Females of my generation (and earlier) grew up on the notion that one day they would get married and have kids. They didn’t often hear that they could also develop and maintain successful careers, be into fashion, or workout at the gym daily all while raising children and being in a healthy and committed relationship. Furthermore, cultural values and traditions often highlighted the typical female roles as being: a loving wife, a nurturer of her children, and a staunch supporter of the OVERALL family well-being over and above that of the individual goals and aspirations of the Mom herself. Thankfully times are changing – whether or not the mindsets of the individuals around us have changed or not is irrelevant- there will always be those who think a woman’s place is only in the kitchen tending to her family. This is not an article to pit working moms against stay at home moms, nor is it to highlight that one “type” of mom is “better” then another – it is to inspire and help women realize that it is OK to be a mom AND still have a life and have other joys outside of being a mom to their children.
I’m a firm believer that Moms today can wear many hats and can become many things, in addition to holding the amazing title of “Mom.” Moms can be #fashionmoms, #fitmoms, #workingmoms, #funmoms, and so much more. We are only limited by what we deem not “appropriate” for ourselves simply because we have children. The choices we make should be in alignment with our personal goals, morals, and inner compass. Yes, we have a family and decisions should be discussed as a unit, but we should not allow the title of MOM to hold us back from the things we are passionate about in life.
If you are a working mom, help educate your children about why you like to work and what the benefits of your job are- both personally and professionally. Be a role model to your children, showing them that if they put their minds to something, that they too can be successful and driven. Also explain that it’s ok for Mom to miss some school events or sporting events – that she’s always there in spirit. Help them become independent. Help them understand that both men and women have an equal desire to be in the workforce and that that’s ok.
If you’re a mom who enjoys working out and wearing fashionable clothing, that’s great too! Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you don’t deserve time to yourself to go to the gym nor does it mean you have to wear sweats and tee shirts because you’re running all over town shuttling kids from practice to practice. Taking time for yourself to stay fit is necessary to succeed at all the other demanding responsibilities you have in your life. Schedule time for the gym like you would a teacher inservice – you wouldn’t skip that, would you? Stop short-changing your health and fitness because you don’t have time- make time. It can be as simple as doing sit-ups and pushups in front of the tv during a commercial or by going walking with the family dog and your kids. Outside of fitness, don’t forget you were once 20 and wore clothing that actually fit you and showed off your curves. Now isn’t the time to forget about date night, or girls night out. Your children will survive if you leave them at home with a sitter. They will survive seeing their mom dressed up, in heels and with makeup. They may not recognize you, but they’ll figure it out.
We as moms must stop letting the pressures of being a perfect parent stress us out, stop making us question everything we do every second of the day. Do we see dads doing that? We as women must realize that we are people, too, with real needs to be ourselves at times. No one is perfect and we need to be ok with that. We need to embrace who we are as individuals so that we can coexist with our title of “mom.” Remember, you were “you” before becoming “mom.”