"Me" in "Mom" or The Gift of Me

or tuesday… 

Summer 2011
My precious Natalia Rose had just been born. I loved snuggling my two kids, and caring for my little daughter but a fear arose. A fear that I would never be me again. I was leading into a life of nothing but diapers, breasts, and snotty noses. Gone would be the chance to play piano again, to draw, to write, to do. My children would be teenagers and I would have a chance to sit down and draw. They would come into the room, and be shocked “Mom! You’re an artist?” Shocked that I did anything more then snuggle, school, dishes, and cook. Shocked that I was a person beyond a position. 

One Year Later…
While this picture seems a little silly now, it did lead to a lot of thinking. The thought that I wanted my children to know me. To give them the gift of me. Not just my time and attention, but also to still be Debra, the lady their dad fell madly in love with and the unique person that God created with likes and dislikes, and attributes beyond the ability to vacuum. Someone they could relate to, especially as they got older. 
My nephew Ryley. 
“Mom” or “Me”
There seems to be a prevalent thought, one of “mom” or “me”. One that says make sure you get plenty of me time before you have kids, cause then that chance is gone. And after you have kids, put “me” aside to serve your family. That our family suppresses us to the point of suffocation and we must take the “me” down from the shelf occasionally to catch a few breathes.  
Being a mom can be stifling at times. Sometimes I just feel like I would like a break, two minutes of having some quiet (preferably without having to wash powdered gelatin off of my daughter afterwards). But, if it is not “us”, who is helpmeet to our husband, and mom to our children? Who is it? An empty shell? Yes, being a mom takes sacrifices. Children need a lot of time and attention. But, it is imperative to remember we are more then a position to these children, they need far more then their nose wiped, to be told to stay out of the road, and to be fed. They need us to be there for them. 
Joy and Investment

Peace. Beautiful peace. Unique for a household with two young kids who don’t particularly care for sleeping. I got out some art and began doing finishing touches, my favorite part. I felt like I was visiting with an old friend. Then Christopher woke up. Mark worked to put him to bed for about an hour. He just would not settle down, he simply needed attention. Mark, exhausted, asked me to take over (it was 10 at this point.) I was pretty bummed. Here I was having a unique chance, and it ended. After a few minutes of Christopher watching me saying “nice mom!” and asking me questions I sadly (and a bit lot grudgingly) put the art aside. I picked him up and he started asking me questions about a which letter was which on an alphabet block he had been holding. We talked about it for a while, and then we started reading. The same peaceful atmosphere surrounded us as I had had with the art. The peace of stillness and enjoyment. After he went to bed. I went back to my art, and enjoyed myself, but kept thinking back to our sitting there and reading. How wonderful it was, even though I had started it pretty upset. 
The joy I had was not unique to the “me” time after all. It was investing myself, the decision to enjoy. The decision to give of me beyond just sitting there and reading.
Somehow…

I have tried to pretend I was not an individual with unique gifts, quirks, and loves. They always seem to get in the way of playing by all the perfect wife and mom “rules” that do not exist. 
My love for drawing distracts me from making dinner, so it gets to the table late. Writing keeps me up at night when perhaps I should be sleeping. I have a quirky since of humor which seems oh so out of place. Sometimes I forget that I need to do laundry because I am crunching numbers for a new monthly menu plan just for our budget to decrease, so it is useless. Sometimes, Mark brings a friend home for dinner unannounced and I am sitting among clothes working on a blog commitment asking “is scrambled eggs fine?” (That was one of the funnest dinners ever) I have tried to be as far away from “me” as possible in order to “better” serve my family. Going as far as to joke with Mark “it would be easier if I was just a ROBOT” And you know what? Everyone is miserable. I always forget one very important thing when I do this, God created me. I have faults, and I need to die to my old selfish, self-centered self, but he knitted me in my mother’s womb. I need better time management (amen!) to be able to invest in the Lord, Mark, my children, my home, and still me with joy. But, I was not some crazy science experiment that happened to love singing, art, acting, and writing. He made me that way. And, what is more, it was this quirky little girl that Mark fell in love with. He loves that I love kids, he enjoys my art, he finds my nerdiness exciting, he laughs at my jokes, and he wants me to write. Somehow, I need to balance the crazy dreamer with the tasks that need to be done. To sing while doing dishes, and use that quirky sense of humor to make my children laugh. They think I am hilarious. To not be selfish, and yet to give the gift to my family of willing to be me. How? I do not know. I guess I can only take it  one day at a time, to be willing to learn. To try and not go from one extreme to the other, so much as draw closer to God, and hopefully he will teach me. ‘Cause, I just don’t know. How is that for a blog ending? 

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Comments

  1. I love this post, Debra! We moms can so easily get put in (or put ourselves in!) a box of roles and goals, but God made us to have so much more depth than that! Thanks so much for sharing your heart. :-)

  2. I love being me, mom! My kids know what I do. They know my jobs – which thankfully are my passions. But I do think the majority take thing to one extreme. They at either only mom or hire and nanny so they can still be “me”.

  3. Great post, and so glad you did it, for it is important young women realize though it may be hard, but find small projects that keep you alive with who you are. I did not learn this until years after the children were grown and had to find new ways to express the talents God had given me that I put on the shelf, I did it, not realizing I did. For a short time until I found my talents again I felt lost. It is why this post is so good, God bless you.