I Love Being a Mother to My Kids, But I Still Want to Be Significant to the World

Day in and day out, I sit here and struggle with my feelings, torn apart by my own ambitions, desires, dreams, and guilt.

I already know you’re going to take issue with me. I know this because I take issue with me too.

I love my kids fiercely. Love them. I love spending time with them – teaching them, playing with them, and having quiet moments together. They bring me joy and I take mothering seriously. But I do feel bored on some level...unfulfilled in some way. Call it what you will.

The fact is being a mom isn’t that hard. At least not to me. The tasks are tedious. They’re endless. They’re mindless and boring. That word again. They have gotten a bit more interesting as my children have grown up and there’s more to engage with and interact over. But growing up also means seeing less of them, what with school, friends, and all the activities going on.

The mindlessness, the tedium, the loneliness, and the idea that self-volunteered servitude is the goal…that’s what’s hard. Otherwise (assuming you have a typical child), it’s just a whole lot of mundane tasks and petty squabbles. No real biggie.

So while my kids fill my whole heart, my mind needs something more. And no, it’s definitely not another baby.

When I was in architecture school, a male professor told the class that the reason why there aren’t many great female architects out there is because women stop creating once they give birth….that the creation of another human being is so utterly fulfilling that they just have no desire to make anything else again.

If that’s the case, then why do I still dream of doing something more? Why do I want to create and build and make marks on this Earth? Why do I want to tear down the walls and the constructs and the sanctimonious soapboxes that tell me I should feel fulfilled?

Why am I both angry and empty? Can’t I be a mother and something else too? Like a burger and a side of fries? I mean, you still give priority to the burger right? The fries just round the whole meal out. Is that greedy? Am I greedy? Am I egotistical?

I love being a mother to my kids. But it just isn’t enough. Not for me. I still want to be significant to the world. And admitting that, I know, is crazy. Which is why when the thought surfaces, I spiral down into the guilt. Beat myself up…what’s wrong with me? Not woman enough? Not a good mother? Selfish? Or selfless…because I feel like I have more to give?

They say there’s no I in team…there’s also no me in motherhood. But does it have to be so self-effacing? So all consuming? And why does a ‘good mother’ need to be measured in selflessness anyways?

If my kids are supposed to be my calling…am I done? Is it over? Was that my big accomplishment? Then why am I still here? I just can’t come to terms with the idea that this is it. This is what the whole rest of my life should be. That at 34 years old, motherhood is my new identity, my purpose, my calling.

Making babies….that’s supposedly a way to leave your mark on the world. But they’re their own people with their own marks to make. They’re not my project. They’re my kids. They’re their own beings that I love, guide, teach, and discipline. But they are not my purpose in life.

“Don’t look for happiness outside yourself.” That’s a truism banally thrown around. It makes sense though, doesn’t it? My kids are a source of my happiness but they can't be the only source. That wouldn't be fair to them anyways.

I want to leave my own print on the world, no matter how small. My mark. Why do I feel so guilty for it?

Tags : confessions   motherhood   

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