I was chatting with another mom today, and she made a statement that kind of surprised me. She said something along the lines of, “I guess maybe I’m weird. But being a mom, being home with my kids and taking care of my family, it’s not enough for me. I really need to pursue other interests, follow my passions.”
I guess I’d just never heard it said out loud like that. The part that surprised me is that she thought that this made her “weird.” I think that some of us think that it makes us “less.”
Though sometimes it feels that way, we actually don’t cease to exist as individuals when we become mothers. Motherhood slams some of us so hard that it may take years to realize that, to remember who we are. I became a mom at twenty-two. I didn’t yet know who I was. I became “Mommy” before I became Me.
I probably am weird. But, having interests beyond caring for my family doesn’t mean that I love less. It doesn’t make me selfish.
It has taken me many years to figure out how to raise a family, a large one, and continue to follow my own passions. Before that, it took me many years to realize that if I didn’t find a way to do so, I was going to drown in this, and no one would be the better for it, my children included.
And you can add another dimension to this, this pursuit of passion. Jonny and I have learned that by pursuing mutual interests together, we have a better relationship, a better marriage. Our kids aren’t excited about every crazy project we come up with, but we sometimes make them participate because we’re mean, and at the very least they have to put up with it. These projects: the bees, the goats, the garden, whatever we are excited about, they make us happy people. They make us happy parents, and that is a very good thing.
So, girls!!! Find something you love and go for it! If you can find something that your family can be a part of with you, then great. If not, don’t let that stop you. I’m not talking about abandoning your family or your children, just doing something to nurture yourself. It doesn’t have to be huge, though the impact might be. Find something that will bring you joy, something that is reasonable, something that you can actually make work as part of your life. Start small. Don’t compare, don’t feel guilty.
My family likes the outdoors. I like to knit, garden, and take pictures. I love animals, at this moment especially goats (though I am a little worried that everyone is thinking that I am strange so I’m trying to keep it quiet). Jonny likes to build things. He loves to make music, and also to play sports. We are both into this whole homesteading thing, and after more than a decade of trying, we still aren’t any good at it. Seth loves metal detecting. Keats and Gabe love baseball. Keats also loves to play music, while Gabe loves to work with his hands. Larkspur is artsy and is the driving force behind much of the crafting that goes on in this house. I haven’t figured out Beatrix, Silas, and Job yet. But I will. And I hope that I will do a decent job of encouraging them to pursue whatever their passions are.
What about you? What do you like to do? How do you make it happen? How are you going to make it happen?
Because it’s okay. You can be somebody other than Mom, and still be a good one.
(Disclaimer: Obviously, I can’t make any promises about whether or not the pursuit of your passions will reveal your inner weirdness. It’s quite possible that you are weird.)