In my last post I advocated for the practice of ethical hedonism and noted that mothers owed it to themselves and those around them to indulge just a little. Preferably, they should do this without guilt. You can read about my views on hedonism here.
In that post I referred to the “intense stage of mothering young dependant children” and how emerging from it was one of the factors that lead me to my current views on hedonism. In their comments to my post, my blogging buddies at Grown and Flown, also reinforced the importance of that emergence and by doing so gave me the idea for this blog post. Thank you ladies!
There is no doubt that emerging from that phase (which I will call the Emergence in this post) was a game changer for me, although I never realised it at the time.
Like most new mothers I really had no idea going in just how intense mothering young children would be. Up until the point of the birth of my first child, I never had the opportunity to be around young children and certainly didn’t seek them out. However, the motion picture of my life in my head always included children and so it came to pass. Within a month of deciding to fall pregnant I fell well and truly down the mothering rabbit hole and came across all manner of interesting tea party guests and situations that I had never before encountered.
I remember the very early days, sleep deprived and racked with guilt about not breast-feeding, feeling totally inadequate amongst the mess that was my house. I remember how I latched onto every progressive variation to baby routine like a starving woman and recounted to the Italian Stallion how the high point in my day was baby graduating from 60 mls of formula for every feed to 90 mls. Then there were the toddler years, when baby was all ability, no common sense and when one’s watching and listening skills are honed to perfection. Then it was onto the daycare and school years where your life became a dance to the starting and finishing times of these fine institutions.
Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of great times too and the rewards of parenting are some of the finest in life. I wouldn’t change the rhythm of my life for anything. However the above is the reality of mothering young children and it’s more than permissible to admit that it is hard work and that some days are just about survival.
“What did you do today, dear?”
“We survived with all body parts intact. World peace will just have to wait until tomorrow”
However, little did I know that the focus I put into parenting my young children, whilst pursuing a high-powered career and being a wife and daughter came with a cost. After all, everything you do is worth doing to the best of your abilities, right? Naturally, you want the very best for your children, and you think that the very best is giving yourself completely and utterly over to the task. At least I did.
At the point of Emergence I felt rather pleased about some of the time I had regained. Time back for myself to do the little things I had put on the back burner for the past fifteen years. A few months after Emergence I was still trying to remember what those little things were and finally discovered the cost of all my “doing”. In putting my needs last and feeling guilty about indulging in a little daily hedonism during those years I had unknowingly eroded my most important relationship, namely with myself.
The human race is fond of labelling. We tend to spend a lot of time and effort pursuing high status labels. I knew I was a wife, mother, career woman and daughter. But beyond that? Who was I and who did I want to be? It’s only by answering these questions, that we are to find the path forward.
This is not to say I lay the blame solely at the feet of mothering. My Emergence was a real point of convergence – where Emergence meets middle age, meets searching for a more meaningful existence, meets career questioning. Everyone’s life path is different and points of convergence will vary.
I have a sense that finding the answers will take some time. Much like weight loss – most of us gain weight through years of bad habits and then expect overnight miracles from our diets. It just isn’t going to happen. And there will be interruptions and glitches along the way.
So that’s why I advocate balance and a little measured pleasure. It helps you remain connected with who you are and your aspirations. I really hope that anyone involved with the concerns of others can take something away from today’s post. Giving yourself over to the cause is important, but remember YOU are a worthy cause as well.
So hello world, I’m just Judy and I like exploring but dislike labels. I also happen to be a mother, wife and daughter, an occasional humourist and blogger.
I’d love to hear how you describe yourself by taking it back to the most basic, without labels in the comment section below. Help us to get to know you.
31 thoughts on “Avoid Losing The Most Precious of Things – You”
Do you hear that? It’s me clapping and whistling. What a wonderful idea – measured pleasure. I sit here reading this post as a mother who doesn’t have time to give myself a pedicure. Tomorrow I will take that time and enjoy it without guilt. This post was for me, and I so appreciate it.
Thank you Elizabeth, I’m glad it resonated. I hope you are enjoying your pedicure :)!
As parents (Mother’s especially) we often forget we were people first without titles..It’s important to remain “Us” so we can better parent “them”..
Exactly, having a definite sense of “us” makes us more effective as parents.
Standing ovation! This should be handed out to all new mothers when exiting the maternity ward. Hi, I’m Lisa I enjoy learning through the people I meet, fighting for a cause and laughing. I dislike historical tours, unless there is an exciting ending, I am easily bored. I am a momma, wife, daughter & sister. Judy this just made my day!
Woohoo, glad I could return the favour Lisa and really nice to meet YOU!
well i am a realistic dreamer who loves to laugh, dance and sing off key, and I am a sister, daughter, friend, designer, writer, lecturer and more often than not procrastinator
All these wonderful people who love to laugh.. not to mention dance and sing! Hello Jensine! I would also add creative photographer to the list.
🙂 well just a hobby
Ahh an emrging kindred spirit! Great post and so true. It’s like coming out of the fog and I’m so glad there are a few people around to greet me and a few new friends to show me the way.
So glad you stopped by to comment, Magnolia. Definitely a kindred spirit of the road warrior variety :).
Judy, you are too kind to share – cannot thank you enough for the shout out but we all seem to be inspiring each other, I think….a group effort!
Isn’t it the best, though? To discover that we are not alone in our feelings and that everyone has a slightly different perspective to bring to the table. It is hugely motivating :).
I really enjoyed and related to this post. It’s easy to get so busy with work and raising a family that you suddenly wake up and say, “Who am I?” Once we start to answer that question, we often find that we’re no longer who we started out as. But perhaps that’s true for everyone.
Thanks Carrie. The answering process is exactly that, a process and I think most of us are surprised by what we find and the results. It’s daunting, but then growth usually is.
Thought provoking post. If we knew then what we know now…
20/20 hindsight…. thanks Tess.
Great post Judy! While I am not a parent, I can relate to this post in terms of championing causes that do not include me. I spent 25 years not including myself as a worthy cause and sadly (but fortunately) for me, it took a chronic, progressive illness to get my attention about it.
Thanks Tawny. You are right, this is not solely about parenting but about the notion that we must always put ourselves last to be a better human being. As you have found, it’s false economy…
What a great post. It lives up to the name of your blog.
Who am I? I’m a woman, a researcher, a funny lady, a friend, a wife, a mother (stay-at-home for a while and then working for a while), a daughter and a sister and a dog lover. I’m also someone who gets pissed off about stuff and blogs about it.
Thanks. It’s great to meet YOU Elyse. You sure are a funny lady…especially when you are pissed off – love it :).
I find it is usually better to be funny than psychotic, and that’s my other choice!
Love love love this! I went to a 40th birthday party this weekend and we were the only couple without kids. I asked a friend and her husband in separate conversations how they were doing and they both said surviving. It really struck me. We planned to have kids but it turned out to be more complicated than we expected. And once we really thought about it, we realized that we would be OK without kids. But since I turned 40, I have felt the need to reconnect with who I was before I got married and to focus on things other than work and my husband. I am still working that out, but I think I am heading in the right direction. In answeer to your question, I think I would say I am a fun-loving, adventurous spunky woman who laughs easily and often and who has a general passion for life. Great question, great post!!!
Thanks, thanks, thanks. I think it takes more than a little time to work out, the important thing is to embrace the process. And this issue is not solely the province of parents. Our late twenties and early thirties is a manic time for most of us. And it’s really great to meet YOU, Jen. Fun-loving, adventurous, spunky, passionate and funny. Where do I sign up for friendship? Sometimes I wish my bloggy friends lived closer.
Me too! And consider yourself signed up! 🙂 And come visit Colorado!!!
Just wanted to let you know that I took this chance to share your blog with the people that follow me by nominating you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. That, and the fact that I do find your blog inspiring. So glad to have recently found you. Please feel free to participate or not.Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks a bunch inspiring Mags. So glad to have found you too and will participate. Will work on my acceptance and pay it forward post :).
bravo!! wonderful post. filled with the wisdom that has come with all the circumstances of our lives. If I could have only read this years ago, what a difference in all my struggling and guilt. I think, as women, we easily become the role that is handed to us, or that we unwittingly choose. The titles, wife, mother, taxi driver describe a function we may have, but it does not define us. We are wonderfully and beautifully created. This is an excellent post. Thank you for inspiring me DAF
Thanks ma’am and welcome home. We are wonderfully and beautifully created – love that :).
It is late on Friday night so I don’t have the right words to convey my exact thoughts about your post but I truly identify with what you’re saying and think you are a phenomenal writer. Suffice it to say, I am emerging and finding balance but are the kids ever truly independent????
Thanks for the feedback on the writing. No I don’t think they are ever truly independent because I belive that no man is an island we are all interconnected and if we have done our job right as parents we will always remain interconnected with our children.