There’s more to me than being a mom. Or at least, there used to be. I had a kick-ass job in which I got to travel the world and into dangerous countries. I have been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Oman, Russia, Colombia, and further afield. I’ve lived long periods of time in France and Germany. I speak French quite well. I know how to shoot guns and how to (basically) survive in the woods. (I wouldn’t really want to test those skills, but I’d like to think if the Zombie Apocalypse ever came upon us, I could kick ass and take names with the best of them.)
But I might have been the only person in my life who cared about those things. My new mom-centric world consisted of helping my son complete his 30 Day FREE Coding Challenge, getting snacks and more snacks for my daughter, teaching my youngest how to swim, separating and referee-ing arguments, monitoring screen time (and did I say getting snacks?) These somewhat mundane tasks, added to housework, meal prep, and so forth, left me with little time for me. For remembering who I was and exploring who I would or could still be.
A New Model: Me Too Parenting
So I tried something new. I took the ‘traditional’ model of parenting and said, “Screw it.” I developed my own method of “momming” that allowed me to be the kind of mom my kids needed, while striving to be the multi-dimensional woman that I needed to be. I found ways to be ME and be MOM. Sometimes with my kids, and sometimes without them.
Last summer I took my five-year-old daughter to France. My best friend lives there and I saved up every bit of money I could, bought our plane tickets, and the two of us went to France for 10 days.
It. Was. Epic.
I got to share my love of travel and France in particular—the language, the culture, and of course, my best friend and her daughter—with my daughter. She got to see real castles, meet friends of mine from when I studied in here, learned some new words in a new language, and tried new foods. It was the best week of our lives.
And we did it together. I got to show my daughter a different side of mommy and it was amazing. It made me more real to her and we got to experience a different piece of the world as mother and daughter. I got to show her what was meaningful to “me too” and she loved it.
My point is this: If you have been feeling cheated out of your own life by motherhood, you don’t have to. You just have to learn how to put more of you back into the equation. You have to learn to say “me too.”
That is NOT selfish. That is NOT being a bad mother. That is letting the multidimensional mama be the woman that she is and a better role model for her kids. In my case, it’s been freeing as an individual, but it has also helped me enjoy motherhood far more and be a way better mom to my kids.
What personal growth experiences have you had that you shared with your kids? And which ones do you wish you could?