I have a history of being forgotten, standard middle child syndrome, but it’s interesting how it has carried into adulthood. Once I married Yev, many people didn’t recognize me without my giant Russian husband, and once I had the twins, most people have a hard time remembering me without them.
This happened to me most recently at yoga, when I showed up kid free and ran into one of the childcare helpers in the bathroom. I greeted her, and she smiled back, “Hi Jacque! I almost didn’t recognize you without the girls.” This got me thinking. Who am I outside of my twins? Who am I as a human? I can’t be who I was before, but I wouldn’t want to be her either. I just wanted to know who I was outside of my identity as a wife and mother.
These questions spun in my head during class. Who am I now that I am no longer who I was? I didn’t have any answers when I left yoga, but I felt a lot more peace about it. And I spent the next few days thinking about what defined me, outside of my skills as a homemaker.
Sometimes we lose ourselves in our roles as wife and mother, especially for us stay at home moms. I find I am often searching for a little morsel that is mine. Something, anything, that I don’t have to share. It could be a nugget of information, a piece of dark chocolate, or just a shower at the end of the night. I find mothers tend to give everything away, if they’re not careful to set boundaries.
I am consistently asked to give up everything: the food on my plate, the water in my hand, the socks on my feet, the clip in my hair. My girls want everything because they want to feel connected with me; they look up to me. And whatever is left over at the end of the night goes to my husband. But what is left for me? What part of myself do I get to keep just for myself?
This is a continuous struggle for balance to make sure I’m meeting the needs of my family but also squeezing out a few minutes for myself here and there. Ladies, I encourage you to grasp on to these minutes with a firm grip and refuse to relinquish them. We need something for ourselves. Yev and I take turns taking a break, and I am so blessed to have a partner who supports my self-care. Even with this, it can be difficult to carve out time for ourselves.
I realized that although I’m pretty good at engaging in self-care, I was struggling to establish an identity separate from my role as a wife and mother, since becoming a stay at home mom. I made time for myself, but I had fewer opportunities to find the purpose and fulfillment that made up my inner self. Starting my blog has changed everything. It has offered me precious time for introspection, communication, and professional growth, and I don’t have to miss out on my children’s development. Am I tired? Absolutely exhausted, but I am very happy to trade sleep for a good, healthy, fulfilling challenge that enables me to be more than Mom.