Dear Pre-Mom Self: I’m not letting you go
Anna Gannon released an article with the Huffington Post called “Dear Pre-Mom Self: It’s Time to Let You Go.”
I always love reading these endearing articles from mother to mother, but this one was unsettling to me. I would like to offer a different perspective.
Let me just get this out of the way first, I love myself. It took a long time for me to admit that, for fear of being seen as selfish, a bad mom, or unworthy of being loved. The truth is that loving myself is what makes our family thrive.
Being a parent is hard, and what is even harder is that it comes with all these expectations. There is judgment out there that if you don’t let yourself go and become a self-sacrificing martyr for your children, that you somehow aren’t a good enough mother. Friends, family, strangers…they observe your life as if grading a paper. Did she party too much? Did she lose her baby weight? Did she put her kids in daycare? Is her house clean? Does she have a full head of makeup every day? Does she order takeout? No matter what end of the spectrum, it is always so easy for someone who isn’t in our place to second guess whether what we are doing is right.
I love my alone time. I love getting massages and pedicures. I love running. I love drinking vodka tonics with my friends and dancing like we are still in college. I love that I can look at my husband and tell HIM to get up with the baby tonight, because my body has worked hard, and I deserve some sleep. I love to work. I love talking to my kids about all of my passions. I love that even though times are hard, I come out of them with support from my friends, who never judge a thing I say.
So today, I’d like to say “I see you.”
I see you, Pre-Mom Self,
I love you. I’m sorry it took me so long to realize that. Thank you for coming on this journey with me.
I wanted to tell you how proud I am of you. This life is hard. I don’t remember the last time I sat on the toilet without someone screaming at me. (Sorry about that, by the way) The days are long, and the nights are longer. You never left though. I’ve made time for you when I can, and that has made all the difference.
Thanks for giving me dreams to follow. Thanks for also realizing that my boys have dreams too. But despite all these dreams, you’ve given me an ability to tell them my dreams every day. My oldest son, Tristan now talks about being a doula. I write this with tears in my eyes knowing he’d be a damn good one. I’m so incredibly proud. My boys are strong, determined and inspiring…just like you. You never let us forget that.
Thank you for saying “Give yourself some grace. Today was hard, and you can eat the ice cream. Speak up and tell your husband you want some wine as well.”
Pre-mom self, you looked good. I look good too. You gave me a strong baseline to grow from. I know that I don’t have to weigh a certain number, or run marathons to show my worth. But I do know that I want my boys to be healthy, and they will only learn if I do it for myself. So I make time with you when I can.
We won’t judge others for what they do. I know you thought you were the best parent you knew. But the truth is, you’re not…you don’t even know what it’s like to have kids. I do. Together, we have evolved in a way.
We are radiant.
You should see how strong I am now. You were so strong already, but I’ve grown from you. I’ve known challenges you’ve never known. Raising children is a struggle, and making time for yourself once you have them is another struggle. It’s also downright amazing in between the struggle. It can be such a mind game. Together though, we are an unstoppable team.
Don’t worry. I’ll never forget you. I’ll never leave you behind. My boys love you…you are the inner child that binds us. My husband loves you…you keep our marriage together when every bit of me wants to resent him for working and leaving us alone on another difficult day of teething and poop-flinging. I love you. You give me so much to live for. One day, my kids are going to be old and grown, living for themselves, and I’ll be able to let them go with nothing but happiness in my heart. This is all thanks to you…you were there for me.
I would say I miss you, but I don’t have to. You are like the sun. I can’t always see you, but I know you’re there. I’ll never let anyone make me feel the need to let you go. The judgment may be strong, but together we are stronger. The important people know we are a good team and that is all that matters.