Talking to a friend last week, she was remembering those days when she was suffering from being Just a Mom (JAM). Wait, wait, wait! Being a mom can is amazing and wonderful and a blessing (and sucks sometimes, but that's a different post)! Being Just a Mom is when you don't even remember who you are outside of that one role. You don't know what you want to be when you grow up. You don't know what brings you joy beyond your kids. Your friends are exclusively the moms of your kids' friends, and you get together to give them time to play. Maybe to commiserate, but the conversations are child focused. Your hair is practical. Your clothes are comfortable. The You-ness of you has been swallowed up by the Mom-ness of you.
I promised my husband I'd never find myself losing myself. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. Maybe for me the roller coaster ride of fostering kids played into it. Maybe it was me trying to be the best mom I could be. Somewhere along the way - JAM! Big time. It took work to get back to my Me-ness. To make time for my passions, figure out my career path, and discover my joy outside of my kids. I definitely don't beat myself up for the JAM phase of my life. I think it served a purpose and, given a re-do, I don't think I'd do it any differently. Yet, my kids are reaping the rewards of me being more Me. They love to see me paint. They are proud that I'm a coach and making a difference in people's lives. They are happy for, and generally respect, the spaces that I have carved out. I am a better mom because I'm not being just a mom. (Just a quick note, I don't think JAM has anything to do with stay-at-home vs. working. I wish we could remove the "vs." from that conversation for once and for all. Again, a different post).
If JAM is where you find yourself right now, you are so not alone. If you are settled and feel like it's a time and space, and given a re-do you'd do it again, more power to you sister. If you are struggling. If you are feeling like the walls are closing in. If you feel like the You-ness of you has left on a bus to Cincinnati with a one-way ticket, please reach out. To me. To someone else. Find a way out of that JAM and get back to You. Your kids need the You-ness of you, and you do too.