Keeping Your Identity

A short while ago, the Photo Addict posted an entry about her single friends. She described how she thought it was important to have those childless friends to go out with every once in a while and have some fun on your own. She got a rather aggressive comment on the post in which the commenter accused her of being selfish and even blamed Little C’s delayed speech on her not spending enough time with him.

Me

Let me assure you right here, the Photo Addict is not out partying every night. Or if she is, she’s not inviting me, and if that’s the case then I shall stomp my foot and sever our friendship forever.

But beyond that, her post and the comment really made me think. As a Gen X Mom, I think it’s particularly hard for me because I had a very rich, full life before becoming a mother. I had friends, hobbies, interests, and was fiercely independent. The first time I picked up the phone and said, “Hi, it’s Mouse’s Mom,” it was shockingly bittersweet. On the one hand, Mouse was a long-awaited child and it was amazing to be able to call myself a mother, but on the other hand, I couldn’t help but think about how my identity is now defined in terms of another person. One I love very much, but someone who is not just me.

Also me

After a brief existential crisis, I decided I had no intention of ditching my own individual identity. I love being Mouse’s Mom, but I also love being The Scriv, and I don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. I think it’s important and healthy for moms to have an identity of their own. I’m not saying we should neglect our children, but getting out of the house or having something else to focus on not only recharges my batteries, it makes me a better mom. And I think it’s a good message to send to Mouse too. My family is absolutely the most important thing in my life, but it’s not the only important thing in my life.

But what does that mean, that I recharge my batteries, and how does that make me a better mom? Well, children take a lot of energy and patience. That last part is not my strong point. As a stay at home mom, most of my day revolves around Mouse, and while I love him and know I’m lucky to be with him, it’s also really draining to do the same thing over and over. It’s like I give, give, give all day until I have nothing to give anymore, and then do it all the next day, and the next. That’s what’s draining. And when I get drained, the first thing to go is my patience. So what does a drained person do to get refilled? The fun times with Mouse certainly help, but I also find that the best way to refill is to take, take, take. And to do that, I need something other than Mouse. I need to take it easy, take care of myself, take time to socialize with my friends, take a moment to savor that I don’t need to keep an eye on my busy boy constantly. That’s what refills me. And when I’m refilled and recharged, I have more patience and I’m much more able to recognize the positive than get bogged down in the difficulty.

So a couple of months ago I celebrated my non-mom identity. Three of my childless friends and I went up to the cabin for the weekend–just us girls. We tobaggoned, we sipped wine by the fire, we painted our toenails, we ate a lot, and I didn’t change a single diaper. Did I miss Mouse? Sure.

But I’m already mentally planning the next cabin trip.

Sadly, also me

Single Friends

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I’m a mom, I think by now that goes without saying.  I am also married to a wonderful man, in fact, we just celebrated 6 years of wedded bliss this past Sunday.  We love to entertain and host parties, which usually consists of our married friends, not all of them have children, but most do have significant others.  I do miss one thing about these parties/get-togethers… my single friends.

Yes, I am 34, married and I have single friends.  Some of them over 10 years younger than me!  Why are my single friends so important to me?  Let me explain.  As a mom, sometimes you get a little relaxed.  You know what I’m talking about, maybe you’ve worn your hair back in a ponytail for over a week, the t-shirt stained with baby spit-up seems to be your daily uniform and your average conversation always seems to come full circle back to your kids.  I live in that reality everyday, and while I love my children and my family, it can get a bit, well… monotonous.

Now, my single friends on the other hand are on the prowl.  They keep their bodies tight,  their clothes oh so fashionable, and they could care less about children.  They don’t truly care whether or not little C is behind in his speech, or if Big E is doing well on his transition between elementary school and Junior High.  And to be honest, I find it very refreshing and humbling to be around people like that.  I so enjoy my nights out with my single friends.  It keeps me on my toes, I make sure I have the trendy outfit so I don’t stick out like a sore thumb and scream that I’m the married mom of the group.  It makes me remember to wax my eyebrows so that it doesn’t look like I have those black fuzzy caterpillars growing above my eyes, to cover the gray hair that started back when I was 25 and to dust off the cute high heels I once used to wear to show off my butt.  In a nutshell, it keep me on my game, which essentially keeps my husband a happy man.

I think every mom needs single friends.  And I’m not talking about the single, stay home and love their cats single girl, I’m talking about the single, hot, friday club going friends that keep you young and in-tune of what is cool.  I am pretty hip to begin with, and maintaining my friendship with my single friends keeps me there.  Just because they’re single doesn’t mean when you go out with them you need to be worried about other guys.  A good friend knows your taken and wont make you feel uncomfortable.  I have the best single friends in the world, and to be honest… I just might be sad when they get snatched up and hitched!

So lets all raise a martini glass and say cheers to those friends that are NOT plus one.

The Photo Addict