Stronger

I ran into an old friend the other day who said in a “I can’t believe it” kind of tone, “You stay home with them (the kiddies) all day?” I took a deep breath and replied, “It’s training in progress!”

I’ve been thinking lately how much motherhood has changed me and how far I’ve come in the last 5+ years. I’m not tooting my own horn, believe me, cause I know of other moms who stay at home and don’t have any family nearby to help them and/or are  raising a special needs child, so I know I have it fairly easy in comparison! But I also realize how much I’ve been stretched, broken down and molded physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – it’s like I’ve been training for a marathon and have finally started to gain some momentum in my stride.

I recently read the book, “The Hungry Little Caterpillar” to my kids and began to see myself as that caterpillar, especially the part where it eats and eats and becomes a big, fat caterpillar (yes, I considered pregnancy a time of indulgence!).  And after it is done eating, it makes a cocoon and holes up in it for about two weeks to do some changing.  I, on the other hand, kind of stayed in a “cocoon” for a good five years cause there was a LOT of changing I had to do in becoming a mom.

It would have been nice if I could have magically transformed into a “mom” as soon as I laid eyes on my baby, but I’ve discovered this title kind of needs to be earned (through lots of manual labor and shifts in perspective!).  I never realized how much sacrificing I would need to do as a mom and how everything becomes about the kids and you get placed on the back burner – waaay in the back!  I never knew how all consuming it would be to be a mom, how it zaps your energy, finances, memory, and surprisingly, your identity, too.

Before I had kids, I had once read on a friend’s (who is a mom) facebook profile that she was trying to salvage her identity.  I now understand what she meant.  Over these past few years it feels like I’ve morphed into someone else.  The upside to my metamorphosis is that this introverted, square, almost only child is now a little less shy, a bit more conscientious of other people’s needs and doesn’t need to have everything go my way every time (though that would be nice!).  I can do some things now that I couldn’t do before I had kids like cut hair, strike up conversations with strangers and take really fast showers (like under 4 minutes).  🙂  The downside to this transformation though is a lack of balance at times, meaning that there’s a tendency for my identity to be all “mom” and for the other parts of me to get pushed out of the equation.  For a while I lost sight of the things I used to enjoy, like listening to music that isn’t about buses or monkeys or spiders and reading books that don’t have pictures on every page.  It even got to the point where my mom could tell I hadn’t brushed my hair (I was happy enough to have just washed it, who cared about brushing it!).  🙂

Well, now that the kids are a little older and more independent, I am glad to say I have a little more time to brush my hair every day and even read a magazine sometimes.  I’m also trying to put some of my needs back on the front burner, like exercising regularly again so I can be healthier and set a good example for the kids.  And I’m starting to contemplate what I can do with my time next year when both kids will be in school!

Supposedly, they say that when a butterfly breaks itself out of the cocoon, it’s stronger for having done so.  So here I am finally emerging from my cocoon and hoping that the person I am now as a mom is an improved version of who I was before having kids.  Cause what doesn’t kill you, definitely makes you stronger!  😛

Image courtesy of wiangya/freedigitalphotos.net

Check out Kelly Clarkson’s song, “Stronger“.

In what ways have your life experiences made you stronger?