Mother and daughter take selfie in the woods.


Who Will I Be When The Heavy Lifting Of Motherhood Is Done?

May 17, 2018

I’m preparing for a mom identity crisis. It will be my second so far.

The first one came 11 years ago, after the birth of my daughter. It happened when that big beach ball tummy I had been proudly displaying suddenly turned into an actual baby. Funny, I didn’t see that coming...

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I had put so much time and effort into just being pregnant, I never actually gave much thought to what comes next. In the throes of labour I recall thinking — wait, have I ever even held a baby?

And while I’m still in the thick of motherhood, I can see that my job will soon be downsized. It has me thinking — what’s next?

Reality hit hard at the pediatrician’s office while waiting for my daughter’s first appointment: A pack of little drooling, crawling, crying creatures surrounded my husband and I as we clutched our newborn bundle. Beside us a couple discussed — in painstaking detail — the pros and cons of moving their toddler’s naptime. I suddenly realized we had entered the brave new world of little children and there was no turning back. Frankly, I wasn’t so sure I was up to the job.

Flash forward 11 years and I can happily report that I’m all in. Gooey little rug rats no longer scare me — I adore their tiny faces, I feel compassion for their wee cries and I can wipe up a kid’s snot without batting an eye. To be honest, I’ve loved it.

Now my little baby is 11. Today, I spend most of my time shuttling her to piano lessons, sleepovers and roaming the tween section of shopping malls. And while I’m still in the thick of motherhood, I can see that my job will soon be downsized. It has me thinking — what’s next?

I’ve had a little reality check at my local grocery store. The friendly young lady behind that counter is always down to make chit chat. Inevitably, she’ll ask me about my weekend plans. I always answer with something kid-related: organizing a sleepover, attending a recital, driving from birthday party to birthday party — I watch her eyes glaze over as I speak. I can’t help but think how dull my “free time” must sound to her. I’m starting to think she’s right.

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We moms tend to bury ourselves so deep in the workload of motherhood that we sometimes get lost. Mothering is an all-consuming, never-ending, demanding world of laundry, lessons, organic snacks and generally trying to keep everything together. We’re usually the domestic organizers, the family planners and the household shoppers. So it is no surprise that a recent American study found that working moms clock in an average of 98-hour workweeks between parenting and careers.

I don’t want to get to the end of the road of this mom journey to find I’ve left myself behind somewhere between the delivery room and the grocery checkout. I want my social calendar to be filled with more than just funfairs and school dances. It’s so easy to let our children’s lives take over our own, but as I come up for air, I’m realizing it’s not a sustainable hobby.

I’ve really loved being a mom. I could never have imagined how much I would come to embrace it and relish the identity of motherhood. But I love me too, so I’m getting a jump on this impending crisis and taking some time to invest in myself. I’ll start with baby steps — like maybe even staying out past 9 p.m.

Article Author Laura Mullin
Laura Mullin

Read more from Laura here.

Laura Mullin is a published playwright and writer and the Co-Artistic Director of the award-winning company, Expect Theatre. She is also the Co-Host and Producer of PlayME, a podcast that transforms plays into audio dramas now on CBC. She has worked in theatre, film, and television and lives in Toronto with her writer/producer husband and pre-teen daughter. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @expectlaura.

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