I recently saw a picture Eimear Varian Barry had tagged on her Instagram page of another mums' post Susie Verril who said that "she was happy to let motherhood define who she was". It's something I had a little think about. Before being "mummy" I was Triona, then I became a nurse and I was "nurse", it was who I was, then I met my husband and became his wife, often being referred to as "Pauls wife or being introduced as Paul's wife.I've never had an issue with any of these titles or it defining who I was, because, I worked hard to become the best nurse I could be, so being defined as nurse was something I was proud of. Meeting my husband and getting married was something I had dreamed of all my life, I wanted the happily ever after, so again I was totally fine and proud to be called and defined as his wife, I didn't feel I'd lost my identity, I had just gained another part of who I was! Now I'm a mother, mum,mom,mommy,mummy, Mammy whatever you call it,and it 100% defines who I am right now in my life. And that's absolutely ok. I love it, I love that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to gain that title and I'm happy that it's who people see me as when I'm with my children. When at work, my patients just see me as the nurse looking after them, once I get talking to them, I always let them know about my two smallies….because it's actually who I really am.Their mum, Pauls wife, the ED nurse that looks after you and then Triona.
“Mommy? Momma? Mommyyyyy?” I hear the pleas from the bathroom and realise I am needed, to wipe a bum, to turn on the taps, it's something she needs ME to do. I've just woken up from two busy night shifts, the house has to be cleaned, I need to to post Mother Day Cards, pick up Amelia's birthday presents, dinner needs to be put on and a stinking nappy needs to be changed. It all sounds so mundane. And for many women, it would be. For me, it just makes me happy. They are all reminders that I am doing something I had hoped to do my whole life- be a parent. I have realised lately, after reading Susie's post, despite fighting this notion for years, that being a mum does define me. And I am perfectly ok with it.
I had my children soon after getting married and that was by design. I wanted to be a mother, full stop. I was excited anticipating all aspects of parenthood. When I first had my daughter, I did go through times where it panicked me to think of motherhood defining me, especially living in London where I had a great social life in the centre of the city after long shifts at work. I could just do what I wanted.There were solo car rides where I would blast music, the 3 holidays a year, the unplanned meals out. These feelings intensified ehen Harry was very young, where taking care of a toddler and a baby left little time for anything else. I felt stripped of everything that defined me previously- reduced to this person that existed solely to keep children alive. I felt lost at times and wondered if “just” being a mother was enough.
Over time, I began to realise- I was not lost. I was found. I still had my personality but I had a whole new dimension added when my kids were born. I began to see it as something to celebrate rather than mourn. I am a mother. Even in the worst moments, this was still an amazing thing to me. As much as I was proud of my dancing abilities and my ability to make nice dinners, I quickly came to see that I was most proud of being a good mother. And there is nothing wrong with that.
It is not that I don’t do anything for myself- I certainly do, I purposely recently have made sure to have time out each week, be it get my nails done, go for a walk, a coffee or even do a solo grocery shop on a weekday night. I still have outside interests. I still have friendships and thoughts all my own that have nothing to do with my kids. But when it comes down to it, my kids are my favorite aspect of my life and the title of Mother is the one I’m most proud of. Does it mean I expect other mothers to feel the same way or that I look down on the ones that openly fight the idea of motherhood being their defining accomplishment? Nope, not at all. I am all about you doing you. I just know that me doing me means defining myself by my role as a mother. Not completely, but mostly.
I write this because for a long time, I hid these feelings and tried to deny them. I see it so often- the insistence that we are not JUST mothers- as if that is somehow shameful to admit. That we cannot lose ourselves in parenthood and our children because we still matter. And I know that I DO still matter- but being a mother is what fulfills me most of all. I’m sure as my kids get older, my identity as a mother will shift and change and I don’t expect them to be the center of my universe forever. But for now, it fits. And that is completely fine by me, I'll proudly raise my squad under the definition "Mummy".
*Check out Renandgem for more Motherhood Apparel like my jumper pictured above!
T, A & H xxxxxx