This Mother’s Day I’m celebrating myself.
Let me explain.
As a mother, you have to be selfless. You give your time, energy, and body to do whatever you can to help your children thrive. But sometimes, ironically, in order to be the most present and the best mother possible, you have to put a pin in the giving and actually TAKE time and energy for yourself. So in honor of everything I’ve done over the past year to be the most supportive, loving mom I can be, and in the hopes of continuing this mission, I’m going to be celebrating myself a little this month.
Now that my kids are teenagers, they need—and let’s be honest, want—me around a lot less than they used to. Not that my kids were ever super reliant on me; in fact, their independent spirits are one of the things I’m most proud of as a mom. What’s funny is that this independence grew from what I always thought was a shortcoming of mine.
As a working mother, I didn’t have the same chance that my mom did to be at home to raise the kids. While it was hard to put my kids in daycare and spend less time with them in the short term, it resulted in them broadening their horizons early on and forming relationships with teachers and friends more easily in the long run. As a bonus, they grew up watching me and their father work hard for our family, which instilled in them the values of diligence, perseverance and responsibility. And while sometimes I worry that I spoil them, because I know from my own childhood how hard it is to hear the word “no” when all your friends are hearing “yes,” seeing how hard they work to shine on the football or soccer field, dance floor, and in the classroom today proves to me that my example really is working.
Seeing them excel in areas that they are passionate about, and watching as they grow into young adults with serious hopes and dreams has been the thrill of my life, and I don’t want to miss a second of it. However, these very same experiences have proven to me that it’s OK if I do miss out. Sometimes a business meeting will overlap with a game, and sometimes I can’t spend my Saturday driving around town because I just need to rest. All this means is that my life is balanced, and when I am there to support and cheer my kids on, I can be there 100%, like they need me to be.
Coming to this realization has taken me years. I lost my entire 30s trying to be everything for my kids. This led to burnout and ultimately not being able to recognize myself in the mirror. I was so overworked, stressed and unhappy that I could not possibly have been the mom I wanted to be, no matter how I tried. Now I know that I can’t be everywhere or do everything at once. I just have to take things week by week, day by day and, if I’m really honest, minute by minute. I have to celebrate the little victories and look at the bigger picture: I have provided my kids with an amazing life and I show them every day how loved they are. In addition to that, I’ve shown them what it looks like to be passionate, tenacious and resourceful, and that’s worth celebrating.
So this Mother’s Day, you might find me taking some time to meditate, practicing yoga, or getting my hair done. You are just as likely to find me at Hannah’s soccer game, talking with Adam about his college options, or finalizing some work emails. Or just maybe (read: definitely) you’ll find me combining work, family and fun at Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, supporting my client while coming together with people I love to champion a healthier future for all women.
At the end of the day, celebrating myself is celebrating the fact that I can do ALL of these things and still be a proud, happy mother. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone out there trying to do the same. You deserve to be celebrated too.