Guest Post: Finding My Mommy+
This guest post is a part of the ongoing series, “What Motherhood Means to Me”, where I seek to highlight various perspectives on motherhood.
Finding my Mommy+
By: Teresha Freckleton-Petite
I got married at the relatively young age of 24. My husband and I both knew that we didn’t want to have children for awhile. We had careers to build, money to save, the world to travel, and more schooling to complete. So we agreed to wait until we were at least 30 to start a family.
Fast forward eight years later and we finally decide to have a baby. During those eight childless years, I accomplished many goals such as earning a graduate degree, starting my own nonprofit, and establishing a social and professional network that could be the basis for a reality show (they were such a bunch of characters!).
When the time came to start TTC (trying to conceive), I was convinced that I was going to approach motherhood with the same drive, enthusiasm, energy, and dedication that I applied to all my other endeavors. Instead I got a sobering lesson in humility. The girl who excelled at her studies and received a full college scholarship, the woman who ran organizations and got awards for her charity work, was struggling with being a stay-at-home mom.
A lot of my feelings of inadequacy stemmed from being a first-time mom. No other experience compares, except maybe the sleep deprivation and slave-like schedule of pledging a greek-letter organization back in the day. Nothing really could have prepared me for the shift in self, the complete stripping away of my ego that becoming a mom brings. It was like me and my baby were stranded alone on a desserted island while the rest of the world kept on living…
I felt lonely.
I felt isolated.
I felt trapped.
I felt like a failure.
It wasn’t all miserable though. I found breastfeeding and witnessing my daughter’s milestones rewarding, but I wasn’t whole-heartedly enjoying my new role as a mommy. I felt strangely unsatisfied and it was tearing me to pieces. A nagging voice kept telling me that something was missing. It took me months to figure out what it was because I didn’t want to face the truth that I could not handle just being a mommy.
To go from being a public mover and shaker to being home all day with an infant was almost debilitating. I went cold turkey from my former life and was suffering major withdrawal symptoms. I missed my work. I missed adult conversation. I missed being asked my opinion. I missed coming and going as I pleased.
I turned to blogging for comfort. I read a lot of SAHM blogs and marveled at how much they seemed to enjoy spending all their time with their kids. Some of them even homeschooled. I remembered how I rejoiced when Marlie started attending a Montessori school two half days a week and felt guilty for wanting that time apart from her.I slowly realized that I had to find my own mom identity. For good or bad, the old me was gone and she wasn’t coming back. I am a mother, a mother who happens to like having a life outside the home.
Things have gotten a lot better since I have accepted the fact that I want more than the mommy/homemaker life and that it is okay to have those desires. I stopped feeling like Mommy Dearest for wanting some Teresha space and gave myself permission to pursue my own interests. Now I am carving out time to write more and workout and I am planning to go back to work in the fall. That makes me a mommy+ and a happy one.
Teresha Freckleton-Petite is the author of the blog, Marlie and Me