More than a mom?

It's not often I get the urge to write a blog post. In fact, as you've seen, I only blog about once in a blue moon, and only then because Raoul's begged me. Today though, I feel like saying something.

In so many ways, I feel so different from everyone around me. I got married when I was 19, had Zak when I was 21, and I'll have our new baby when I'm 24 (by the way, I'm 15 weeks pregnant this week and everything seems to be going great!). Most people my age are unmarried, many are still doing their studies in university, or some are starting their careers.

I am in a completely different life stage to other girls/women my age, and because of that I usually feel a good several years older than they are.

The women I relate to the most are other moms with children around the same age as Zak. These women are on average about 10 years older than I am. Most (actually I believe all of the ones that I know) have college degrees, have experienced living on their own, unmarried, and had several years of marriage without children in the picture as well. I don't envy them those things- I'm very happy having gotten married young and having children already. It does mean though, that our life views are different.

Most women these days plan things to go how I've just described my friends' lives. College, career, marriage, more career, then children scheduled to arrive in mom's early 30's. There's nothing wrong with that, but it wasn't right for me. Because of that system, most women have very strong feelings that being a mom is just one part of their identity- they are much more than moms. I get a lot of advice about how need to not lose who I am as a person as I go through motherhood, how I need to take time for myself and my interests, and not give up myself to be a mommy- that I'll be a better mother and role model and person if I continue to be more than a mom.

The thing is, I really can't relate to that. Not at ALL, in fact. I freely admit that my main identity for the last 2.5 years has been that of a mom. I am a wife and a mom. That's not just what I am, it's also who I am. Modern women tend to shudder at that, and proudly declare the opposite, that yes, they are a mom, and are happy to be one, but that's not WHO they are, it's WHAT they are, or if it is who they are, it's just a part of who they are. They have interests and hobbies and goals that have nothing to do with being a mother or even a wife, things that are part of their identity as an individual. I'm told that I need to celebrate who I am, as an individual, aside from my husband and children. Again, it's not something to which I can really relate.

Before I was a wife, I was a depressed teenager. (Yeah, I know, I don't know why Raoul married me either :-P.) I had (and still have) interests in reading, art (especially photography), singing, and drama. When I got married I kept my interest in those things, and I still read (a ton), I sang on the music team at church, and I started taking more photos and getting interested in photo editing. I also developed new skills like cooking, something that I was never really interested in, but which I find I'm actually pretty darn good at! Then I became a mom, and my world changed even more. I had less time for reading at first, and I went from singing on the worship team to singing lullabyes and silly songs I made up about our day as I went along. My photography became mostly pictures of Zak (although thanks to Raoul's encouragement I never completely stopped taking photos of other things), and my dramatic flair has been put to good use while reading books to Zak and making up different voices for the characters (now that he's FINALLY interested in sitting and listening!). I also have a bunch of new interests, like babywearing, and parenting philosophies, and how to keep my child as healthy as possible.

The truth of the matter is, I don't actually like the person I was before I got married and had kids much. Both getting married and having a child have changed me for the better in so many ways. Why would I want to celebrate the person I am without Raoul and Zak, when it's they who are the main reasons I'm a person worth celebrating (aside from God, obviously, or rather, they are who God has used to make me who I am)? As a wife and mother, I feel complete. I feel like this is who I was created to be, what I was created to do. I feel fulfilled. I don't feel like I'm giving anything up, just gaining so much!

Of course there are times when I'd love a couple hours away from Zak for a break, but I don't look at that as time to get away so I can be myself, I see it as time to recharge so that I can be better at being myself, and "myself" is a mommy, and a wife. Growing as a person for me means becoming a better wife, a better mother, and a better Christian. That's it. And that's what I spend my time trying to do. I go to Bible studies twice a week that help me to do all three of those things, and I do lots of research on parenting in my own time. I also try to be as good a wife as I can be, though it seems research isn't as helpful with that as it is with parenting decisions. Even the challenges I have as a wife seem very different to those my friends have (although I won't get into those, not on this post anyway).

I do just feel very different from everyone around me. I don't think of that as a good thing or a bad thing, and I am content. It can be lonely sometimes though, because no one really quite "gets" it. I was reminded of that again today, which is what spurred this post.