I know, I know, I probably shouldn’t be writing this. But it needs to be said. There’s more to life than motherhood. Way more. Yes, being a mom is great, wonderful, precious, life-changing, and heart opening. But it’s not everything. This is something I have thought about for a while, but have been hesitant to write about. Afraid I wouldn’t be able to describe my thoughts succinctly, or cover all angles. However, I am going to try. Because I struggle with this too.
There’s More to Life than Motherhood
It seems like nowadays, women are so focused on being moms, but that’s it. And not just any moms, perfect moms. Trying to get it all “just right.” Creating healthy, organic, homemade foods, that correspond with regularly scheduled meal times. Providing enough social activity for children to develop, but not too much to cause stress, or overstimulation. Mothers must be loving, kind, caring, and compassionate, while also disciplinary, strong, and persistent. Being there for their children, while also providing space and independence.But really, who can do all this? God?
In addition to all these rules, the amount of motherhood advice that is doled out, and swallowed like candy, is crazy. It seems mothers don’t trust their own intuition, situations, or children, so they turn to others instead. Which is great, and provides feedback, advice, and support. But also demonstrates contrasts, comparing, and another source of division and dependence. Besides, don’t mothers have other things to be doing? Stop reading about how to be a mother, and just be one. Because, no mom out there really knows what she is doing anyways.
Motherhood Obsessed Culture
Truthfully, I don’t think there has been such a motherhood obsessed time, as there is now. Everyone is looking to be a better parent. To help their children develop faster, grow bigger, do more. Mothers are afraid of making mistakes, being imperfect, or not doing enough for their kids. Everyone wants to get it “right.” And no one wants to look like a “bad” mom.
But that’s exactly what I think mothers need to do. Stop trying to be so great. Make a bad meal, or let your child cry. Don’t give them what they want, but make them wait for things, or even earn them. Overstimulate your kids. And under stimulate them. No longer make your children your number one priority. All. Of. The. Time. Start being what society calls a “bad” mom. When in reality, it’s just called being a “mom.”
Because your kids need this. They need to know that they are not the center of the universe. That their thoughts, feelings and needs will not always come first. You’re showing them that love doesn’t mean getting what they want. When they want it. They’ll see their mom as a real human, with a real life. And when they grow up, they’ll know that they are only one piece, in a big puzzle. They are not the whole puzzle.
But mothers. You need this too. To know your life doesn’t need to revolve around your children. You have friends, hobbies, a career, and a husband that need your attention as well. Outside of motherhood, you still have a lot going on. Give yourself permission to focus on this other stuff. Accomplish some goals, take care of your health, start a new hobby. Do something besides just be a mom.
Finally, the world needs this. If every parent was only concerned about being a “great” or “perfect” parent. We wouldn’t have doctors, or teachers, or police officers. They would all be at home, trying to follow what society considers a “good” parent. But they don’t. They accept imperfection, and recognize that there is a much bigger picture at stake, than just their own little child or family. And they know that their kids are not the be all, or end all of this world. They are only part of it.
Of course, none of this means that our children are not important. We don’t stop loving, stop caring, or throw all of motherhood out the window. No! We find balance with it. Look at it this way:
Your life is like a box. If your main or sole focus, is being a mom, this is what your life will look like.
As you can see, it is pretty empty. Motherhood is the only thing in your life, as that is what has captured all of your time, attention, thoughts, effort, energy. And since there is nothing else to lean on, nothing else to contribute to your happiness, meaning, purpose, or growth. This puts a lot of pressure on you as a mom. But also on your children.
However, if you recognize that there’s more to life than motherhood, your box would consist of many other things. Which would release some of the pressure off you as a parent. But also off of your children, for not having to be the sole component of your life. (Plus it also gives you other things to talk about besides diapers & nap time).
Now this may be unexpected, or sound nonconformist. But since becoming a mother, I often look at myself, and other moms around me, wondering why are we all so obsessed with being mothers? It’s really not that big of a deal. Women have been doing it since the beginning of time, and their kids have developed just fine.
Even looking back to my own childhood, I see huge, vast differences, between parenting back then, and parenting now. Of course, I know they may not be comparable, as times have changed. We have more technology, more educational knowledge, and more experts in the field. But I think there are still many things to acknowledge. Good take aways from how mothers did motherhood back in the day, and what we can learn from it now.
- Still had their own lives
- Worked, or contributed to society in some way
- Hung out with friends
- Spent time with their husbands
- Were not afraid to leave their children with a babysitter, for a day, a night, a week
- Fed their children (that’s it, just provided some type of food)
- Let kids be kids
- Didn’t obsess about being “good” moms- just knew that they were
- Learned from their own lives and experiences
- Didn’t make their kids the center of the universe
- Were not afraid to discipline or punish their children
- 24/7 attention was not given
And the list could go on. I remember as a child, my parents were always doing things. Going out on dates, taking vacations, working. They were not afraid to leave us. But we still knew they loved us. Yet so many parents now, never leave their children. Afraid. But this hurts the children, more than the parents. So, have some trust, have some faith, and remember, there’s more to life than motherhood. Go find out what else there is, then come and let me know.