Being a Mom is NOT Enough (For Me)

Writing those words is not easy. Feels a little taboo, like something a mom is never supposed to admit.

Then there’s the whole people pleaser part of me that doesn’t want to make anyone mad. But this idea has been sitting on the back burner of my mind for a while now, simmering like a pot of water. Steam is escaping out of the edges and the lid is rattling. Time to look inside.

Photo Credit: *floydgal* via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: *floydgal* via Compfight cc

I believe being a mom can be enough, and is enough for some women.

Let me go deeper – I believe that being a mom is enough for some women at certain times of their children’s lives. Like for me, when my kids were infants, all I could do was nurture them and try to get enough sleep in between night wakings to stay alive. Writing was not on my priority list back then. Things like showers and sleep were.

During my daughter's newborn stage.

During my daughter’s newborn stage. A mommy nap.

But as the years rolled by there came a point when I realized I needed something else, something that belonged just to me.

I wonder about my own mother. Was being a mom enough for her? Unfortunately, we never had a chance to be moms at the same time and explore these types of questions. She died a year before my daughter was born.

Me and my mom, May 1977

Me and my mom, May 1977

She was a stay at home mom by choice, and I know that was important to her, in part because her own mother worked long hours after her husband died young. My mom never wanted us to experience the loneliness she felt as a child, and so even when she worked part-time or volunteered, she was always there to greet us after school.

This clearly influenced me. I wanted to offer my children what she did, and I have, while also trying to pursue my writing. My mom was an artist too, a talented sculptor whose beautiful and haunting creations outlived her.

susan schwartz masks

Unfortunately for her – and for our whole family – she was diagnosed with a severe form of multiple sclerosis when she was just forty years old, a disease that cruelly took away her mobility, one limb at a time, in rapid succession. Her deft fingers that sculpted vases and bowls, that painstakingly etched emotion into clay faces, were rendered useless. Her art endures though, as does her signature. And her love.

mom signature green

I’m soon to approach that milestone birthday, and I wonder if I’m holding onto a kernel of fear that something may befall me and derail my creative ambitions, like what happened to her. Perhaps that is what pushes me to write now with more urgency than before.

Or perhaps I’m finally ready to write with fervor.

I am fortunate that I have two healthy children, and the luxury of choice to stay home with them. I am grateful to my partner for supporting our family financially, for my health, and my ability to pursue my dreams.

me and kids winter 2014

I want to be their mother AND a writer.

And so, that’s what I’m finally trying to do.

today i will make magic happen

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24 thoughts on “Being a Mom is NOT Enough (For Me)

  1. I’m of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with wanting and asking for more Dana. We all inevitably play many roles – women especially – mother, wife, daughter, caregiver, provider etc nothing wrong with adding writer to that 🙂 A happy mother is a better mother. Lovely pics (gorgeous family) 🙂

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    • You’re right, we certainly do play many roles, as we should. I don’t know why women (more so than men) feel pressure to choose the one thing, or the most important thing, or maybe it’s just me who feels that way!

      A happy mother is most definitely a better mother!

      Thanks so much for your kind comments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel the same way – being a mum is great but it’s not enough for me either. And I’m actually glad it’s not, because one day my lovely boys will grow up and lead their own lives and when that happens I’ll need all those other things that make me ‘me’. Of course, once you’re a mum you’re always a mum and I hope to be close to my kids all my life but I want to be happy in myself with my other interests! I know I’m a better mother if I’m doing other things. if I’m writing I’m happy, and if I’m happy I’m so much nicer to be around!

    I’m really pleased that you’re seizing the day to follow your dreams! And I’m sorry to hear about your mum, she was clearly a very talented woman. xx

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    • I agree Maddy! I think the post came off more conflicted than I feel – I am happy it’s not enough, because one day if all goes as planned, my children will grow up and move onward to their own independent lives, and I will need to have my own interests.

      I’m definitely a better mom and partner if I’m making sure to take care of my own needs and dreams.

      Thank you for your thoughtful words about my mom. She was really talented, and it always struck me as so unfair that never had the chance to pursue them after only a handful of years. It did feel powerful, however, to put on her death certificate, under occupation – “Artist.” I don’t know if she would have chosen that term herself, but it felt right to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dana we juggle our lives as mother’s and try to hold onto that individuality as well. I lost myself in the younger years nurturing my children too. Now they are becoming independent my time is becoming more about me again. The balance is tricky but we can do it. Your Mother’s art is beautiful and something to remind you to keep pushing that art and words out into the universe. Great post.

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    • Thank you Kath, it’s quite the juggle isn’t it? I often joke that I’m no good at metaphorical juggling because I’m quite terrible at the literal kind. It makes sense that things will get a bit easier as the kids get older. Though I’ll probably be feeling super nostalgic by then.

      And thanks for your kind words about my mom’s art. I will be hanging some up in my office soon, to remind me of just that.

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  4. Such a lovely post. I only wish that when I become a mom I will be able to write. Maybe not as much as I do now, but at least a little something to keep me going. Because I’ve recently realized that the more I write the more inspired I get 🙂
    Kind regards,
    Gema 🙂

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    • Thanks so much Gema. You will write as a mom, but it’s hard, especially at first, to figure out how. But in a way, I think I use my limited time better and more efficiently than I used to (mis)use the long stretches of time I had in my twenties. But that could have just been me 🙂

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  5. I like your honesty. I was always busting to get back to work(nursing) after my babies, not just so I could finish a cup of coffee while it was still warm, but because I needed to be me; Kamille. Not just Mum. Not just Honey. When I returned home, I was always a better mum because I’d been out to see the world(and the nappies seemed so small and inoffensive compared to what I dealt with at work!).
    Now I write too and its my life blood. If you don’t do what makes you happy, what’s to get you out of bed but duty? And that’s not a life.
    Cheers,
    Skinny Jeans Mum

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    • I love this Kamille! YES to finishing a warm cup of coffee, sigh. I feel the same way about being refreshed (and happier) as a mom and human after writing/work. Sometimes I don’t realize why I’m feeling so buoyant, and then it hits me, and I’m like, “of course!”

      Love your blog as well! Thanks again for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am not a mother but I can see What you mean! You are right.
    It is a privilege to be a stay at home mom but sometimes that can’t be enough. You want your personal skills & personality to shine through. And you, try to do so,…good for you! Xxx

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    • Thanks Sophie, you’re right, it isn’t always enough being a mom. We get so many mixed messages as women – like, if you’re a career woman mom, you’re neglecting your kids – and if you’re a stay at home mom with no career, you’re neglecting yourself. OY! Really, you have to trust your intuition and do what is best for YOU. I try to block out the noise when I can, but sometimes it creeps in.

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    • I totally agree on both points! For a while I think my daughter thought my ONLY job was making grilled cheese and helping her in the bathroom (ha). But I think it’s so important for her (and her brother) to see that while I am a mom, and I love being one, I also have my very own personal identity, which I cherish, and so should she one day.

      Liked by 1 person

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