You used to be somebody else—someone besides their mom.
Ever since you took this role on it’s felt like your only role, but it doesn’t have to be: you can still be that women you were before you had your kids and life took on a brand new shape. You’ll just find that it is a different version of this woman—a better version.
Letting your kids know the you outside of them will benefit them in ways you can’t even imagine. They see you at the end of a long day with tired eyes and tired actions less-than-enthusiastic responses to “watch this mom” or snapping when they don’t want much to do with the dinner you rushed home to make.
In your mind, you’re showing them how hard you work and just how much you care. But do they see it? Or is this what you THINK they are seeing when, in reality, all they are really seeing is that you are burnt out and crippled with exhaustion at the end of the day when they need you the most?
I think we would all be surprised to know how much our kids are interested in knowing who we were before them. We don’t normally talk to them about our lives before they came into them until they are much older, but little kids find this interesting to imagine Mommy as someone else—someone carefree. Our children don’t understand how hard it is to be that way now, with society's expectations to be perfect, or worse, other mom’s predictions that you won’t be. They don’t understand the mental sacrifices it takes to go to work for 8 hours and come home to a second full-time job. They don’t understand that the second full time job is them. They can’t comprehend how you can hate this job and love it so much at the same time.
So don't waste time telling them why you can’t be the woman you once were. Spend your time telling them how you used to get caught by their Na Na by sneaking out of the house. Tell them you once were called a smart mouth just like them, and had chores to be done just like them. Tell them what you dreamed you would be when you grew up, and what led you down a different path—the path to them. Connecting with them on this level is a different kind of connection; it’s one in which they see your eyes light up when talking about your youth, and your face softening as you tell them how they came to be in your life.
It’s good for them to know that we value other aspects of our lives outside of them, that we have other purposes, while making sure they know the purpose of raising them is the one we are most proud of. Be a woman that not only your children can look back and say “she was an amazing mom” but also say “she was an amazing woman.”