The Gift of Motherhood and The Journey Back to Me: Susanne V.

This week leading to Mother's Day we are continuing to celebrate the diversity of strength in being a mother from a variety of viewpoints. 

This project has been a remarkable experience to share with Susanne.  A 36 year old friendship brings a deep connection and an honest relationship.  Sometimes its business, but many of our conversations are about life, work, buying homes, shift-working husbands, and above all else, being a mom.  Mid-week we had a conversation that brought both of us to tears.  Motherhood is tricky.  We constantly put ourselves under the microscope and often feel as though we are falling short stumbling our way through, while others compasionately recognize how hard we are working at doing what it takes. 

I adore this post Susanne has written about finding herself once again.  When you become a mother, your world is forever changed.  The focus shifts and you are overcome with an incredible amount of love for your tiny little babe that you never thought possible.  Many mothers quickly lose sight of themselves and though the journey back is gruelling, it is so very important.  

I am grateful Susanne has found clarity through the trenches of motherhood and embraced these beautiful characteristics that combine to make her a wonderful mother, daughter, friend, and woman.  Through raising our children, it's imperative that we understand, appreciate, and value ourselves for who we are, as often our children are simply our reflection staring back at us, as Raina is to her.  Please read on and be inspired by Susanne's story of the gift of motherhood and how it led her back. 

Strong.  Independent.  Confident.  Emotional.  

These are words that have always been used to describe me:  whether during interviews, at work, playing sports or just conversing with people.  These are the same words that I would use to describe my 3 year old daughter Raina, and I do so with pride.  

What no one tells you about motherhood is that it is pretty damn hard.  The struggle to balance it all: being a mother, working on your career, marriage, friends, family, and finding time to make yourself a priority is real.  Often I feel like I am failing, but I think what is most important is that I am doing my best at being a mom, just like every other mother out there.  I lost myself for a while.  When I went back to work after my maternity leave, I spent a couple of VERY tough years struggling with my identity.  Within the last year, with a lot of introspection and self-reflection, everything came full circle to the same four qualities.  I am strong, independent, confident and emotional: the same as I have always been, but perhaps motherhood has magnified all of these qualities within me, in a way I could never have predicted.

Being a mom has made me strong in ways that I didn't know I would have to be.  I have had to make my physical strength and my body a priority. First of all, just to be able to keep up to her and match her energy.  Secondly, so that she can see that I make myself a priority and take care of myself; and that I am always willing and able to push and stretch my physical limits in hopes that she will always do so too.  I have also had to be strong in setting my boundaries and making time for what is important to me: my health, my family, my passions, and my career.  Sometimes this means that I have to say no to things I may not have in the past.

Physically, mentally, and intellectually I am incredibly independent.  I always have been.  I like that I am self-reliant and have my own interests and passions.  Having a child makes you look at your independence in a different way.  I am still just as self-reliant, but I am thankful to have a husband who is supportive of my independent nature.  I believe that in rediscovering my passions and interests, I am showing my daughter that being sure of herself and finding her voice and passion are equally important.

This is an area that I have ALWAYS struggled with, and continue to struggle with as a mother: yet it is the one attribute that people use time and time again to describe me.  I often find that working in my career, coaching when I can, being a mother, co-founding a business and making time for myself, makes me feel like I am floundering like a fish out of water.  How can I be a good mother while I am busy doing the rest of what I do?  Well, I think that the biggest reason I can pull off this confidence (even when I struggle with it) is because being a mom has forced me to be more authentic.  I am who I am, and I don't try to pretend to be otherwise.  I am crass, I swear too much.  I'm opinionated, I get annoyed easily and I can cry at the drop of a hat.  I get stressed at things that are out of my control, and I question if I am doing the right thing (especially when it comes to parenting), but when I laugh, it is with abandon.  What I never do is pretend to be someone that I am not.  I think that the biggest lesson my mom passed down to me, is to be who you really are, and never apologize for it.  People can see through your bullshit, and if someone doesn't like who you truly are, you really are better off without them.  I have lost, maintained and gained friendships since becoming a mother and making the decision to be my most authentic self.

I cry.  I yell.  I laugh.  I feel.  Blessing or curse?  I don't know.  My heart is on my sleeve all of the time, and I feel that being a mother has made me more empathetic than I have ever been in my life.  What I do know is that "finding" myself again after becoming a mom, and figuring out how to "do it all" has been incredibly challenging, but it has been worth it.  Why?  Because as a mother, I have never experienced so much love in my heart.

So, when someone describes Raina as Strong, Independent, Confident and Emotional my heart bursts and swells with love and pride.  She didn't come by those traits without some guidance, and I hope those are characteristics she will ALWAYS have and that they will continue to grow and shape her into adulthood.

Being a mother is one of the hardest and most beautiful things that you can experience.  I'm just doing the best that I can, and I hope that all of you can see how amazingly you are doing as well.

~I didn't lose myself when I became a mother.  I found myself.~

1 comment:

  1. WOW.
    So honest.
    I love the honesty Susanne. Bravo.
    Being a Mom is really really hard. I agree.
    One child, 3 children or 10, it's stinking hard.
    Thank you for sharing with us.
    Makes me smile!