The “Me” Before You: Who I Was Before I Was “Mom”

Dear Small Children,

Please sit down and look at my face. This may come as a surprise, but I was not always your Mom.  Children, please sit down criss-cross-applesauce and listen quietly.

It’s true, before you were born, I was kind of a different person and there were things I used to do that I just don’t do anymore, or at least, I don’t do them much anymore.

I used to be pretty spontaneous.  By spontaneous, I mean that maybe I would just stop at Starbucks on my way to an appointment for work.  Hell, maybe I’d make two or three stops – just leisurely getting in and out of my 2 door Camry Solara.    Maybe I would decide at the last minute to meet up with a friend to listen to some live music after work.  Maybe I would enroll in a painting class at night, go for a swim, take a kickboxing class, and volunteer at a local teen shelter during my free time.   I would travel for work and take vacations with boyfriends or girlfriends or family.  I would go shopping for hours – trying on clothes and agonize over which clothes to buy since they all looked good on me.  Then I would just buy them all because I had already paid my rent and there really wasn’t much else to pay for anyway other than food and drinks with friends.  And I would do these things without a care in the world – without looking at my watch or wondering and worrying if some small portion of myself was okay.  I was blissfully unaware that my life was quite simple.

As easy and simple as life was, I can’t say that I was a better “Me” before I was “Mom.”  I was more care-free, slimmer & in-shape, younger,  more well-rested and fun-loving, but I was also sometimes careless, thoughtless, impatient, selfish, and ungrateful.

While I now agonize over how much you are eating, if you’re reaching your milestones, using your manners, and learning how to relate to your peers, I can’t help but long for the simplicity of the days when it was only “Me” I had to worry about and had no fear about setting a good example.  Sometimes I even wish that you could know the “Me” that would laugh more easily, and wouldn’t nag, or scold, or discipline you.  I used to feel like a fun person, and being a “Mom” doesn’t usually mean you get to be the life of the party – it usually means you’re the one responsible for ending it.

I’m not saying that I don’t have fun being a Mom or that I don’t laugh and goof around.  But I don’t do it without limitation – in other words, the party has to stop when it’s time to eat a healthy dinner, do your homework, practice your piano, brush your teeth, take a bath and go to bed.  There is a regimen to our days that wasn’t there before you were here.  There is a structure and routine that helps you to learn to be a responsible person.  So, in many ways, I want to try to blend the two “Me’s” so you can know us both – even if at a reasonable distance.  You need to know that sometimes the “Mean Mom” comes out because she has to, not because she wants to.  And the times that I’m not much fun are because I love you so much, that I want what is best for you and I want you to grow up having fun, but also being responsible and smart and strong.  I want all of these things and more for you.

You have made me “Mom” and you have made me better.  Now, it’s my turn to help make you better every day.  I love you.

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