The safety of the big wide bar. The balance. The support. The shield. The barrier to the world. The safety net. The catch all. The protector and the provider. The wide berth you are granted as your double wide passes through. The help kindly passers by afford you on your journey. The end all be all.
There's a dependence now that I never had before having children. I depend on the FEELING of control it provides me.
But what happens when you come out from behind the stroller?
WHO ARE YOU?
What happens when your kids are not attached to you and you have to stand on your own two feet with nothing propping you up?
All my life it's been a struggle to be enough. And then you throw men into the picture and I got lost quickly and often. I jumped from relationship to relationship in an effort to not be alone for years. THEN I finally moved into my own place, lived on my own for the first time ever in my life. Had I not done that and really become confident on my own, I wouldn't be where I am today.
I've battled for my own identity and finally found peace and fulfillment in my healthy marriage with boundaries and support and respect. But it's not easy all the time. Healthy relationship with anyone requires a certain amount of work and dedication and forgiveness and space.
Now with kids, it's now a whole new ballgame. I could easily get lost in the shuffle once again and to a certain degree, it's important that we do, as it's all about the kids. But there needs to be balance. There needs to be a YOU without them.
In this struggle that is called being a woman today, there are so many choices and ways we can live. Which is AWESOME. But also it can be tough to find our place. To find our value and respect for ourselves in the ways we deserve.
What fulfills you? If you take away the kids for a second, who are you?
Am I enough? Am I happy?
If I am not, I need to work on that. It's my responsibility to be more than a mom. Because I AM a mom and they are watching. It is my responsibility to be more. To be more than a caretaker. To be more than any one thing. We are leading them by our example.
Who the hell am I now? What am I portraying to my kids as they watch each day?
In an effort to solidify our good work, we need to see the good that we are passing along to our kids.
I am a welcoming face of sobriety. I am a writer. I am a mother. I am a valued employee. I am a trusted friend. I am an awesome and present member of our family. I am an animal lover and advocate. I am a funny companion. I am compassionate to a fault. I am fiercely loyal. I am beautiful just as I am. I can be vulnerable and admit when I'm wrong. I can find good in just about anyone and any situation. I don't put up with any shit. And yet I don't always have to fight or yell - I can choose to hold my tongue. A skill that took years to learn. Strength in restraint. It's a miraculous thing.
With or without this bastion of support and deeper meaning the stroller temporarily provides, I am a woman. And without speaking a word, I am speaking volumes to my kids.
We are so much more than we think we are in their eyes. Today it's our job to make them feel safe and loved, but down the line it will be evident in their world that their mommy is an incredible well-rounded person (and not just her backside - ZING!). It's our job to make sure that's the case. It's funny because I wouldn't be this person I am today without having gone through everything I've gone through. And I wouldn't have this quiet confidence had I not become sober and a mother. And yet, I'm still more. You're still more. And who knows what we will be in the coming years. It's so exciting!
So, who are you without the stroller?
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