Parenting is hard. Oh it is so so hard. Maybe it’s adulthood in general but I don’t know adulthood without parenthood, so I can’t speak to that. I spent my entire 20’s trying to figure out how to raise children. At first, I tried really hard to keep parts of myself while attempting to raise my children but over the years that seems to have faded. And I don’t think it is supposed to. Somehow, I think it is really important to keep things about yourself that mean something to you–that keep you ticking. In the chaos that is parenthood, it is easy to lose site of it though.
I’ll be thirty this year. When I was younger, I really looked forward to getting into my 30s. The 20s were hard. Really hard. And I experienced a lot of judgement for being a young 20-something mother. I thought maybe once I’d turn 30, everything would get easier. I’d get accepted into the right social networks and I’d feel better about myself. I’d be accepted as a member of society instead of feeling like an outsider. But instead, I’m realizing that I’ll miss my 20s. There was hope then… I was still young and still had things to look forward to–or so I thought. What I’ve been realizing lately is that I don’t know what they are anymore.
We have a photo stream screen saver on our TV and I don’t recognize myself. I can still see ‘me’ in our wedding pictures but beyond that, I really don’t look like myself anymore. I was so caught up in child raising that I gave up everything of myself. I gave up my makeup, my hair, my clothes, my dancing, my passions, my schooling, my musical instruments, my decorating, just about anything that made me a strong individual was lost. What’s strange is I really don’t know how it happened. The stress, the changes of having children, moving, dealing with adulthood just overtook me. And instead of demanding I keep parts of my self, I gave into the roller coaster of life–I didn’t demand it stop for a few minutes so I could get off. So I could connect with myself and not get swept away. And now, only now, am I realizing how wrong it was. How very very important it is to keep bits of yourself despite the way life changes you. Now, when I need a break, when I start burning out, I have nothing to fall back on. Nothing to remember who I am–as an individual. It scares me. If I have the time to take care of my appearance, I don’t have any makeup to put on and I don’t even remember how to style my hair. I don’t remember how to dance–it was my life and I find it strange muscle memory isn’t stronger–the idea of taking a class feels embarrassing. I am so unpracticed at the piano or any of the other instruments that I used to play, it’s a challenge to get any satisfaction out of sitting down and playing for 10 minutes.
See, there has to be something–even just one thing that we as parents need to keep all our own. That the distraction of children and life can’t take from us. To remember our true being. I hope to develop something in the future to grasp onto. Something to bring peace back into my soul. My escape for when times are rough. Maybe it will be blogging. I don’t know. But I think as life goes on, I grieve the ‘me’ that used to be. As I’m sure all do at some point.
As a youth, I never believed all the older members of society saying how hard life was. I was optimistic to a fault and believed life was fairies and butterflies. There are still moments of glory and beauty. Thankfully my family is the one who shares those moments with me. But it is hard. And it’s ok to realize that, accept it, grieve your losses and move on. It doesn’t mean you aren’t happy in your current circumstances, it doesn’t mean you don’t love your family, it just means you are taking one more step toward personal growth.