If you are anything like me, you get caught up on the crazies of life. I so often feel like I’m headbutting with my daughter… both of us wanting to spend my time differently. I want to focus on my own interests, she has her own interests for me to focus on. The result of my frustration leads me to wonder why I chose to be a mother. I’m constantly wrestling with my own desires and pleasures rather than sacrificing my life for my daughter. Whether I’m trying to fold the laundry or talk to an employee, I get easily irritated when my daughter is demanding my attention with the most obnoxious behavior she can muster up.
Consequently, my resentful and annoyed attitude results in a feeling of guild. Then my mind is confused with a slough of questions:
- Is this normal?
- Is this a character flaw of mine?
- Shouldn’t I have a maternal instinct and desire to give my whole being to my daughter?
- Why am I so entrepreneurial, driven and task focused?
- Why don’t I have the same passion for my family as I do my business, hobbies and interests?
- Should I be giving up my life until my daughter moves out and then pursue my interests?
- Or is it healthy to have my own passions in order to be a positive role model for my daughter?
- Is motherhood about doting on our children at their every whim?
- Or is it perfectly normal to have the push and pull of trying to keep our identity and individualism?
- Where is the balance between caring for our children but also caring for ourselves?
Sometimes I feel like I’m the wrong gender. My husband doesn’t get hassled for focusing more on his business than his family. But I constantly feel like I should be giving up everything for my family. It seems like I need to deny myself so my family can have a better life. I think of the image of a mom washing the dishes after dinner while she looks out the window at her family having fun outside.
Is that the image of motherhood? Is that what’s expected of me? Do I suppress my interests for the sake of my family to pursue theirs? It feels kinda twisted. Why is my husband free to enjoy his life…hockey, fishing, hunting…while I slave away at home? Why can’t I have interests, hobbies and passions of my own? How can I foster these qualities in me while still focusing on my family?
I think part of the problem I’m struggling with is my perception of motherhood. I compare my whole life (what I do and don’t do) to the 1 or 2 hours I see in someone else’s life. Their life may look perfect in the moment, but they too have imperfections. They may be super great at charity work, but perhaps their house looks like it was hit by a bomb or they are estranged from their husband. So then I’m left with: who sets these standards that I’m trying to live up to? The answer is ME! I’m lucky it’s me because it means I can change them. Whoo hoo! I can grant myself my own freedom.
While I focus on giving myself the freedom to be messy, imperfect and out of balance, I’m often reminded of this quote I found on Pinterest.
“I don’t want to look back on my life in twenty years and realize that I wasted the precious time I had with my children by living in a state of perpetual distraction” – Undivided Mom
I am forced to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m faced with the decision to let go of my own interests and desires for the benefit of my family’s. I’m left humbled knowing that what I think is important really isn’t that important after all. My goal is to be an undivided mom. I thought this would come naturally when I become a mother. Perhaps it does for some, but it doesn’t for me. A great place for me to start is to read Kayse Pratt’s book, “Undivided Mom.” I’m hoping it will loosen the grip of my guilt and help me to enjoy my family more.