I Stopped Being a Mom and Found Myself

Let me begin by saying all the things that I feel obligated to say—yes, I love my children. Yes, I love being a mom. No, I wouldn’t change my life for anything.

Now let me say all the things that are scary to put into words—no, motherhood wasn’t apart of my plan, ever. Truth is, I was 23 years old when I got pregnant with my first child. Surprised is an understatement, but when I made the decision to keep my baby, I felt ready. Three years later, I can honestly say I wasn’t ready. I was too young. I was barely out of college and only a year into my first “big girl” job. I had only just scratched the surface of finding out who I really was.

Marriage and two kids later, I felt like I had found me. I was a stay-at-home mom whose life revolved around play dates and Mom’s Night Out. I was happy—for the most part, but there was always that nagging feeling like maybe I was missing apart of myself.

When my husband offered to take our kids to his hometown for seven days, I was ecstatic. One whole week without my family. I immediately started making a list in my phone of all the things I was going to get done—finish the baby books, deep clean the house, organize the kids’ clothes. You know, a Mom to-do list.

As I waved good-bye to the minivan as it backed out of the driveway, I was antsy to get started on my list. I walked into the empty house and started picking up the toys scattered throughout. The house was quiet. Nobody needed me. I was peeing in private and suddenly it hit me. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted for the next week.

I pulled up the list I had created in my phone and hit the delete button. For the next seven days, I wasn’t going to be Mom. I was going to be Michelle.

Over the course of that week, I sang karaoke. Got too drunk. Danced on a bar. Went shopping and only brought stuff for myself. Stayed up all night. Slept all day. Spent an entire 24-hours just hanging out with my best friend and watching movies. Drove to Arkansas to see my favorite band. Read a book. Watched a documentary. Wrote. Played with a new hairstyle. Walked around my house naked. Ate raw cookie dough for dinner. Cried. Laughed until I cried.

I had the best seven days I think I’ve ever had. I talked to my kids every day. I knew what they were doing and never once questioned my husband’s ability to handle solo parenting for a week. But if I’m being brutally honest, I didn’t miss them. There is a part of me that still feels like I should have, but I didn’t. I was glad to have them home though. I was so happy to see them and how excited they were to see me and when their little arms wrapped around my neck, I smiled.

My babies were home, but I wasn’t just Mom anymore. Sure, I partied like I was a sorority girl in college again, but when my babies walked through that door, I didn’t feel like being their mother was a burden anymore. I felt ready. I felt like I had bridged the gap between who I was before I gave birth and who I was now.

I don’t know if it was a reset button that needed to be hit or rare peak into life on the other side—you know, the side where you think the grass is always greener—but I know that I found that part of myself that was missing. I can’t pinpoint exactly what that part is, but I feel different. I feel like I know who I am. Yes, I’m a mom to two kids under 4. I organize play dates, can fold laundry while simultaneously building train tracks and can accomplish dinner, bath and bedtime for both kids in 2 hours flat while my husband is traveling. But I’m also Michelle—a beer drinking, tabletop dancing, foul-mouthed twenty-something who isn’t exactly sure what she wants to be when she grows up. And you know what? It’s okay to be both.

Raised in Parkville, Michelle and her husband have stayed north of the river to raise their son, Maverick, and daughter, Kennedy. As a stay-at-home mom, Michelle thrives off of coffee and to-do lists. When she isn't juggling the demands of her toddler and infant, Michelle can be found wandering the aisles of Target or listening to Dave Matthews Band.

1 COMMENT

  1. Yes to all of this! I desperately need a week without being a mom and just being me. And I do love my son, but I actually hate being a mom. I miss my freedom. I’d give my left kidney for someone to watch my son for a week

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