I feel lucky that I can stay at home with my kids, but it comes with a price. My husband works very long hours during the week. We rarely have two days a week where he’s able to have dinner with us. Most nights, he’s home after the kids are in bed and asleep. This leaves me with a lot of time alone without adult interaction.
I recently realized that while I’m lucky to have this time with my children, it doesn’t completely fulfill me. I want more. Being a mom is not enough.
The minute that thought came into my head, I felt enormous guilt. When I told my husband, I felt the need to immediately explain myself over and over, so I didn’t sound like a horrible mother and person. The mom guilt is real. Then I started to think about why. Why all of a sudden did I not feel fulfilled? Why did I no longer feel like I was a contributing member of society?
Most importantly, why did I feel so guilty for wanting something more for myself?
It’s Ok To Want More
Have you heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup“? It means you can’t give to people when you have nothing to give. That’s what I feel like I’ve been doing. To give my family the wife and mom they deserve, I need to do something that fills my cup.
Yes, I love that I get to get my kids off the bus and be the first one to ask them how their day was, but I also need something that challenges me and makes me feel like I’m contributing to this world in some way. Yes, you can read that and say, “raising kids is a contribution,” but that’s not all I want to contribute.
After a lot of soul searching, I’ve realized that it’s ok to admit that. It’s ok to say that being “just” a mom is not enough for me. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids. It means I love them enough to realize I’m not the best mom I can be to them right now. To be the best mom I can be, I have to find something separate from them that fulfills me.
Being More Than A Mom
Once I realized I needed something other than being a mom to feel fulfilled, the hard part was deciding what that was. I knew it had to do with health and fitness, as that’s a passion of mine. Figuring out where to start was the hard part. After a few weeks of thinking and researching online, I found something perfect for me.
So now my kids aren’t the only ones going to school – so am I!
I’m taking classes online from a local community college to earn a Health Career Services certificate, after which I’d like to go for my Masters in Exercise Science. This, for me, is so exciting because I love learning. If I could learn as a profession, I would. It’s going to challenge me, but more importantly, it will give me something that’s mine. Something to discuss with my husband other than soccer schedules and potty accidents. It’s also all online, so I don’t have to take time away from my children or miss a class because there is a snow day or one of them is sick.
For the first time in a long time, I’m excited about something that’s just for me.
Make Peace With Your Feelings
The one thing I can say to all moms is that your feelings are yours alone, and you have a right to them.
You don’t have to feel guilty if you want more than changing diapers and play dates. If you want something more, then go for it! Find something that you’re passionate about. Something that you loved before children. Or something you grew to love once you had children. Make that your own. You still love your children more than anything, even if you don’t want to spend every waking minute with them. You’re still an amazing mom, even if you take time for yourself. Don’t let anyone (especially yourself) tell you otherwise!