I want to start off this post with a giant disclaimer that I love my children. I love being a Mom. I believe that being a Mom is an incredible calling, and I don’t take it lightly, nor do I resent it.
But when I became a Mom, I felt like I lost much of myself. Some of that is beautiful–losing yourself, sacrificing yourself for the one(s) you love. But I think I lost a little too much of myself. I felt like I started to blend into the wallpaper. Relatives no longer said they missed “me”, they missed “the kids” (it’s ok, I know they meant me too! So Gma, if you are reading this, I KNOW YOU MISS ME!). When hubby gets home my voice gets drowned out by the energetic shouts and screams of our little ones. Attempt to talk on the phone with a friend is cut short by “Yes, you can have that banana.” “Please be gentle with your sister”–or is simply just drowned out by screams. By the time the conversation gets back on track, my friend and I have no idea what on earth we were talking about.
As a Mom, I had let myself lose my voice.
I finally got to the point where I felt that in order to truly understand myself, I needed some space for ME in my life. My special place, free of sippy cups and reruns of Phineas and Ferb.
I worked hard on my professional skills, earning a Bachelor’s in English, Master’s in Composition, and I’m ALMOST done with my PhD in Education. I worked in academia, teaching college writing for nearly a decade, and worked in the corporate field. So, I won’t lie, there was this lurking feeling in me that I needed to do “more” than be a Stay at Home Mom right now* (did I just pay $100K to clean up food that’s been smashed into the carpet or wrestle a 3-year old in a carseat?). I know that for me, personally, I need to be at home with my children right now. I know in my heart that’s what I need to do at this stage, but I also want my mind in other places too.
*(Please know, this is not me casting judgement on those who are stay at home Moms–it’s a tough job in and of itself! Nor is this anything against a Mom working outside the home. I’m the biggest advocate of motherhood being tough no matter what and each mama knowing what’s best for her family)
Being a Mom means EVERYTHING to me. It brings me immense joy. But I also wanted–needed–something a little outside of that, some place where just Tara existed.
I finally found a profession that worked for me (at least right now). I work from home (where I can still be present with my kids, and yes, take breaks for sippy cups). I can pick my hours. I can prioritize and value my role as Mom, while also having some time set aside for me. I can utilize the skills that I acquired in my studies & watch it help others. I feel like I’ve found myself as I’ve helped others to become more financially secure, build their own business, and reach their health and fitness goals.
As a “fitness coach”, I wasn’t some highly trained fitness person, that wasn’t necessary. People needed something a little different from that. They needed someone to believe in them, so share success stories to help them, to hold them accountable, to give them a safe environment to share successes and struggles. As I connected with more and more people, I started to hear my own voice. I saw the value that I was adding to others, and it made me feel like I had an exciting role on this planet besides the already-exciting role of being a Mother.
I’ve had other coaches on my team express the same feelings. They felt like they found their place (outside of Motherhood)–a place to be just them, not “Mom.”
I’m sharing this in hopes that some of you who might feel stuck might seek to find some place where you re-discover yourself. Maybe it is a hobby, maybe it is a weekly date with friends sans kids, maybe it is a service project. Hey, maybe coaching might even be great for you (if so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out an application on our coaching page). But Moms, don’t feel guilty about mourning that loss of self. That doesn’t make you a bad Mom or a selfish Mom. Instead, go out and find that self. Hold on tight to her–find a way to develop her and share that beautiful self with your beautiful kids–THAT will make you an incredible Mom.
(Heads up: for those who are interested: I host a monthly sneak peek into coaching. Who knows this might be an escape for you! If you are interested, just fill out this registration form)