Sunday, March 17, 2013

No Apologies for the "Non-Mom" Part of Me

What happens to me after I become a mother?
Last week, I wrote a post in response to a reader's comment about how I find time to blog with toddler quadruplets. I'll admit, I was very taken aback when I initially read the comment. I mulled it over for a couple of days and looked at the comment from every angle I could come up with. Eventually, I decided that there was a whole other layer to the question that would have been easy to miss at first.

Or maybe it was just a straight question and I'm reading into it. Either way, I'm going to run with my thoughts anyway because I feel like it's important.

The comment was (slightly paraphrased), "I would think that you would have better things to do being a quad mom than to sit on the internet and run a blog." I addressed how I fit blogging into my routine in the previous post, but I think there is something bigger here than simply breaking down when I fit blogging into my day.

I blog mainly for myself. It's a stress reliever and how I relax. If I don't get stuff out on paper, then it builds up inside and may not be too pretty in the end.

I won't apologize for making time for me.

One of my biggest fears when I found out that we had quadruplets on the way was completely losing my identity in my children. I was Rebecca before kids, and I'm still Rebecca today. God made me with certain talents, ticks, character qualities, and areas where I struggle. I'm unique and specially created just like every other human being. Having kids doesn't change that, it only amplifies it.

Here is the truth about me. I am a Type A personality. I like things a certain way. I see issues in black and white. I don't like change. I am not a patient person although having kids has been magical in teaching me to slow down. I have a desire to help my family financially as much as possible by either saving money or bringing in a small amount of income. I have to take a nap at least every other day during this toddler period or I get very, very cranky.  I write because I need to to maintain my sanity.

Motherhood requires so much sacrifice. It requires putting others constantly ahead of ourselves. It means sleepless nights, being thrown up on, and not getting to eat warm dinners because everyone else needs something. But motherhood does not require complete and utter martyrdom to the point where there is nothing left of us when the kids are grown and gone. 

Listen, sweet friends, there is nothing wrong with still growing and enjoying things that you did prior to being a mom. In fact, you might find that taking a moment for yourself will actually make you a better mom. It makes me a better mom because I've had a chance to decompress doing something that I enjoy. Yes, certain things have to be rearranged or given up when motherhood enters the pictures, but I challenge you not to give yourself up and forget who God made you to be!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you agree or disagree with the idea that we can still maintain part of ourselves while answering the call of motherhood?

32 comments:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts. I have a toddler myself and at times, I need sometime to myself to recharge. For my recharge, I tend to run errands or shop by myself. I do feel better afterwards and able to handle to be a better mother afterwards.

    As my neighbor and I were joking today, once you have kids, you are referred to by others when yor kids are around as Kid's name's Mom or Dad, no longer your own name.

    Personally, I love to read how the quads are doing, especially after their early delivery and the scares they had early in life. I think it is such a blessing they are doing as great as they are!! I'm sure finances changed drastically with their arrival and if you can do something that you love, that allows you to recharge, and brings in extra money, more power to you and your family!! :)

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    1. Aw, thanks for the super supportive works, Michelle! I think "recharging" looks different for each mom, and it's in our best interest to find out what that looks like for us personally. I'm glad that you know what you need to do to get a break. Way to go!

      And thanks for reading about and cheering us on! Comments like yours give my "recharge" an extra "boost!"

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  2. I 100% agree. Taking time to do what I enjoy, nurture friendships, and sometimes running errands alone are all things I do for myself.

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    1. I'm glad you know what your recharge is! It sounds like you have some great ones!

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  3. I agree with you completely! You are going to be so very busy for the next many years. It is a blessing that you have the wisdom already to know that you need to take care of yourself along the way to be the great mom you are. And it is a blessing to all of us to be able to share in your adventure through your writing. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for always commenting and encouraging me, Tina! It is SO appreciated, especially on days that are a heavy load.

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  4. I couldn't agree more !! you are very inspiring.

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    1. Thank you! I'm blessed enough to have some awesome ladies as my inspiration!

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  5. You are mature beyond your years, Rebecca! As one who continues to have a life after the children are moved out, I can tell you that the non-mom part of your life is VERY important to cultivate and care for... resting, refreshing, learning, and developing makes you a richer, deeper, stronger person... and a better wife for your husband and a better mom for your little ones... as well as better friend, mentor, discipler, etc... no apologies are needed for that!

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    1. Yay! It's so nice to hear that from someone who is living life after the kids have moved out! Thank you for leaving a comment! :)

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  6. Amen and well-written! I've faced the same question (accusation?) and answered it much the same way. Funny, no one faults a mom who watches TV four hours a night. And I don't either--we all need to relax--but my "relaxation" is writing.

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    1. Writing can be very therapeutic for a lot of people, but then I also have a lot of friends who would consider it work. I hope every mom learns to give herself permission to recharge...no matter what that looks like. (I personally like to blog with the TV on in the background, so I guess I do both!)

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  7. Absolutely! I have three kids, 10, 3, and 2 years old. The one thing I have forced myself to stop doing is feel bad to get out of the house. So what if my husband is serving dinner by himself? If my mom offered to watch the kids, why not let her? I don't have to apologize anymore for taking time for me. Actually, no one else expects me to anyway, I put that on myself. The more I take care of myself, the better mom and wife I am for my family!

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    1. My husband is always telling me not to feel guilt about relaxing a bit. I'm an over-apologize-r, and I know it drives him nuts! I'm glad you have a supportive husband and mom! That can make all the difference when it comes to sanity!

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  8. Rebecca...your relaxing/down time just happens to be visible to many. Would anyone question a mom's down time if it involved a long hot soak in a bath? No, because that's what we all can relate to as "relaxing." Your relaxing time is not what most of us would choose or enjoy. BUT, we would all benefit from your type of down time, cuz then we would have so many memories to look back on and cherish when the harried years have past. You, Sean and the children are so blessed that you will all benefit from your "down time" in many years. Some may look at anothers choice of down time and think..."wow, what a waste!!!" We all need to respect what each Mom chooses as their form of having their own cup filled back up so they've got something to keep giving out.

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    1. Well said! I do have friends who don't get why writing is relaxing, but they have their own methods of letting their hair down. I think it's awesome when a mom is confident enough to take some time for herself!

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  9. I believe that not doing these things - whatever is your favorite use of time - creates resentment, not just for you potentially (resenting your family), but your family can wind up resenting the mom for the guilt that "martyr moms" pour on their kids by spending every moment "sacrificing" for their families.

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    1. Definitely! I think heaping guilt on a child's head because they have become an inconvenience can definitely cause more long-term damage than just taking a few minutes to recharge. Every mom is different, and as long as the kids can't get in trouble or hurt, they should give themselves permission to kick back for a minute. Well said, Kristina!

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  10. I could not agree more with your first response to the question and now this one. I blog for pretty much the same reasons as you, but most of all I LOVE writing and sharing our story as a testament of God's love for us. I really would like to write a book but seeing that my schedule is pretty busy and don't ever seem to find a spare moment for that. I do make sure to snag the occasional nap and always take a hot shower at the end of the day because "me" time no matter how great or small matters. I like you am totally Type A too (I think that is a common thread with quad mamas) and it's hard for me to slow down, but that's me being me.

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    1. Sounds like we are pretty similar in our reasons why we write and how we relax. I can't imagine NOT documenting our lives and God's faithfulness for future generations (can you imagine our grandkids reading what we are writing??).

      And may I just say...nap rock! :)

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  11. I definitely agree, and I think this same outlook applies to marriage as well. Too many parents put their marriage last and the kids first. I can't tell you how many parents I have seen give their kid 110% but their spouse nothing :(

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    1. Sadness. I've seen that too, and it breaks my heart. The whole family structure starts to suffer if mom and dad are stable. Marriage definitely needs to be the primary relationship!

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  12. You should NEVER apologize for taking time for you. I've played tennis for years every Tuesday and it takes a tragedy for me to miss. My opinion is that if Mama's not happy (and healthy) then no one else is.

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    1. See, now your version of recharging would NOT be my version of recharging. I try not to move more than I have to (thanks, kids!). But I love that there are so many different types of recharging out there! I hope the snow melts quickly enough that you can play on Tuesday!

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  13. I agree 100% because this is so true.

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  14. Absolutely agree! I'm a mom to (just one!) toddler, and it's awesome and hard all at the same time. I'm a better mom when I take time for myself to refresh and recharge and still be *me*.

    Great post!

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    1. All moms (of any number of children!) need to recharge. I'm glad that you've made time for that!

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