Thursday, September 12, 2013

Defining Me

September 12, 2013

I think I have spent my life in search of myself. Finding who I am, who I want to be, who I will be and who I have been. I've switched jobs, moved around, embraced changed, taken on challenges, all with the purpose of self discovery. I do a lot of self reflection. In doing so I often find that there are things in my life or things about my life that I am not proud of, don't like, or don't want anymore.

There are very few instances in my life that I would go as far as to say I regret. Everything that I have lived through, been exposed to, have experienced or witnessed has made me who I am and quite frankly, I am usually pretty happy with being who I am. I've learned that that is what is most important to me.  What I think. I used to really care about what others thought, but I don't anymore.

It used to really bother me if someone misunderstood me, didn't like me, misjudged me, heard bad things about me, or even campaigned against me. It doesn't anymore.  I think what changed me is Erik. This little boy came into my life and has seen me in every raw emotion. He sees me laugh and cry and get mad and experience sorrow. He's seen me scared and seen me thrive. He's seen me challenge myself and watched me challenge others. He has been beside me during moments of frustration and has seen me at a vulnerable state that few ever see. He has also watched me break down in uncontrollable tears of joy over the simplest moments of happiness. This young boy has been there to see my heart in all its phases and he shows me I am good and loved and should I ever doubt myself, Erik gives me my own "mom look" and says "Mom, don't say that."

My own fears of peoples judgement over me left me letting people walk all over me, made me try to people please and led me to some of the most self destructive times in my life because I wan't being loyal to myself.

In a lot of ways I think being a mom is what best defines me. It is so much of the parts of my life that I strive to be successful at. I've worked hard at my jobs but being a good mom is the most important aspect of my life. Part of being a good mom means I need to be a good wife. I need to show Erik what it looks like to be a good wife and for him to see what it looks like to have parents that love him and love each other. He needs to know what it feels like to succeed at something hard and feel valued. It's important that he knows he has people he can turn to and be completely honest with. He needs to be taught that in our world of full disclosure, that there are some secrets known only to family. Part of my job as a mom is to lay the foundation that should have started years ago and wasn't. That foundation is what set the pace for the rest of Erik's life.

Even small children need to understand the different between right and wrong, good and bad, give and take, love and hate, joy and sorrow, work and play, friend and foe, and all the contradictions of life. Children raised from loving families from a young age see glimpses of these lessons starting at their earliest of memories. Erik didn't have much exposure to learning lifes lessons until he was about 7 and even then I think the task was difficult to control with the other children around all in the similar circumstances.

This experience of knowing what my child needs better than anyone else is this quintessential reason why I really don't care what anyone else thinks. Every parent will agree that upon becoming a parent they became flooded with advice, wanted or not, warranted or not. It is general practice that the parent will listen and then make the choice whether to do or not. It is also general practice that certain people expect that everything they say should be followed.

I regress. Back to defining me.

I have not been "successful" in a lot of aspects of my life. I haven't had the best of guidance or the greatest of preparation. I haven't had the best examples in front of me of what it takes to have a successful marriage, complete an education, or even having strong, loving family bonds. It may upset some people to read that, but it's true and those factors built me into the strong woman I am today. For that I will never be upset about my past. But it's also those things that left me feeling very lost, alone, scared, confused, unwanted, insecure, and like a failure. Feelings that I would do anything to shelter Erik from feeling again. These reflections make it clear to me that I am successful when it comes to being a good mom and knowing that, nothing else matters quite as much.

Love me, Hate me. Agree with me or don't. At the end of the day, this is ME and I'm okay with that.

Open and Honestly,

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