I refuse to make my children the center of my world, and you should do the same.
First, a caveat. When your children are young, they are absolutely the center of your world. It has to be that way. They can’t take care of themselves. They depend on you for everything. This particular message is for the mommas whose kiddos are a little bit older. The kids who can dress themselves and brush their own teeth. Who can grab their own snacks and make their own PB&J. When they’re babies, they are the center of your world, and it’s supposed to be that way.
But, when did it become the thing for mothers to focus all of their time and energy on their children? Did we sign some contract when they were born that said we agreed to lose ourselves entirely in the identity of “mother?” I see so many of my friends, amazing moms, who have no identity outside of their kids. Moms whose days and nights are filled to the brim with PTA and baseball and gymnastics and swim team, and debate club, and band practice and and and and.
“I live for my kids.” And, “My kids are my whole world.” And, “Being a mom is the most fulfilling thing in my life.” Wait. What? Why? No. That’s not how it’s supposed to be, y’all. What kind of shit is that?
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom. My kids light me up. They really do. But they are absolutely not the center of my world.
I was a person before I was a mom. I was a woman with a life and a career and an education long before my children came into this world. And while, for a little bit, I lost my identity to the overwhelming job of motherhood, when I realized I was slipping away, I fought like hell to get ME back.
Here’s the reality, mommas. And it’s not necessarily an easy reality to swallow, but reality it is. Your children will grow up and move away. That’s what they do. It’s literally what raising someone is about. So, what happens after they step into their own lives? What happens, to you, once the job of raising your kids into adulthood is over? Especially if you have focused on nothing but them for the last 20 years.
I’ll tell you what happens. You wake up one morning and realize that you missed out on 20 years of YOUR life. Yes. I said it. YOUR. LIFE. Not their life. Your life. The life that you were living before they were born, and the life that you have to pick back up after they leave.
And yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking. “But my kids are my life, so I didn’t miss out on anything…” Except, you did. And not only did you miss out on living your life, the pressure you put on your kids by making them the center of your universe was unhealthy and, honestly, unfair.
Yeah. I said it. Making someone, whether it’s your spouse or your kids, the absolute center of your world puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on them. Because when they are the focus of your life, you’re happiness hinges on them instead of yourself. And that is not healthy.
We talk about it in the relationship sphere all the time. There are literally millions of articles on the internet that talk about why making your partner the center of your universe is not only unhealthy for you but unhealthy for them as well. Relying on someone else for your joy, your happiness, your peace of mind is the fastest way to get your heart broken. It’s also supremely unfair to the person who is now responsible for your joy.
Don’t do that to your kids.
You can live YOUR LIFE now, today. Even when they’re toddlers. Yes, it’s hard, and you’re tired and where the fuck are you going to find the time to do anything beyond taking care of your children, your home, and work? Trust me; I get it. But I promise you, if you start now you won’t regret it.
This post originally appeared at Complicated Mommies. Reprinted with permission.
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