I shared some of these thoughts with a friend earlier and thought I would turn it into a blog post. I am afraid that I may have allowed myself to become TOO defined by motherhood. I am reading this book on my Kindle: The Rules to Raise Happy, Healthy Children and realized I’m kind of breaking Rule 10 which pretty much says to make sure you keep nurturing the things that make you a person/have nothing to do with parenting. This is good for the kids because the pressure to perform can become overwhelming if they realize that your personal success is entirely dependent on how they turn out! The book gives examples such as having a career your passionate about (not AT ALL), taking a vacation once a year without your kids (I have NEVER been on a kidless vacation), or doing some other hobby regularly. It says “otherwise, when the kids finally leave home after 18 years, you won’t know what to do with yourself.” That last part is SO TRUE!!! My kids have been going away to camp every summer for the past 3 years for 2 weeks at a time, and I don’t know what to do with myself while they’re gone! This last year I actually got pretty depressed while they were away and found myself just wanting to sleep, like if I just slept the time they were gone would go by more quickly?!?! Sure, I am involved a little bit with politics, but even that has dwindled lately as I find myself feeling more and more guilty every time I go do something without them now that they are no longer spending weekends with their dad. When they were it was a little bit easier, I had a life and let my hair down pretty much every-other weekend while they were away.
I think the problem has multiple things feeding into it.
#1 Mother’s Guilt; I feel bad and like I’m taking something away from them when I do things that don’t involve them! But, as they become teenagers hopefully they start hanging out with their friends more and becoming involved in things that don’t involve me – so that isn’t a good excuse!
#2 I have been a mother almost my entire adult life. I didn’t really develop solid ADULT friendships or hobbies prior to becoming a mom – when I was a teenager my friends weren’t healthy and neither were my hobbies, so I guess I need to get over that hurtle and just start trying new things NOW and figure out what I’m good at and enjoy. Quit acting like it is too late for me to start really living!
#3 My friends don’t share my interests. I don’t really have friends who seem to like to do the things I like to do. Most of the things I like to do and find fun are things that the majority of my friends have little or no interest in. When I’ve invited friends to things before they have either declined or not responded at all! My kids will try and do almost anything so they are the ones I tend to do the most with! My twin sister actually gave me a good suggestion, to join this site called Meetup. I have and have joined several different interest groups on there (a hiking club, a humanist group, an adventure seekers group, I should start group just for going to Hip-hop shows!!! lol). It feels kind of weird, like “I’m a loser and don’ t have any friends, so I have to join a group to find people to do things with.” But, oh well. I go to my first Meetup, which is a 5-mile hike followed by ice cream, this coming Sunday!
#4 I’m BROKE!!! My last excuse, which I’ll probably run into with some of the activities I’m seeing on Meetup is that I’m almost always broke, so that French class or writing circle I want to join that costs $35 or $50, that $100 weekend getaway, I can’t ever really justify. Heck, right now I can’t even afford a haircut to keep my hairstyle up! Also, I don’t have anyone who can take the girls if I wanted to go on a kidless adventure for multiple days! Like if I left for a Thursday – Sunday retreat of some kind during the school year, where would they hang out on Thursday/Friday that they could still get to school? I don’t have any friends who live where they could still get to school without being a big hassle! I don’t have an extensive support structure within the city.
So, there you have it. I better figure something out because both of my girls are ambitious, they both have goals, they both intend to go away for college and have even talked about potentially doing some of their college abroad or joining the Peace Corp – which means I have 8 years left to establish a life outside of motherhood or else I will completely fall apart and be lost when they leave the me!!!!!!!
- The Things Unwritten and Unsaid (scarymommy.com)