“Hi Ava’s Mom!”
I hear this on a daily basis. From kids who know my name. But for some reason, I’m not always Ms. Sean to them, I’m Ava’s Mom. I am both thankful for and annoyed with this phrase. While Ava is the center of my universe, there’s so much more to me than just being someone’s mom.
When we got pregnant, we made it clear that this amazing child was coming into our world and that our job was to make her fit in to our way of life. It sounds selfish as I write this, but in all honesty, what benefit would it be to her to know that she rules our house? That we stopped our own lives to cater to her every need? In my experience, nothing good ever comes of parents who give up 100% of themselves when they have kids. This just breeds brats with severe entitlement issues. But really, it’s much more than that. One day our little ones will move on and then what will be left? What if your spouse loses their job or you get divorced? Or one of you dies?
Don’t lose yourself so much while giving to others that you cripple your own future. If you have hobbies before you have children, don’t lose sight of them. If you are passionate about a cause, please volunteer. Don’t forget to exercise. Go to the dentist. If you want to write or blog or anything else, by all means do it. You never know what the future holds.
The truth is that our lives have changed significantly in the past six years. We no longer party into the wee hours on weeknights or take off to New Orleans for a weekend on a whim. We fund a 529 plan and spend hours at gymnastics and ballet lessons. Living in a neighborhood with lots of kids and good schools trumps nightlife and trendy cafes. But what hasn’t changed is my sense of self. I am a mom, but it doesn’t solely define who I am.
I work full time (although I’d love to work half as much) and finished a master’s degree this year. I have side businesses and ambitions for growth and early retirement. And I feel that Ava appreciates these things. She sees that I can do anything I put my mind to and there’s no reason she can’t either. My independence and ambition encourages her to succeed and to be independent as well. Most importantly, if something ever happens to CW, I can hold our heads above water.
Being a mom has improved my quality of life. It’s the icing on the cake. I don’t want to even think of a world where Ava is not my daughter. But I also don’t want to live in a world where my existence is an afterthought.