A few days ago, someone shared a video on Facebook of Jada Pinkett-Smith discussing what it means to be a wife and mother. Being someone who is so impatient that I don’t even want to watch a 30 second long video, I watched all Six Minutes and Twenty-Two seconds of this one. It really resonated with me, people. What she says in the video, essentially, is that as wives and mothers, women are expected to sacrifice everything. She says that we even forget to take care of ourselves because we are so busy taking care of others, to include our spouses and children. This is because the messaging we receive as mothers is that your child(ren) become everything and your function in life is now all about them.
I thought this hit me because it is probably the first time since I’ve become a mother that someone has said what I felt. It feels almost shameful to want to do things for me, have a career, go back to school, not want to be a stay at home mom. As moms, we are expected to throw our entire being into mothering. It becomes our identity. It is very hard in this day and age to really express your idea of motherhood because of all these stupid “mommy wars”. Everyone is different and they want different things. One thing I could never get my mind around was completely changing my identity when I became a mother. As I watched people I knew completely change, I knew I didn’t feel the same way. It almost felt wrong that I didn’t just morph into a mom and start referring to myself as “this mama” and things like that.
For me, being a mother is wonderful. I mean I love it, I love my little dude, but being a mom is just one of my attributes. It never became my full identity. I am still a wife, student, (half-assed)blogger, Harry Potter fan, Drag Queen stan, food eater, bookworm, nosy and I LOVE watching TV. Most of that has nothing to do with motherhood. It took such a long time for me to get out of the new mom haze and back to feeling like my normal self after my son was born, but I did get back there and I feel that I am a better mother for it because I do still have dreams and goals that I want to accomplish for myself.
What I worry about especially for my friends is that when their full identity is “Mother”, who will they be when the kids grow up? Will there be an identity crisis when the kids leave the house? Do they know what they like to do? What about hobbies? I don’t think anyone should hinge their whole identity on one aspect of life. As Jada says in the video, if she doesn’t pursue her own dreams, then she will depend on her children to live her dreams for her and it isn’t fair to the child.
This is not meant to be judgmental and if it comes off that way, I sincerely apologize. Do you, boo. I don’t want anyone telling me how to live either. I just want all of my people to be happy and to make sure they know themselves and are taking care of themselves. If you do, you will automatically be at your best when it comes to the kidlets. But I believe you have to do things for yourself as well.