Friday, March 21, 2014

One Simple Way to Be a Great Mama (Maybe Too Simple)

By the time we figure out motherhood, our children are adults. So I have a request for mamas, develop with them. Learn as you go. Be a great mom by being a great woman. 

As I sit reading posts and articles about being a mom, about the sweetness and bitterness of it all, about holding little hands and wiping tears, hearing “I love you” and finding the beauty in snot and spit up and drool, I weep.  As any mother would, I weep for the moments that are already gone forever and the sweet smells of babydom that will never be again. 

I also rejoice.  My children are alive and healthy and we still have a ways to go before they don’t need me anymore.  There is still much work to be done before they are ready for the world. 

In the not-so-distant future, I will not have to worry about needing a sitter to enjoy long relaxing dinners.  The time will come when I can go to the movies on a whim again.  But what about now?  What do I lose if I don’t continue to grow and develop as my children do?

Here are four things I do so that I can continue to be a great woman and therefore, a great mama.

1.      Read about at least one other subject that does not directly involve parenthood.

I don’t just read about being a mom and education and parenting tips.  I read about happiness.  About strong women.  About motivation, health, and fulfillment.  About leadership and the psychology around so many of these areas.

2.      Don’t just send the kids to enrichment activities, learn something with them. 

I want to learn so many things. Sometimes it just takes prioritizing and picking one! Learn to draw, to fence, to paint, to play chess, or to program a computer.

3.      Learn something new with my mate!

Studies show these years are the most difficult time in our marriages.  Sadly, many marriages or partnerships don’t make it through.  This is the time to pay attention. Grow with my mate, not apart.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t just happen, it takes work. 

4.      Do what I encourage my children to do.  Make new friends.   

Or strengthen the friendships I have. We know how to build strong friendships but it can be especially difficult trying to make new friends as an adult, especially as a busy mom. It isn’t easy to carry on a conversation or show your whole self to someone when you are also standing by, half distracted, watching your little ones.  It’s like dating all over again.  “Do they like me?”  “Will they call?” “Did I say something wrong?!”  
I see the vulnerability and know it well. I want to empower my fellow mama.  Mamas, build each other up, spend time together. Let’s create the best, most supportive community by being a great friend (just like we encourage our children to do). 

Yes, many of us mamas continue careers or go back to them.  Many of us volunteer and stay active in our children’s schools or communities.  These are wonderful, noble and necessary endeavors.  But, what about our sense of self? 

Do you remember who that girl was that went to a prom and
danced and smiled and had a huge future ahead? 

Do you remember that dumb thing you did before it really mattered what people thought of you?  What happened to who you were when you ‘thought’ you had it all figured out? Do we just become something else? Do we have any dreams to continue our growth while helping little humans to do the same?

So I ask of all of you wonderful mamas out there;

Don’t lose who you are. Your children deserve that fresh, idealistic, brilliant woman that you were and that still lives inside you.  Let them see her. 

Don’t lose who you are. Your friends need you to stay funny, wild, goofy, smart, fun, grounded, and dance with them. They need you to be their friend. Your mate deserves someone with whom to just
grow, play, be.

Don’t lose who you are. Keep the amazing woman you are AND grow her. Invest in her. Everyone else gets the benefits too.

I am a woman first.
“I am a(n): Mother. Wife. Friend. Volunteer. Employer.
Customer. Coach. Citizen. Daughter. Sister. Neighbor.
Stranger. Student. Aunt. Alum. Niece. Cousin. Mentor.

I am a woman first.”

You are all of those things but you are a woman first.  Respect your being and let your children see her.  
She is amazing.

With Much Love,

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  1. I'm starting to feel like a cyber-stalker, but I just had to say how much I loved this post as well. You have such a warm, kind voice and bring up ideas I've never thought of in my motherhood journey. What I've learned in just two posts has already inspired me! I'm really looking forward to reading more. But, I probably won't keep commenting on every post like some kind of nut. Or maybe I will. Sorry. ;-)

    1. Tarissa,
      Please comment away! So glad you are enjoying it. It really means a lot when someone takes the time to read AND comment. Thank YOU!