I never pictured myself being a mom, when I was a young girl. I didn’t think about being one when I was a teenager or even as a young adult in my twenties. I didn’t even know if I wanted to be one when I got married. Being a mom just wasn’t anything I considered, although I knew at some point I would have to figure it out.
The first time I held a baby, the poor thing cried because I was so nervous. It’s not that I didn’t like kids, in fact I loved them. I babysat, was a camp counselor, and spent a lot of time with my niece who was my favorite kid.
But fortunately being a mom got to be a conscious decision, for me. I knew it meant giving up a lot of who I was and the life I was accustomed to. I knew being a mom meant sleepless nights and lifelong commitment to people I didn’t yet know. Then one day, having children became something I wanted more than anything and I’ve never looked back. I LOVE being a mom. It’s fun, exciting, fulfilling, demanding and rewarding. In addition to loving and absolutely adoring them, I really LIKE my kids and I think they LIKE me, as well.
But when I was a younger mom, I forgot one major thing. Me. I was so caught up in the diapers, sleepless nights, and juggling new motherhood, family, and career, I completely and totally lost sight of myself. It’s a common phenomenon and every mom I’ve ever talked to experiences the same thing. After nearly a decade, I’m learning that being Mom doesn’t mean I have to cease being ‘Jen.’ Finally discovering that, makes me unbelievably happy. It’s not that I am not completely in love with my two crazy, beautiful children. But I also want to love and be proud of myself, too.
I’ve been able to find a way to do that through a love and passion, temporarily forgotten. Writing.
Writing has helped me in every aspect of my life, as I feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that I’ve been missing. It’s not that career, family, and motherhood haven’t been enough for me. They’ve been more than enough and to have all of those things in my life make me feel incredibly fortunate and blessed. But from a young age, I was always a writer. And getting to write again, has made having a career, family, and being a mother tremendously sweeter. It has opened my eyes to just how beautiful and fulfilling my life is, and it has made everything better.
While being Mom is without question, the most important role I have ever lived, getting to be ‘Jen the writer’ is a wonderful role as well. As a parent, we put themselves on the back burner, often forgetting ourselves completely. Whether it’s writing, crafting, an hour at the salon, a visit to a coffee shop, or a night out with girlfriends, it’s important we remember who we are and what makes us happy. It means we get to be more content for our children and ultimately, makes us better parents.
I’ve come to the realization that one of the greatest gifts I can give my children, is Me. I’m their protector, encourager, motivator, and teacher. But I’m also the person to teach them that following your path in life means being true to yourself. And even though I have boys, I’m hoping this lesson will sink in when they are fathers or they need to support and encourage their overwhelmed wives.
My life has nearly come full circle from a place I wasn’t happy to be in-a few years ago, to a place I am ecstatic to be in-now. I have everything I love; job, family, life, and my writing. I give myself permission to write and shut out the world, when I want to or even sometimes need to. Not because it’s something I’m able to ‘do’, but because it’s who I am; a dreamer and a story teller. Writing takes me back to my childhood where I was enthralled with myths and fairy tales. It thrills my imagination, excites my soul, and awakens my spirit. It’s the miracle of creating something from nothing, and blending creativity with tenacity, which is ironically how I’ve always regarded motherhood. And through it all, I realize the two go hand in hand.
Now I know now how amazing my life is, being Mom.