Growing up, I never wanted to be a mom. I wasn't the kind of child that played with dolls or cooed over babies. My mother had children very young and I looked at her life taking care of us as dull and uninspired. She sacrificed too much of herself, I thought. It can't be worth it. I was determined to do something more exciting with my life. But as typically happens, life didn't turn out as I planned. For that I am grateful.
I genuinely love staying at home with my children. Despite my occasional emotional breakdowns I love being a mom. And even more surprisingly I feel fulfilled by it. I know that eventually I will have to decide what my life will hold once it doesn't have small children in it, but for now I am happy doing what I do. Being a stay at home mom is a gift I never knew to ask for.
I hear many mothers lament that they are treated as being less significant because they don't work outside the home. I can honestly say I have never felt this. Maybe it's because I, as most people, tend to surround myself with like-minded people. Maybe it's just the number of kids I have, and four kids seems enough to keep anyone busy. Maybe I am just oblivious, but I have never felt my role belittled or less valued. What I have felt, is less interesting.
I recently had dinner with a friend from highschool. We laughed and rolled our eyes the silly girls we used to be while hoping to recognize something of those girls in the woman across the table. When the reminiscing and gossiping lulled we progressed to our lives as they are now. She was still single and preparing to move to another state for her career. And as I babbled on with one story after another about my children and she commented politely, I realized I had better move on to another topic.
"Um..." Surely there's something else...
"Hmmm, I uh..." Crap. That's all I've got.
This has increasingly become a problem for me: trying to find something, anything, to talk about with women who don't have children. I have become so entrenched in this role as a mother of four that everything I am, (my activities, my words, my thoughts, my blog) is painted with the color mom. It's scary, this complete giving over of all that I was to a new identity that only has one layer. What will happen when it inevitably peels away? Will there be anything left?
With my life as it is right now, I don't really have a choice. My children, with their varying demands, simply take up all the time I have each day. More time, in fact, than I have each day. It's a season. But I am clinging to the hope that once this season passes and the little ones no longer need me in such an all encompassing way, that I will be able to start creating a new layer. Still tinted with my love for my children, as I always will be, should be, but maybe not blanketed by it. Maybe you'll be able to see through it a little, to the woman underneath.
Until then, I'll bear my just-a-mom banner proudly and try to remember the honor it carries with it. An honor for which becoming insufferably dull really is a small price to pay. And in the meantime I'll go read some more books. So at least I'll have that to talk about.