For the past eight and a half years, my life has revolved around two little faces; most everything I do is for them. After all, I am Mommy.
The night I saw those two pink lines was one of the happiest of my life because getting married and having kids were my top two dreams in life. I used to sit in the basement of my house with pink cream soda in a plastic wine goblet and stuff a pillow under my shirt while watching episodes of my favorite (banned) TV show, Felicity.
The rest of the dream kind of fell to pieces when being a mom required more than sitting around all day holding babies and gushing over how cute they were. Who signed me up for these chores? What do you mean we have to eat and wear clean clothes? Stay at Home Mom and Housewife are synonymous; I just wish someone had told me that when I was younger.
I’m thankful we made the sacrifices for me to stay home, but I wasn’t excited about all the extra stuff that came with it: nurse or bottle feed? Cloth or store-bought diapers? Our bed or his crib? Every decision we made about how we were going to raise our kids was challenged on a regular basis and as a new mom, I doubted myself on every level. Insecurity set in real quickly with me and when our second son was born, postpartum hit me pretty hard. My life consisted of diapers (store bought), naps and being an advocate for my four year old who had been exposed to something he wasn’t old enough to deal with on his own. Mommy was all I could be; I completely gave up on trying to be anything else.
Very slowly I learned how to pull myself out of the pit I felt like had become my home. I was able to smile genuinely at people again, and when my oldest went off to school, I cried and missed him, but I was so excited to get to know my youngest, Josiah, in a brand new way. For the last three years he and I have gotten to hang out and snuggle and play and explore the world around us.
Now he is five years old and kindergarten is staring me in the face and I’m also struck with the reality that I’m about to enter a brand new phase of life. My childhood dreams pretty much stopped at the baby part; all I wanted was to be Mommy. Now I will have six hours a day, Monday-Friday, to myself and I wonder just what the heck am I going to do?
“Well, Julie, what do you like to do?”
Wait. Who is Julie? Oh right. That’s me . . . isn’t it?
Suddenly I’m realizing that I’m not quite sure who I am anymore outside of the Mommy role. I didn’t plan beyond that dream, and like I said, the dream paled in comparison to the reality. I am not the same woman I was when I saw that positive pregnancy test for the first time. I am forever changed.
The published novel and the ones that are waiting to be published, those are extra, things I never dreamed about doing but now can’t imagine not doing. But aside from that, what is there? Facebook? Pinterest? Sure I could lose hours there, but who wants to look back and say, “Hey, I knew what everyone was making for dinner every night of the week . . .” or “Man, I pinned a ton of awesome design ideas that I’ll never be able to mimic.”
This is a phase of life that I feel completely unprepared to walk into. I am Mommy. That’s who I am. It’s what I do. But here I am about to have time to actually stare at the woman in the mirror, ask her who she is and what she likes to do, and to be honest, I’m a little nervous about her answers. But there is no one else in that mirror but me, and it’s time to rediscover who that is.