Wednesday, 29 June 2011

What About ME?

June  2011

Does this sound selfish? I only have the one child, and she is only just over twelve months old, and I am already thinking 'What About Me?'... How am I going to feel when we have number 3 (God-willing)? When can I start expecting to feel like 'me' again?

This is not going to be a whinge post... rather an explore / think aloud / ask advice post. I have never been here before; and I am not sure what to expect, what others think or how they have dealt with this.

What I do know, however, is that if I lose myself in my children - then ultimately they lose their Mother, and my husband loses his wife... I don't want that, I don't want to be a martyr. I also don't want my family to be victims of my selfishness... so I'm hoping to find the balance somehow.

But finding the balance, well - this actually means finding 'ME' in the first place, and I am not sure if I ever did. Funny thing is - there have been times when I have 'known' me well, but other times when life has caused circumstances around me and within me to change; and I get lost for a time.

Marriage was one of those times - it has taken a while to really understand the 'me' and 'us' within marriage, especially when you have a choleric husband like I do! He has very strong opinions / views / beliefs, he knows what he wants out of life and how to go get it. He kind of left me behind there for a while, but I'm slowly starting to catch up... But for a while, I really thought 'us' was me - so easy to get confused, especially as newly-weds, when you want to do everything together anyway. It meant for a long time - we did everything his way, as I thought that was also my way... don't get me wrong, Mr. C didn't cause this and didn't make the situation into what it became. He has always encouraged me to reach out and follow MY dreams, pushed me to try new things (such as running *grin*), and offered me the space to be myself... but if you don't know who you are, how can you use those opportunities.

I am/was also aware that I would probably face this conundrum again when I became a Mother, as to begin with - everything HAS to be about the baby... but now she is getting older, how do I start separating myself from her to become me again? Being a Mum changes you, changes EVERYTHING - which means, that I now have to somehow include this new aspect of my life into me. So once more, there requires a figurative metamorphosis ... (haha, so wanted to use that word today); a creation of a new me.

So how did you do it? How did you include aspects of your old life, into your new life? What did you keep, and what did you purposefully chose to throw away? What new interests did you pick up once the children came along? I know one of my friends has used her old interests and skills in a new passion - she is working for 'MOPS' (Mothers of Preschoolers) at a national level, as their accountant (amoungst other things *grin*); old interests and skills with the accounting aspect, but new passion for MOPS once the children came along. Perfect - for her anyway...

One of my over-riding passions that has always been a part of me no matter where I have been in this journey - has been writing, sometimes it has been more dormant than other times, but it has always been there... Always keeping me sane, my feet grounded - helping me to at least lay claim to some part of me; my history. This blog has been a bit of a life-saver, and I am hoping that as Button gets older; I'll have more interesting posts / topics to discuss (although not so much time, as she starts to sleep less *grin*)!!

But what else? I really have had nothing else 'follow' me through thick and thin... writing is it, but there is so much more to life than writing; isn't there?

Maybe I need to explore this more? What avenues are out there that I can use my writing for? How much time can I realistically allocate to writing at this stage of my life? How can I improve this skill (because it is going to require a LOT of improving if I am to take it outside this blog)? What parts of writing am I passionate about - poetry, short stories, blogging, article-writing? If I am serious about writing the next 'great novel', then what am I doing about this? Is this all just unrealistic dreams? Is this a God-given gift, or was I just forced into this as a child to cope with some difficult circumstances? If this is a God-given gift, then what am I doing with it? Because right now - if it is one of those talents I have been given, I will be judged very harshly... I hide it, I don't use it to encourage or help others ever. What am I afraid of?

Outside of writing - what does my life exist of?

Talking of life though... Button has woken up, so I need to go now!  

Just some food for thought!
Elizabeth

4 comments :

MaxineD said...

Sometimes giving yourself to others (family) can be hard, and other times exhilarating and sometimes it's just plain life and you have to do it.

Be patient with yourself time at this point as Button, and any others, need you, and you do grow during this period and sometimes you find unexpected things that are fulfilling.

Motherhood is way beyond writing in your 'accountability to God' priorities, especially when they are very young, so enjoy the moment and write when you can, but don't stress!!

Blessings
M

Aynsley said...

I anticipate that once Little Miss arrives my crafting and especially dressmaking will shift in focus from me to her. As she grows I hope that see will see how much pleasure I get from being creative and that she will also find a pursuit that she enjoys. I will still attend my sewing night class as i see that as my "me time". My other half has his interests and won't be giving up his ambulance volunteering time - it makes him who he is as a person and our daughter will be all the richer for seeing her Dad give his time back to our community.

Sarah said...

Time to find yourself a KiwiMums Group me thinks! This is exactly one of the topics that we discuss each year because so many mums feel this way and each of us takes a different path.

Anonymous said...

I have done a bit of thinking around how not to loose myself in motherhood because it is an all encompassing 24 hours a day vocation especially in the early years. As more children are added it only gets busier (but perhaps more fun!?). 

As a society we tend to define ourselves by what we do. That would make me a highly qualified cleaner, laundry maid and sewerage treatment officer with a small bit of distracting small children, training of life skills and values and maybe personal development for a later career in UN negotiation between opposing factions thrown in!

On a day to day basis there is very little of the pre children me expressed in the things that I do. However, if I look at my core values and some of the attributes that I had as a child, teenager and adult I am still very much me. For example, I enjoy learning, I must have read nearly every book on parenting skills, baby routines, etc. I don't recommend this as necessary in any way but it works for me, I like to be informed! (laughing at myself here! I was like this professionally too). I enjoy being creative too. I am doing entirely different things than I used to do but it suits my stage of life. For a while I was frustrated that I only made things for the children but then I realized that this is my chance to make things for little people. The opportunity to make things for MY little people will never come again, chances are I will have plenty of time later on to make things for myself. Also I have the added advantage that their things are smaller and more likely to be completed!

Some things my husband and I thought we would never give up we have. We never thought we wouldn't be part of a home group but it just didn't work for us. However, my relationship with God is important to me and I have explored other ways of expressing that and getting to know God that I possibly never would have tried had I not been bereft of the nurturing of a small group. 

Perhaps you may have time in your life that you are unable to write and that is fine. You will explore your creativity that you express with words in other ways. you will make up silly rhymes for your kids, you make them books about things they have done, you will play with words in your head, you will probably do things you haven't even thought of doing yet! And what's more, you will discover that you are even more you by doing so. What's more, writing won't we the only part of you that is still there. Have fun enjoying the other facets of you that you bring to your current role!

P.S. I think you write really well!