With my two boys in school full time, I feel like I am just coming out of the haze of being a “new” mom.
The boys have become a little more independent and no longer need me to kiss booboos (well, most of the time) and they don’t really want to hold my hand in public. They can play in the backyard by themselves, they go on playdates where I don’t have to stay with them, and DS1 started showering on his own. This has left me feeling a little unsure of how I define myself and really wondering “If I’m not doing “Mom” things around the clock, Who Am I?”
My boys were born in the same year which meant that I was pregnant for the better part of two years. When my youngest was one and started walking I remember thinking “I don’t even know how to walk anymore.” I was so used to having a baby in my belly or on my hip for so long that something so normal suddenly felt so awkward. It actually took some practice to walk like a woman again instead of the duck waddle I had adopted over three years.
Next came eating like a grown up. With my own plate with hot food on it. Who knew that was such a luxury! Many of my meals when the boys were babies was whatever was left on their plates or a colder version of what I made for dinner after it sat for an hour while I fed the boys. My boys are older now and are a little more adventurous with what food they will try. I’m enjoying having three hungry boys to try out new recipes on. They don’t always like everything I make but at least they know enough to politely have a “thank you” bite and move on rather than a full on temper tantrum because they hate it.
I could have made a fortune if I bought shares in Walmart’s sweat and yoga pants because I bought so many pairs over the years. It’s tough to chase little boys in jeans and, to be honest, I spent most of my time on the floor with them so I might as well be comfy. I depressingly held on to my pre-baby clothes for a very long time in hopes that I would be able to wear them again. It has been so long that if they did fit they would be so out of style that I wouldn’t want to wear them anyways. So, I let them go and did some shopping for my new “my babies once lived in my body” body and I feel pretty great.
Making the switch from gourmet dinner dates in wineries to the big chain, kids eat free, who can get the food out the fastest restaurants was a difficult adjustment. I love going out for dinner. It is probably one of my most favourite things to do in the whole wide world. I also love taking my boys out. They have no interest in fine dining so we go where they want to go when we take them out and then DH and I dine out on our own. We don’t go often because it gets expensive but at least it’s always a fun time when we do.
Spending time with friends has changed over the years as well. While the boys were very small I spent most of my time with people who also had small children. I found it really hard to relate to anyone else at that time. I often found myself annoyed with all of the things that other women with no kids or grown kids were doing. I loved my babies but they were everything, literally. I still love to brag about my boys’ latest achievements but I save the details for the people who know my kids and are really interested. When I’m out with other grown ups I want grown up conversation. I want to talk about the world and all of the exciting things everyone is doing. I’m wiser since becoming a mother and I value being around people who have interesting things to talk about.
Taking vacations when the boys were small was completely out of the question. We did short trips to visit family and friends and weekend camping in the summers. The boys have still never been on a plane because we have never had the courage to take them anywhere. They really want to go to Disney and that is in the plans for our 2016 vacation but Mommy and Daddy will be balancing that out with our anniversary trip to Vegas this summer.
My life has changed in ways that are unimaginable since I had kids. My life has changed in ways that are unimaginable since my kids went from being babies to being boys. I am not even close to being the same person I was before kids, and honestly, I am so glad for that.
So Who Am I then? Every decision in my life has revolved around the boys since the day they were born. They still do, and probably always will. But, does that mean there is nothing for just me? I don’t think so. Time is more valuable than money when you become a mother. It goes by so fast and there never seems to be enough of it. I value every second with my family, however, I also value my “me time.” So I make time for me. I try to be the adventurous person I want my kids to be. My kids have interesting things to say each night at the dinner table and I want to have interesting things to say as well. I do things that are just for me and I think that makes me a better wife and mother.
Jillian Dowling is the Digital Media Editor for momstown Niagara, wine connoisseur, kick boxing rookie, wife and mother of 2 boys (the order changes hourly)