When Mom Wants to Run Away
Today is one of those days where I want to run away. I woke up this morning with a cloud just hanging over my head and feeling defeated by life.
For as long as I can remember I've struggled with finding my identity and feeling claustrophobic with the world around me. As early as 10-years-old, I remember feeling worn out from so many moves and struggling to make friends, that I'd decided that running away to California to become a famous actress would solve all my problems. By 14, it wasn't California, but New York and I was going to become a successful Marketing professional working in the Empire State Building or World Trade Center. I wasn't going to marry until I was in my 30's and then, IF I had kids, I'd have enough money to hire a full time cook, housekeeper, and nanny!
In high school, I was constantly changing my identity to try and fit in. Literally, I'd be wearing black pleather pants and listening to alternative music one day and putting on my high heels with tight Capri pants the next. My hair was always going from long to short to long again with bangs and no bangs. I wanted to fit in with the crowd that didn't care and never showered, but was always trying to impress the preps of the band. High School was a disaster for me as I struggled with who my parents wanted me to be and who I wanted to be.
Which is why when I turned 18 I ran away to Oklahoma State University where I was hundreds of miles from anyone I knew. I so desperately wanted college to be the high school experience I never had, and discover who I truly was. But instead of reinventing myself and breaking out of my shell, I made the mistake of going potluck and found myself stuck with an ultra-popular cheerleader roommate who was from Oklahoma and came to school with a million friends. Once again, I was that shy little girl, lost in the crowd.
Fortunately, it wasn't too long into my Freshman year that Tim and I started dating, and I discovered the me that was comfortable in my own skin. And what I found was that I was a shy, caring person who loved t-shirts and jeans. I was confident with myself and where I was going. I began succeeding in school and even graduated Magna Cum Laude. At 22, I was a college graduate, married to my best friend, and starting a career in teaching. I felt like I'd finally become the person I'd always wanted to be. My life was laid out in front of me.
Then the unexpected happened. After three years and some major emotional breakdowns, I realized the path I'd chosen wasn't for me. I once again ran away in a completely opposite direction. Through a series of random events, I landed in a job I loved, and once again, remembered what it was like to be happy.
Most of you know what happens next, this is where my blog started. After two years of discovering new talents and skills at a job I loved, I felt God calling me to be a stay-at-home mom. I was having to leave that security and comfort and reinvent myself once again.
Flash forward 18 months later...
As I started going over our budget last night, it hit me: I'm turning 30 next month, living in the middle of suburbia, and contemplating a minivan. I'm 20 weeks pregnant and currently mothering a toddler who thinks he's hit the terrible twos. My once wonderful life of work responsibilities, travel, (practically) unlimited spending, and free weekends is a memory that is still painfully fresh. Where am I?? Who am I??
It was as if the walls were closing in around me and I felt stuck. And in my head, I couldn't help but wonder what life would be like if I just... ran away.
Well, for starters, I'd be a single mother come January. But besides that, it caused me to want to really think about who I've become and how I got here.
I'm not the perfect mother who can miraculously pull amazing learning experiences from a hat. I'm not the successful working woman I've always wanted to be. Instead, I often feel like I'm a mediocre wife and mother just going through life; surviving one day at a time, but not really living or taking advantage of the life God has given me.
Obviously, I won't run away. I love my husband and I love my son. I also couldn't be more excited (and scared) about this miracle that's about to come into our lives, but I need to find a way to once again discover who I am. But this time, I have to find out who I am with all these limitations. How do you discover talents and skills when you don't have the time to learn a new craft? How do you learn new interests or hobbies when there's a child tagging along with you everywhere you go?
Or is that the point of being a mother? Giving up yourself for the life of others: no interests, no talents, no time.
I don't think I can accept that.
Photo Credit: ag2r.