This week is my birthday and my adult kids have been asking me questions like: “What do you want for your birthday?” and “Where do you want to eat?”
And, friends, I had no idea how to answer them.
What DID I want to do?
My mind raced with thoughts of which of my kids like which restaurant, what places might be too expensive for young families and which place has that free bread my grands love. My daughter called me on it and told me I was supposed to be thinking of where I wanted to go.
I immediately felt stressed.
I simply could not untangle my desires from the wants and needs of my children and grandchildren. And, it wasn’t their fault. It was me. I spent so many years putting my needs last that now that everyone is raised, I have forgotten how to put myself first.
And, I’m not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of that fact.
Yes, my kids turned out great. They are all empathetic, wonderful people. And, because they were showered with love while they were growing up, they are so generous when loving others. And, that’s the upside of the way I parented.
But, did I need to put myself last? Was that a necessary part of being a mom? Where should the line have been drawn?
I see pictures of moms on social media and it seems like some of them are off on couple’s getaways or out with friends more than they are at home. And, I admit that it makes me feel a little “judgy”. They do seem to be having a lot of fun. But, are their kids wishing mom was at home more? Or, are they learning to thrive without mom always around?
Did I miss out on a lot by shoving my needs to the back burner during my young mom years? Should I have gone out more? Or, did my kids benefit in unseen ways because of my decisions?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. And, obviously I still haven’t learned where to draw that line. I think my daughters do a better job of juggling motherhood and taking care of themselves than I ever did. And, that makes me very happy.
My kids are trying very hard to teach me to put myself first sometimes, but old habits die hard. So, when they pushed me for an answer, I finally picked a restaurant. And, don’t tell them but it was the one that had the bread my grandkids like!
How do you balance motherhood with your own needs? Are you happy with where you have drawn the line?