Tuesday, March 8

Motherhood with a side of accidental martyrdom

I had the most bizarrely wonderful conversation one night last week.  Actually I had a few.  But this one in particular started at a Wynard bus station when I was on my way home from ticking something off my bucket list. (Saw and met my favourite author!)

A woman sat next to me and literally started ravishing a takeaway salad.  At 10.45pm at night.  I figured she must be a busy shiftworker or mum.  Or both.  In any case she noticed my amusement at her ravenous grabbings of salad and apologised to which I responded 'no, please, you look like you need it'.

We got talking about authors, writing, blogs (turns out she's a personal friend of these wonderful bloggers) and we got chatting about motherhood, as mothers do.

We exchanged 'war stories' and when she said she hadn't planned to have a 5 year gap between her kids but that's the way it happened - and she felt fate had stepped in because she felt she had sacrificed less of her identity to motherhood, being able to juggle an identity with a baby/child and into school before the next baby arrived.

It got me thinking.  I had such a ridiculous small break between my three girls (18 months) that I did sacrifice particularly after having Laura and Olivia my identity, and slowly but surely I'm regaining the parts of me that make me... me.

Am I a 'new' me?  With the imminent return back to work will I just take on another mask 'work me' then 'home me' - where is the 'me-me?'  I'm not sure.

What makes me --- me?  Is it internal, external, esteem, environment... everything?  I find myself 'reclaiming' things in my life (like seeing my favourite author, this month I've managed to catch up on one of his novels (one to go) which is something I've not been able to do - or rather not prioritised for the past five years.

This I like to call 'accidental martyrdom' because I immersed myself in motherhood - my children needed me - and I needed to be with them.  Not a sacrifice, I'm not a martyr - but I can see how when you come out of the fog of the 'early years' you start to realise what you have been missing out on and people may view that as 'all the stuff you gave up' to have kids.

What do you think?
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8 lovely comments:

Katie said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Wow, all very well put Liss. I am feeling this "coming out of the fog" with just having a 2 year old. Everyone seems to be of the opinion that it's time to have another but I don't feel it yet. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me! Yes, we are planning another down the track but I feel like I have some independance back (selfish me!). Anyway, thanks for making me see there is another way.

Lucy on March 8, 2011 at 12:17 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

It is over seven years since I worked in or on my career.

It scares me.

Danielle on March 8, 2011 at 4:31 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

This resonates with me also feeling a bit of 'coming out of the fog'. I took a year off with each child and periods of part time work, now back full time but also still very much a hands on mum. But as the kids are becoming more independent, I feel I am getting a bit of my independence back as well. I've always had the "work me" because I did not take that long away from the workforce, there is of course the "mother me" and the "wife me" and over time it feels like there has just not been any room left for the "me me". That is the person I was before I had to be anyone's anything - I've almost forgotten who that person was! But I find myself revisiting old friends and interests that got put on the backburner, because I think you eventually have to reclaim parts of yourself or you just lose that sense of self. That and that feeling that comes with getting older that time is not infinite and neither is your youth - call it a mid life crisis if you will but it feels like now is the time to start doing all that stuff you never got around to!

Anonymous said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

i try very hard not to define myself by a job that i may have done or may do again in the future... especially since becoming a SAHM... i mean jobs come and go (i've had tons of them) and is that all i amount to?
jobs are a way to earn money... sometimes they are more than that which can make you lucky! but even if you do love your job, it never lasts, inevitably dissatisfaction will eventuate or the job will come to a natural end- at that point do you stop being you?
i am much more interested in people's minds, beliefs and actions- the things that make them truly them....
i do look forward to more independence once the children are in school, but don't think it will change the essence of who i am :)

MultipleMum on March 11, 2011 at 5:43 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

My friend told me about this conversation. Funny! Small world huh? Might meet your myself next week?

Liss on March 11, 2011 at 5:45 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

@MultipleMumI know! Is a very small world, and you came on the AMBA board after I left too. We'll definitely catch up ;)

Life In A Pink Fibro on March 11, 2011 at 9:51 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Thanks for the shout-out - I love that two cool chicks met on a bus one night! My boys were three years apart, not through choice, and I have wished them closer together, just to get some of those tough years 'over with'. Now, however, with Mr4 off to school next year, I'm glad that I've had the opportunity to have 'alone' years with both of them.

Christie - Childhood 101 on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I actually feel like motherhood has given me the chance to be more me - I am no longer the overachiever worker who put work before life. Now I do what I enjoy with my life, working from home and being with my child. I am thankful for the time to be more me :)


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