Letting Go Of The Mother I Was To Embrace The One I am
When I first shifted my career, I thought that would be the largest identity shift I would ever face. The term Mother Untitled emerged in that complicated, exciting departure from a formal work title that had been a source of pride, a benchmark on progress and a fair amount of identity. But that loss was pretty well compensated for by period of contentment and confidence and growth found in raising Bodie and becoming the best version of myself as a well-rounded mother. Hence, this site.
But that’s not what this is about today. It’s about the next identity shift that I’ve found much more rattling. One from being an entirely focused mother to one to one that’s doing more of a juggling act between two babies and a small business. It’s been a real reminder that nothing in life is static, including who we are.
The mother I was two and a half years ago had much more patience because a 6-month-old tests you very differently than a 3-year-old.
The mother I was two years ago was all there for my days with my son. My phone was rarely out if ever because I was consulting two days a week and had firm boundaries around work. Not so anymore though I get far more joy out of this space.
The mother I was even six months ago rarely contemplated TV as an option for a little down time because there was one kid and three hours of nap-time. Naps are a thing of the past ladies and gentlemen. Currently scribbling this piece while Bodie is “resting” with Daniel Tiger and Lyla is taking her afternoon nap.
The mother I was to a new baby was full of awe, devoted to learning with and about him and surrounding him with calm.
And in the last four months, I’ve mourned that mother. Until I realized I was pretty happy and my kids were pretty happy. And the only thing weighing us down was that past version which our family and I have just outgrown.
And if growth didn’t happen in this chapter, then this site and our Mother Untitled thesis wouldn’t exist - that thesis being that we and our life doesn’t come to a halt when we choose to focus on our children. This time unlocks more in us.
And that’s what those early years with one baby did for me - they taught me my capacity and desire to love and nurture, and they grew me as a creative and a woman. Oh and my first one grew up as did his ability to push and pull and I had a second which naturally divides your time, so obviously I’m at point B which is different from our starting point A.
And it’s certainly imperfect, and there are moments I wish I could be a consistent poster child of respectful parenting with Bodie, or staring into Lyla’s eyes instead of doing one-handed approvals for the site while rocking her.
But the resistance - in the form of sadness, stress and guilt - came from holding so fiercely onto a version of myself that just isn’t relevant to now. The last few weeks I’ve been reevaluating all the fullness in the new version.
The mother that can teach my children a bit more independence by encouraging and allowing more self-play (I wouldn’t say I was so good at that until I had to be now).
The mother that is learning more positive discipline techniques to make sure my kids grow up respectful and loved.
The mother that is comfortable asking for a bit more help so I can invest in myself and a community that serves me as a mother and a woman.
The mother that is ok being imperfect.
Who knows where I’ll be in one year or another three, but I’m open to whatever version is in store.
How about you - have you experienced resistance to change in yourself in motherhood or otherwise? Would love to hear. xo