Kat's Story: Mommy and Me
For as far back as I can remember, I’ve been an independent thinker. Free spirit, I’ve been told. I’ve never really let anyone else’s ideas of what I should be or who I should be define who I am. In fact, I down right rebel against it. Labels just don’t fit well on my skin, ya know? Fast forward to now, at 30 years old, a married momma of one free thinking two year old, and.. (dare I say out loud?) working.
So, let’s talk labels. The term “mom”, I think, in general encompasses a lot of different ideas. Aside from not being the stereotypical clean house, hot meal sort of wife/mom combo, there’s the choice I made to go back to work. While most have been no questions asked kind of supportive, I get the inevitable question from time to time, “don’t you miss your kid?”. Well, heck yes I do. But you know who else I miss? Me.
I’ve no doubt been busy since I brought this beautiful little boy into the world (I say me, because let’s face it, I didn’t see my husband sporting stitches in his unmentionables), and even before that I’ve been supporting my husband on his military career journey while simultaneously trying to propel my career in a new direction, and moving state to state. So I guess, in a way, you could say I’ve had some practice at this balance thing. I stopped working 6 weeks before our son was born, and I was also going to school at the time. I always thought I would go back after those first three months, but the time came and went and I couldn’t leave my baby boy. So, we made it work, as a lot of us do. But as he grew, and the more challenging it became, I found myself standing still, and hating myself for it. I needed an outlet or I was going to EXPLODE y’all.
The decision I made to go back to work didn’t come lightly (even with the feeling of explosion at the ready), and some days I wonder if it’s worth it. The obvious reason was financially, it made the most sense (see: new homeowner. Also, see mistakes as new homeowner). But mostly, I needed to find myself again. I needed a few hours in the week to myself to think clearly and solely about who I was pre-parent. At first, this was amazing for me. I felt refreshed, and new. But as most things do, the newness wore off, and I found myself wondering if I had made the right choice, and still feeling unfulfilled.
Financially, my job is unpredictable. I am a licensed massage therapist who specializes in Neuromuscular and Sports massage. Most people see what I do as a luxury buy, which I can certainly argue differently, but I see their point. On top of juggling this new transition for myself and our son, my husband deployed shortly after I went back to work, which made this a whole lot more interesting. The struggle to find balance has been real. Between doctors visits, home repairs (kitchen renovation, issues thanks to Hurricane Matthew), illnesses, etc, we’ve had a real awakening of sorts. I’ve come to realize that work life and mom life don’t mesh as seamlessly as I had dreamed for. Because, realistically, I’m a solo parent relying on a very small village of people I’ve known for less than a year. So it has really had me wondering, "Is there a balance?" Can you really be a mom in 2016 and be the goal oriented person you once were, or do we just push all that aside until we’re done raising our babies? Society has mixed answers on this, which I think we get WAY too wrapped up in.
My answer always circles back around to yes. I can do this. And I always thought it would be for myself, but really it’s for my whole family. I want to show my son that his mother did what she wanted to do with her life. That no matter what, don’t you dare give up on who you are and what you want to accomplish. Because in the end, y’all, we only get one life. And I don’t plan on spending it looking through a window. I’m going to find a way to go out there and grab it. Because that’s who I am, and who I’ve always been, and it is a non negotiable.
I’ve already taken my next step, which for me, is a college degree. Something I’ve been trying to do for ten years. What will yours be? Whatever it is, go get it, Momma.