"Mom" Is Not an Identity

   If I had a quarter for every time I heard a woman answer the question, "What do you like to do for fun?" with "Well, I'm a Mom so...", I'd have enough quarters to create a tasteful mosaic of Gloria Steinem. The curses my mind supplies me with every time I hear a woman refer to herself as a "full-time mommy", would probably be enough to ban me from every PTA meeting I have no intention of ever attending. 

"Mom" is not an identity. When there are billions of people with the exact same label, it can not define you as something special.  Being a mother can make you feel special, but it does not make you unique in any way.  Motherhood should never be your defining characteristic.

Before you light your torches and call CPS, I am not saying that being a mother can't be part of your identity, because when you have children they certainly become a part of you. A piece of their soul latches on to yours and never relinquishes itself. However, if you only concentrate on the pieces that your children touch, you're afflicting your soul with a wide chasm of lost potential. Your partner in life may take another piece, but then what is left? What fills your soul that truly belongs to you and you alone? 

If you have no answer for that question, you have a lot of soul searching to do. You may feel lost a lot of the time. Lonely. Afraid. You aren't alone. 

Women all over the Earth have sacrificed their own happiness for what they believe to be the betterment of their children. But what are we teaching our children, especially our daughters, when we are constantly devaluing ourselves? How can they land among the stars if their biggest influence never even reaches for them? We need to show our children that we exist outside of motherhood. That we have hobbies, goals, dreams. There is nothing wrong with being the "supermom" who brings the snack to every softball game, volunteers for every school activity, and treats Pinterest like their own personal to-do list. But there is something very wrong with that same mother who can't answer the question, "Besides your family, what else enriches your life?"

As humans, we grow. Our children will grow up and they will leave. Hopefully they will visit, but at that point we will no longer be needed the way we were when they were young. You hear the stories all the time. Empty nest. Affair. Empty Nest. Divorce. Empty Nest. Depression. Empty Nest...

Don't wait until your children are out of the house to have a life. I know you're tired. You're probably grumpy and maybe even smell a little. It's okay. Your family can live without you for a few hours a week. They can, I promise. You can have something for yourself. Take a fun class at night. Start a book club and read through old classics. Start writing. Volunteer. Join one of those exercise or food cults that make you buff and slightly angry all the time. Learn to code. Knit. Start a blog- and not one about parenting. Here's the World's Largest List of Hobbies. Pick one. Pick seven. You'll be a better mother, a better partner, if you have something outside of your family that makes you happy. Don't confuse self-care for selfishness. 

So pick a hobby. Follow a dream. Reach for the stars. Your soul will thank you for it.