“I know I’m not alone; I’ve seen many parents suffer an identity crisis when their children reach the toddler years. It’s hard to avoid this inclination to place all your chips in the parenting pile right when your child is demanding more of you than s/he ever has before. We live in a time where we believe that if we don’t make ourselves available to our children 24/7, we’re short-changing them. Be present, we’re told, and we err on the side of caution by whittling away at our own identities. We can always give a little more, and we do until we realize that we haven’t been completely alone and lost in an activity we derive pure joy from – an activity that has nothing to do with our kid – in six months. Several months ago, a friend whose kids are now leaving home gave me some advice that has echoed in my brain every day since then:
Don’t put all your eggs in the mommy basket like I did. Leave a couple out for down the road when you want to be Emily. The transition will be easier.” THIS. SO MUCH THIS. This whole post is brilliant and something I’m going through as well, to some degree. Emily is a wonderful writer and is able to capture in feelings something many mothers are going through but are unable to articulate quite so amazingly.
I, naturally, wanted to jump into a hole.
I would venture to guess that there are few other occupations where people get as cagey about a simple inquiry into what, exactly, they do as some writers get when asked about their chosen subject matter. If you sell cars, you probably don’t have an existential crisis when someone asks you at a party what make of automobile you shill. Teachers don’t start questioning every decision they’ve ever made when they’re asked what and who they teach. But writers sell a little bit of themselves every time they put some words out there for the (theoretical) masses to read. When it comes down to it, all we have are our experiences, ideas, and the net of words that holds them together. We become so transparent that our identities…
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