Dear Married Friends,
They say that when you get married, two lives become one. What they don’t tell you is that somewhere between the time he proposed to you, to the time you’re running a taxi service for your childrens’ soccer teams, you lose yourself. Some may say that it’s not as much losing yourself as it is acquiring other roles. I’ve talked about my divorce and journey in previous posts and also the biggest lessons I’ve learned about marriage.
I beg to differ my friends. Most women transition from the role of daughter, to girlfriend, to fiancé, to wife, to mother without ever realizing that they’ve morphed into a completely different person. Somewhere along the line, you bury a part of yourself that made you…YOU. You become the dutiful wife and/or career woman. Your life becomes the day to day routine of go to work, come home, make dinner, chit chat with the husband.
Eventually you add the responsibilities of becoming a mother to this mix and can proudly add the title of Super Mom on your woman resumé of life. You go to social events dictated by your community and family circle. The evenings and weekends are filled with dinner parties, birthday parties, weddings, soccer games. Where in there is time for yourself?
It’s a rare bird that has allowed this luxury to exist. Yes, I call it a luxury rather than a right because that is what you have allowed it to become. You place everyone’s needs and happiness above your own. Fine, I get it, you’re a nurturer, and you love to do all of these domestic and family things – as did I. But also allow some time to nurture your own interests and growth apart from your familial obligations. Become a woman who is defined by you, your passions, your interests, and your diversity rather than by your husband and children.
As hard as it may be for you to believe, your family will not fall apart if you spend the day pampering yourself at the spa, having brunch with friends, going to a dinner and show with your girls or heaven forbid….a weekend away to celebrate a special event with other lady friends. Allow yourself to not be tied at the hip or the apron strings to your family.
Trust that your husbands will indeed care for and feed your children with the same love and attention you would. Stop micro managing every aspect of their life. Allow them to spend time together…away from you. Let them, in turn, build special memories just as you will. It’s okay to not be a part of each other’s lives 24/7.
Some of you forget that it’s okay to have friends and interests outside of your marriage and family life. Remember, there was a time you didn’t have a husband and children. YOU defined yourself. We, as wives and mothers, tend to forget that we are more than just that. You must remind yourself that you are more than a daughter, a wife, a sister, a mother. You are your own person first and foremost. Every other role you take on in your life builds upon the foundation you laid down with your interests, passions, dreams, aspirations, goals, values and experiences.
Yes, clearly I have many regrets about the married life I led. One of the biggest is not allowing the necessary means to nurture my own interests and passions. You call me and complain about how stressed you are with the obligations you have and WISH you had it as easy as me. You forget that you have created the very monster that you complain about. When we attempt to make plans to get together ,your excuse every time, is that you have to take the kids to soccer, or make dinner for guests and family from out of town, or run to the airport to pick up so and so.
This shows to me that:
1) You don’t have support from your husband when it comes to help with the kids and other obligations.
2) You are a control freak that can’t let go of the fact that your family will be okay without you. You can’t accept that you may not be as needed as you think.
3) You don’t really have any other interests.
Am I being unfair to you with this conclusion? Maybe. But likely not.
I was in your shoes once. I would also be defensive and say that I’m choosing to do this and happy to sacrifice the selfishness of “me” times and days. No dear friend, that is not an acceptable excuse any longer. For the sake of your happiness, which will ultimately be a huge factor on your family’s happiness, do yourself, them and ME a favor and rid yourself of this guilt that only you have burdened yourself with. Share the reigns of the family’s overall well-being with your husband and release the woman that is you! Learn to enjoy the things in life that make you smile and laugh. Indulge in champagne and strawberry filled gigglefests with your girlfriends. Most importantly, allow yourself to be the woman that you are and embrace the woman that these individual moments away from your Mom and Wife obligations will allow you to become.
My friend, I say this to you because we spend all of our lives making everyone around us happy, except ourselves. We feed off the happiness of our loved ones, but at the price of sacrificing things and moments that would also make us happy. Don’t deny yourself this right– it should not be a luxury.
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