…I was sitting in the dining room of a pub/restaurant in London with my husband and another couple, chatting about everything under the sun while enjoying a Bulmers (it’s a hard cider I fell in love with in Dublin.) As we were talking, I was asked “So what is it you actually do?” in response to something I said. I guess I sounded quite knowledgable about subjects. My reply was “Oh, I’m actually just a stay at home mom.”
I sometimes feel silly answering that question that way. It’s as if I’m implying that stay at home moms are really quite dumb about things outside their children, and they aren’t. But sometimes, as a mom, you get so caught up in your children and their lives, you forget your interests, have other talents, other things to talk about besides “Did you know what little Johnny did today?” You have this moment where you think “What happened to me?” and by that, you really wonder what has happened to the person you were before kids. I do believe this is a common phenomenon because not only have I wondered it, but I’ve had friends who have said it as well. There is this moment when you look in the mirror and you don’t recognize the person looking back at you. And it’s scary.
At the same time, being a mom does define who you are. I do think that your children, if you have them, should be your first priority. But it’s okay to have other interests. Me? I love to read. I wish I could paint like Monet, but will settle for going to art museums. I want to take photography classes. I need music. I’d like to learn how to play the piano we finally got. I’ve taught myself how to sew and knit and crochet. I enjoy cooking. I hope to own a little farm someday. I hate housework. Most of all, I want to become a published author.
So, how does one balance all this? What you want to do vs. tending to your children? Our simplest solution is to combine it all. I take my children to bookstores and we all wander. We take trips to museums and zoos and parks. I discovered we all like the same band and actually managed to take everyone to the concert (don’t worry, it was a family friendly show for the most part!) We try to share our loves with our kids, and learn about what they enjoy as well. We’ve ended up with an interesting assortment of children. Who oddly enough, love going to coffee shops. That last one is my fault.
I can honestly say though, after almost fourteen years of parenting, I know who I am. I still recognize myself. Oh, I’ve grown, my tastes may have changed a bit. But I’m still just as crazy as I was before children. And despite their best efforts to suck the knowledge out of my brain, I do think I’m actually smarter than before.