times when I’m hiding in The Pit. I can go for a while without moving my body when I’m in there. But in general, I keep moving.
And I work. I have a business. Well, one business and one one-day-will-be-a-business 😉 And I work my butt off in business, because that’s how you make things happen. And since I want things to happen and I know no one is going to just give them to me, I work my butt off.
I wasn’t ‘just a mom’ when I was married and had a kid and finished my kinesiology degree. Nor was I ‘just a mom’ when I went back to college to become an RMT. Nor ‘just a mom’ when I won the silver medal.
But I AM a mom. And even though I’m a seriously crappy housewife, I am a DAMNED good mother.
No, I am not home 100% of the time. I don’t always have a home-cooked, healthy meal ready every night of the week. I DO let my kids play on electronics and watch too much tv. I am lax in making them do chores around the house – it’s SO much easier to pick up after everyone than to continually harp and nag and beg at my 3 family members to clean up.
But I LOVE those girls. I am teaching them that they can do whatever they want to in life. That they are not restricted by the imagined boundaries of their gender identities. I am showing them that women are strong, and that we can do hard things. I can teach them how to work in the kitchen, how to push forward in business, and teach them how to throw a punch at an attacker. I’m the one who teaches them sports. I teach them music. Art. I have sleepovers and movie nights, tickle fights and playground dates. I push them to pursue their interests.
I let them be who they are.
I think the thing I don’t like about the “just a mom” phrase, is that it almost feels like it’s diminishing the mom-gig. I mean, I get myself into a lot of shenanigans, and some weeks I KNOW I’m too busy because I miiiiisssssss my monsters something fierce. But all the while I’m hustling around, mom is my #1 most important thing. I mean, most important to me. Honestly, I don’t even like it when we say mom is the most important work a woman will do because… that cannot unequivocally be true across the board for every woman on the planet. YES, within her family, sure, but COME ON. Didn’t someone say that about Amal Clooney after she had babies and the backlash was like, dude, no, do you KNOW what she does for a living? Sigh. Anyway… Hopefully you get my point. And no, my eldest was not scarred for life with a feeling of abandonment because she was in daycare when she was little, but thanks for your very helpful input.
No, when I say my Mom-gig is my #1 I don’t mean it takes up all of my time or that I spend all of my mental power thinking about momming. It’s just the first priority when taking on tasks. I want to train for and compete in a national kickboxing tournament – can WE, as a family, do this? What will this entail? How much will it take me away from the kids? Is everyone okay with us committing to this? Sometimes the answers are not positive and I don’t do the thing. But most of the time, we, the family, work together, and make it possible, because I am part of the family, and I am important. Just like it’s important to get the kids to their friends and their sports and their dance and their stuff, I need to get to mine. And then, when I do, my daughter can come to a kickboxing tournament and watch Mom WIN. And she is proud, and she is inspired. And she wants to do hard stuff, too.
I don’t think we need to feel BAD because we either are or are not ‘just’ a mom. Do you know what I mean? The phrase is so often laced with that gross, negative, judgemental vibe that just gives me the ick. So WHAT if you’re “just a mom” if that’s what you want to do? The hustle isn’t for everybody. And some people are legitimately happy and fulfilled revelling in stay-at-home-mommyhood. Some MEN flourish in that capacity, for pity’s sake. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing what you’re best at. At KNOWING what you’re best at, what defines you as a person, and going for it, be it parenthood or something else.
I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t like it when we oversimplify each other. I am not defined by this ONE aspect of me. I am not just a mom, or just a blogger, or just a kick boxer….
I am Rebecca. I LOVE my family. I AM a mom. I’m an athlete, a writer, a dang-good massage therapist, a singer. I LOVE music – it’s almost always playing around me. I love musicals and showtunes. I love alt rock, and the kids’ pop favourites. I’m crafty – I can sew, I have amazing scrapbooks, and love giving handmade cards. I can make jewellery. I’m strong. I LOVE to read books, and read my favourites multiple times. I love Winnie the Pooh, and Harry Potter, and even some grown-up stories, too. I love movies. Batman is my favourite superhero, when he’s done properly, of course. I own and play with my own Lego – no that is NOT my kids’ Hogwarts set! I can cook, when I want to. I SUCK at tidying. I hate running, but I occasionally do it anyway. I go to church, every Sunday. I “play” the organ, and work with a couple others to run the kids’ program there. I am driven, a hard worker, and I will always do what I say I’m going to do. I am fiercely loyal.
Sometimes, my day is all about my kids. Sometimes my day goes that I am just a mom that day. I cook, I clean, I snuggle and play, I teach, I chauffeur, I kiss ouchies and scare monsters.
Sometimes, my day is all about work. I write, I massage, I travel around. I’m stuck to my phone building Instagram and engaging on Facebook. I’m doing charts, scheduling patients, compiling tax info. Doing LAUNDRY hahaha RMTs do a lot of laundry!
Sometimes, I’m all about training. I lift weights in the morning, I do classes at night. Sometimes with a HIIT session in between. Today I’m running with a friend as workout #2. My mind is on meal planning and meal prepping and keeping portions in line so I can reach my fitness goals.
Sometimes it’s all about something else.
I’m never just a mom. I AM an amazing mom. And I am me. And I am increasingly okay with me, so this is not going to change any time soon.
Stop giving the phrase power it shouldn’t have. There’s nothing wrong with being ‘just a mom.’ But if you’re getting lost along the way don’t leave it; you are too important. Your kids deserve a mom (or dad, what’s up, boys?) who is as fully and truly happily her as she can be, because they need to know that they are important as adults, not just as our littles, and they learn that lesson from watching us take care of us.
Getting off my soapbox now, because it’s time to go running 😉