My children have changed my life. There is never any doubt about this. Of course, it has happened in the most obvious ways: I get woken in the middle of the night, I require childcare arrangements before I can make my childfree activity plans and my home is cluttered with toys and items are strewn about where they left them.
But I'm talking about how they changed my life in more obtuse ways. I used to be very controlling. Some might argue I still am, but I know otherwise. ;) Becoming a mother has meant that eventually I started to let go of that control, bit by bit. At first I totally bucked it and everything that my ex-husband did countered what I wanted to control, which became a much larger problem. After we split up, I was forced to let go even more. I *could* attempt to control the way things work when they are not at home with me, when they are at their dad's on weekends and vacations, but to what end? While I have mostly let go. I'll admit to lapsing a few times and making a big issue out of something I deemed worthwhile. I'm not saying it was easy, but it has gotten easier.
My children have helped me get better at setting my work aside and just being myself. We will take days and do nothing but spend time together as a family. Of course, being a mom has brought about work that keeps me from being entirely carefree, but I value the time spent simply living life, so much more. Especially when I do it with the people who I care about most in my life.
They have also given me a much greater appreciation for the ability to care so deeply for another person that you are willing to sacrifice anything for their protection.
Many people define themselves as a parent first, a person, woman, man or other identity second. I have done the same on many occasions. Depending on the circumstances, I sometimes still do today. When it comes right down to it, being a good mom is the most critical part of being me today. But being a mother has taught me that I need to be ME, first. I can't be the best mother, spouse, friend etc., I can be, if I don't allow myself time to nurture myself.
It is through this need to take care of myself that I restarted a lot of activities that I love. I started running through a need for self-care during a critical time in my life. I went back to school, as a single parent, to improve my chances at a meaningful career. I restarted my hobby with photography when I graduated from University recently. I started writing again because I realized that the exercise of writing once was an integral part of my being. It is because of my children that I had the motivation to be a better me.
It is ironic to me that most people would refer to me as a mommy blogger. While I do occasionally write about my experiences as a mom or about my children; I do not think of myself as a mommy blogger. I blog because writing allows me to ground myself. I write of the many things that I value. I write as an exercise in separating my identity from my outward responsibilities. I think of myself as a blogger, yes, as a mother, without doubt, but as a mommy blogger? I just don't think it fits.
Do we identify ourselves as mommy nurses, mommy doctors, mommy bus drivers, mommy teachers or mommy police officers? Generally the mommy descriptor only applies if it is integral to the work we do. Sure, I've blogged about being a mom. But I have also blogged about running, fundraising for a cause, photography, Nova Scotia, Halifax and poverty. The list goes on. I don't think anyone would define me as a running blogger (I once blogged only about my efforts at fitness, so at that time it may have applied) or a photography blogger. If I were to define my blogging it would be about life and about social change.
When I blog I am hoping to connect with people from all walks of life. People who care about life. People who want life to be better for generations to come. This applies to mothers, to be certain. But it also applies to fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, caregivers, children and on and on.
Yes, I am a mother. Yes, I am a blogger. Must they be one and the same?