Before I was a mom I was a me.
Spontaneous but responsible.
Wine and whiskey sours.
Spending Fridays in tents and Saturdays in bed.
Making handmade gifts and buying bras.
Waitressing and selling gelato. Skipping university graduation to drive across the country.
Learning to trim hooves and painting my own.
Curling and skating and late nights and lattes.
Finding my own way.
Before I was a mom I did these things.
And now I reflect. Now I rediscover.
On Mondays and Wednesdays my children are cared for by people who care about them and on Mondays and Wednesdays I smile and nod when people talk about their own children.
Sometimes I chime in that I’m a member of the club too, but more often than not, on Mondays and Wednesdays I keep that secret to myself.
Because I can. Because on Mondays and Wednesdays I’m a me again.
And I don’t have to feel guilty about it.
When I first returned to work after Wren was born, I found myself an amazing group of women to counsel with. The wisest of them spoke words I’ll never forget about why women wrestle with the idea of returning to work.
And it’s not just about the guilt of leaving our children behind.
It’s because we have to find our ‘me’ again and society tells us we should have mixed feelings about that.
Society tells us we should always put our children first, and the return to work contradicts that.
The challenge in being a mom and a me, sweet Sarah said, was that “You’re not who you were and you’re not who you’re going to be.”
And when she said that to me then, I choked back the welling of feelings finding themselves in a lump in my throat.
The lump held feelings of sadness and selfishness and sorrow and deceit.
But as I’ve thought about that statement this time around, I’m relieved to find another meaning. A liberating meaning and an exciting challenge.
Because today I’m allowing myself the opportunity to actively seek out that missing person that I used to be. I’m committing to finding my me.
And not only am I actively seeking out the old me, but I’m allowed the space to add to her. To make her fuller and more whole and more substantial.
To make her a healthier version of her old self, in the sense that she’s gained perspective and experience and happiness through the birth of her children, on top of her own personal achievements.
With and alongside her own personal satisfactions.
This week and next week and every week after that, I am allowed the opportunity to be the mom and the me, if only I choose to make the space for it.
There is room for diapers on Thursdays and dances in my office on Mondays.
There is room for tantrums on Tuesdays and solo walks to work on Wednesdays.
There is room for both.
I am a mom, but I am also a me.
And I don’t feel guilty about it.