My daughter is an amazing, unique person. I love her style. I love the way she runs around with carefree abandon. Barefoot. In dresses. In Werewolf costumes. I love her creativity. I wonder what she’ll be. Because there is so much potential contained in her beautiful little self. She is truly fearfully and wonderfully made.
I want her to have dreams, and I want to see them come true. I want them to be as far reaching as the stars. Big, big dreams.
I was pondering this the other day and realizing that I was once someone’s little girl. And my mom had all those same thoughts for me. I know she does, because she tells me.
That got me thinking. Thinking about identity. Identity once you’ve become a mother.
I love being a mother. I love my children. I feel the need to put that out there even now for fear claiming I love anything else might undermine that. Because…so often anything else in our lives is treated like it does undermine that love. Like any other aspiration we might have somehow robs from what has now become the primary part of our identity.
Very often when I tell people I’m a writer, the first comment is: That’s so wonderful! You get to be home with your kids.
I find that interesting. As though the only truly great thing about my accomplishments is how I’ve somehow managed to find a way to get paid to make myself available to do the one thing I really should want to do: be home with my kids.
But that perspective underserves the way our family works. I am not ‘home with my kids.’ I work full time at an office in my home. There are many challenges that go with that. My husband is the ‘stay at home’ (HAHAHAHA) parent. Who puts in so many miles on our car getting them where they need to go, who bears the burden of housework and grocery shopping and keeping us all functional.
Yes indeed, I am flexible in schedule, and that’s a wonderful thing. But…I have a job. A job that requires me to put in full time hours and sometimes LOCK my office door and build a security fence around my time.
My husband is a hard working stay at home parent. He spends a lot of time working on his music. He’s good at it. It makes him happy. It’s part of who he is. Because there’s more to him than ‘dad.’
Though, he’s never asked to justify these things. Often, he’s in that unenviable position of justifying his position as full time caregiver to the kids. People always want to know what ‘else’ he does. (And that’s a whole problem too.)
I find people often don’t want to know what ‘else’ moms do. Too often we’re only seen as one thing. Too often we see ourself as only one thing.
I don’t like it when people justify that I use my time for anything BUT my children. “It’s great because you’re home with your kids.”
I think it’s great because I love what I do. Because it makes me happy. Because me being happy makes me a better wife and a better mom.
Because I am living out my dreams. Because I’ve kept that part of myself that ran barefoot in dresses and let her hair fly in the wind, just like my daughter.
I don’t want her to lose that when she has children, if she has children. Because I prize all of who she is.
I should prize those same things in myself.
We all should.