I used to be
more than a little lost. I was fueled by the approval of others, often changing not only my behaviors but my appearance too. I’ve had eyes and hair of every color, and I somewhat sadly sport more than a few lame tattoos for my trouble. All of this was in an attempt to feel wanted and accepted, it’s true. But more importantly I sought that elusive feeling of knowing who I was.
Well, I didn’t know. And frankly I still don’t really know. Does anyone?
Roll the clock forward a decade or so, and like many of us I still find myself locked in a battle of wills with a few familiar demons from time to time. Self-doubt doesn’t always dissipate with age like many promise (though we do gain new tools and new perspectives, thanks to the passing of time and the shifting of priorities), and once parenthood begins those old enemies can really latch on again if we’re not careful.
I recently found myself at a local park meeting a sweet friend for some kiddo playtime. Three separate times I was approached by apprehensive looking women, mothers who were undoubtedly strong and capable, actively raising their tiny humans with compassion and ability, yet who seemed so nervous to reach out to those sharing the midday playground reality around them. Three separate times women I didn’t know asked me if I was with a certain mom group they were trying to locate, or if my name was “Kimberly/Jenny/whoever” as they tried to figure out who they were surrounded by.
It kind of broke my heart each time to tell them that I wasn’t who they were looking for.
You see, I know what it’s like. Most new-ish mothers (and beyond) do. We know what it is to break some ties with the old us, the one who was seeking approval and identity, and lunge into a new existence of motherhood that is just as alien to us as, say, our teens or early twenties were. Both life stages require us to morph somehow, to define ourselves in ways we’re not really sure if we’re ready to commit to (hello again, awkwardly inked skin).
As a stay/work-at-home mom I’m not embarrassed to admit that self-doubt, and more specifically self-condemnation, are my thorn. I’m hard on myself still for the person I used to be, and I’m hard on myself now for the person I’m trying to become. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’ll never know. And I quietly hope I don’t carry it for my whole life, really I do.
You see, it’s easy to feel like a stay-at-home loser, starting from the bottom of the pecking order, trying to secure not only friendships but real, tangible companionship in this particularly weird stage of life.
So to the woman who hoped that I was ‘Kimberly’ and that Kimberly was what she was looking for in a mom friend, I’m sorry I wasn’t her. I hope you found her that morning, and I hope you hit it off. I hope you meet and make many more friends on this walk of life, and I hope each one of them lifts you up while you try to figure out exactly who you are in this life.
Just please remember that to the little people surrounding you and making you question yourself every minute of every day, you are everything. And to the Lord you are exactly what he designed, no mistakes and no re-dos required. Please remember friend that He couldn’t be prouder.