Last summer, just as the Guys were almost six months old, I auditioned for a local community theatre production of Shrek: The Musical. I chose this particular theatre group because their summer productions are open cast, as in everyone gets a part no matter what. All in all there were about 200 people in the show, 75 adults and 125 kids.
I was originally just in the ensemble but someone dropped out of the show so I ended up with a very small singing role, Mama Ogre. I was super excited about that and had a lot of fun with it.
I know that doing this show was a huge step for me. Up until that moment I was really in my Mom Shell and not involved with the world much. The show helped me get out and talk to other adults and carve out some time for myself. Shortly after it finished I ended up running again. I know it sounds cheesy, but I doing the show helped me realize I needed to find some time for me, that my entire identity was not wrapped up in being a mom.
A few weeks ago I auditioned for the same community theatre group. I made it to callbacks. I don't have THE BEST singing voice, I will be honest. I can sing, don't get me wrong, but I'm no Broadway belter.
The cast list was posted on Friday and I ended up getting a very large part. I was so shocked that I almost started crying at my desk.
I love being a mom. I love my sons more than I really thought was possible. But, I know I am a BETTER mom when I take time out of my life with them to do stuff for me. I'm not a big drinker or partier so I don't go out for cocktails. I'm not on a bowling league or anything like that. I plan my runs for the super early morning or when they are napping on weekends so I don't miss out on time with them. Taking the two nights a week for rehearsals (up until Tech Week) isn't going to scar them for life.
This is a bit rambly, I know, but bear with me.
When my boys were just over twelve weeks old, I went to my first and only meeting of a twin moms group. There were women there of ALL ages but I was clearly the one with the youngest set of kids. A few women commented on how surprised they were to see me out of the house. I distinctly remember one woman saying, "I didn't leave the house until they were over a year old."
This bothered me a lot at the time. I didn't feel it was said in a kind way, I felt very judged, like I was doing something bad leaving them at that young. I am a full time working mom so I was already leaving them to go to work and feeling guilty about that.
I'm getting to the point, I promise.
What I am trying to say to you reading this, to any new mom who maybe is feeling super overwhelmed or a mom of a toddler or any mom who is possibly feeling guilty for wanting to get away from her kids, and to me who feels guilt, too...what I'm saying is it's OK. It's OK to be a PERSON and not just MOM. You are allowed to take time for yourself. You are allowed to discover a new hobby or go back to an old one. Your life does not have to revolve around your children. Your family will be better and stronger because of it.
And yes, you will probably feel guilty still (or not, whatever happens it's OK) and that's OK, too. You were a woman before you became a mother. A unique and individual snow flake. And the kind of woman you were then helped shape the mother you are now. Helping that woman grow isn't a bad thing. I promise.
And let the people judge. They don't know your life. As long as you and your family are happy, screw the haters. Although, maybe not literally. Unless that's the way you roll. Then to each their own.