“They Should’ve Warned Me” and “So Glad They Told Me” moms, I think it’s real sweet how you are so wrapped up in your identity as “Mom.” But one day, your kids will grow up and you will wonder where you lost yourself along the way.
There have been some truly heartwarming and touching blog posts written recently about what it means to be a mom. “They Should’ve Warned Me” is all about how the author was warned about what was coming next, but she was totally unprepared for the overwhelming love and joy she would feel as a parent. At the other end of the spectrum, we have “I’m Glad They Warned Me,” where this author speaks about the importance of moms sharing their truths and experiences, and how being honest about the scary and negative parts of motherhood can help other women. Both these writers have valid points and good for them for sharing them with the rest of the world. But I’m here to warn both of them. Part of me can’t help being totally amused by how important both these women feel their views and emotions and opinions and roles of mom are — because in a few years no one is going to give a shit.
Now don’t get me wrong moms, yes, your job as Mom is very important and one of the ‘most important jobs a woman can do’ and you will always love and treasure being a mom and blah blah blah. Here’s your Hallmark card and your dozen pink carnations and your cup of lukewarm tea. Put your feet up and enjoy your kids growing old and getting jobs and having families of their own and you sitting alone and getting the privilege of being a babysitting grandma on occasion. No one cares about your views on co-sleeping or diapering or vaccinating or whether or not you were a damn activist or formula feeder when your babies were little, least of all your daughter and son-in-law or daughter-in-law and son who now all have kids of their own. Do you know what happens to women with grandchildren who spout their views on motherhood? They get eye rolls.
Is that who you want to be? The boring old lady who people roll their eyes at?
It’s all fine and good you have such passionate feelings about motherhood now but you best remind yourself in a few short years these kids you are so enraptured with will grow up and get on.
And this is a good thing.
Now listen, yes, your kids when they start having kids of their own will want your help and opinions and views on being a mom. They will ask for advice and for your sugar cookie recipe and to borrow money. You and your views on parenting will not be forgotten. I’m sure being a grandma is one of the most fulfilling roles there is. All the old ladies I know seem to really get into it. I myself am looking forward to it.
But to you “They Should Have Warned Me” and “I’m Glad They Warned Me” moms, I’m here to give you another warning:
You are not your children.
You are your own person, with your own feelings, needs and yes, interests.
One day your kids will grow up and you will no longer be so totally consumed by all these things, the overwhelming love you felt while holding your newborn, how hard it was when your babies were sick, how lonely you felt in those first few days of motherhood.
You will still adore and love your kids and you will listen to them complain about midterms and help them pick out a prom dress and put away money for college and you will start to remember that yeah, you are a human too, and there is more to you than being a mom. I’m here to warn you for every overwhelming joyous moment you have as a mom, there is also joy in your kids getting older and no longer needing you to hold their pudgy little hand as they cross the street. There is joy in getting to sleep in on Sundays without cereal to pour or the sound of cartoons blaring from downstairs. There is joy in reading a book without being interrupted, with serving dinners where no one complains about eating broccoli, with spending alone adult time with your partner and not worrying about some kid banging on the door. I’m here to warn you that you will be able to go to Target and not leave the store with a toy in your cart. I’m here to warn you that you will one day make friends and not care if your kids are the same age or even if these people have kids. I’m here to warn you that there won’t be a glass left on the counter, or a Lego to step on, or anyone to bathe or potty train or spoon feed or rock to sleep.
I’m here to warn you that there will just be you, Mom.
And yes, you will be surrounded by family and friends and your children but most of all it will be you.
I’m here to warn you that it’s OK to be something other than Mom.