Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More than a Mom

First of all, thanks for all the comments! I never thought I'd have a blog, and now I have a blog with followers! And some of you I haven't even met before. I am honored that you would read my little ramblings.

When my third child was about a year old and my oldest was around 5, which would have made my middle child two, my husband took up biking as a hobby. He started bike commuting, I bought him a nice bike for his birthday, and he did a mini-triathlon. Nice, healthy hobby. And then he brought up the idea of taking a 5-night bike trip with a buddy. Looking back on it, I have no idea why this seemed like a big deal to me. Maybe it was because I had two children under two and had just endured a move and total remodel of our house. Maybe it was hormones. Anyhow, his simple request turned into an identity crisis for me.

You see, my dear husband offered me a trade-off trip. And I realized that I had no place to go and no one to go there with. And that, in turn, made me realize that I had no identity beyond mom. My main hobby was scrapbooking, which centers around my children. I read parenting books. I shopped for cute children's clothes, or clothes for me that were easy-care for the cheerio slime my children wiped on me and easy-access for nursing. I read parenting blogs. I went on girls' weekends with a nursing baby in tow. I had nothing that was just mine, like biking had become for my husband.

In the end I took a trip to England with my parents as my trade-off week, so the immediate crisis had passed.

But the question of who am I besides MOM still rankled. Eventually I took up jewelry-making, found a ministry outlet at church that was unrelated to children, and joined a neighborhood Bible study with women further along the life journey. I had once again found myself. And in the process I had learned something important: a mom needs to be more than a mom.

It's easy to wrap ourselves in our children. After all, they take up endless amounts of time and energy. We love them dearly and would sacrifice anything for them. And we want to do this job well, because so much is at stake. But our children and husband can easily become our idols if we're not careful.

We can't give our best to our families if we haven't cared for ourselves in some way.

That should start, of course, with time spent at the feet of Jesus. As Christians, we are first of all daughters of the King. That's where our identity comes from--our Creator has saved us from sin and self and adopted us as a beloved daughter.

Beyond that, it's important to figure out some way to honor the gifts and interests He has placed in us. When our children are still at home, we are mainly moms--that is our primary calling--but we are not only moms.

What is that thing you've always wanted to do "when the kids are older"? Carve out some time and finances and take a step toward that goal. If you don't have something in mind, find a park district class that looks fun and sign up for it. Find a hobby that is unrelated to your kids. Do something that is just for you. It'll make you a better mom and a more interesting person.

Your turn: what is your "more than a mom" hobby? Or what do you want to start doing, if you don't already have one?


  1. Agreed 100%, Nance :). Doug used to tell me to 'take the night off' and go do something fun. Go where? With who? Not the most encouraging thoughts :). As you know teaching Zumba had been one fun outlet. Also, knitting and creating beautiful things for my home and my kids has also met that need to nurture my abilities and inspire me for less exciting things like laundry.

  2. Thanks, Nancy. Nice encapsulation. I thought my identity crisis came watching you do scrapbooking--that seemed like a step ahead! I'm trying to carve out babysitting space to do an MA along with Jeff in Biblical Studies--this is actually what I want to do. I pushed him into it, and then realized I want to do it too. I may get to, babysitting anyone? MB

  3. so well said Nancy...something that hit me smack in the head this past yr and when summer rolled around I knew something had to give and this Mama needed some me time...BIG time...I feel humbled and blessed to have outlets that although in a way they are for more family like scrapping and Disney...they are for me. And I am lucky to be able to partake in them!