I tend to write to women. I tend to write for women. Because really, who I am writing to is myself.
So today, I write to you, and to me.
It’s okay to want more than being a mother. *Cue all the gasps!
When my first child was born nearly 11 years ago my world stopped.I didn’t just give birth to him I gave birth to me. A new me.
Like many mothers I became absolutely wrapped up in my role as a mother. Happily. And in time I gave birth to two more babies, two little girls. For 10 years I was pregnant or breastfeeding. Basically my whole 20’s.
I put them before me every single day. I skipped showers and workouts and time with their father and time with my friends. I disappeared. I rarely did anything for me at all, I am sad to admit.
And on the outside I was beaming with pride. Truth be told, I still am. I have three beautiful, confident, intelligent, creative, curious, well behaved children. And it was worth every ounce of sacrifice I made for them.
But I want to be honest. There was always a little voice, a yearning inside me, that said “I want more! Where the hell are you, Elena!”
I was all things mother. All things!
But something burned hot inside me. So I picked up photography. And it saved me. But even that started about them. I was a photographer because I wanted to capture my own kids so it was okay that I was doing something not about the kids, right? Right?
Slowly, gradually, I realized “no, Elena, this isn’t about them. This is about YOU. You want to create for YOU!! For the you who used to like to sing and dance, for the you who laughed with her friends, for the you who loved passionately, for the creator inside you that you put to sleep when you became a mother, when you became an adult and did all the adult things you thought you had to do.”
Despite all the doubt and all the feelings of guilt for being selfish I went into business. Because turns out, I LOVE business, I love setting goals that have NOTHING to do with my kids and achieving them.
Turns out I don’t actually enjoy photographing them every day, only when I really feel like it.
Turns out I actually like photographing other people's families more.
Turns out I love pushing boundaries with my work.
Turns out I LOVE getting up on stage and speaking my passion and my truth.
Turns out I LOVE educating and inspiring others.
Turns out I like being in control of the amount of money I can make which is a stark contrast to my “safe” job I went to college for, which was a nurse. Yup, I just said I like making money.
Turns out I need to work out nearly every day to feel human, even if it means dragging my kids to the park to run around a crappy track.
Turns out I don’t like wearing yoga pants every day and that I actually like looking put together, for ME!
And I want more. I have goals that seem out of this world and they are FOR ME!
This doesn’t make me selfish. This doesn’t make me less of a mother. This doesn't make me less of a woman.
Self acceptance and self care is an act of rebellion for mothers.
How dare we want more than the precious children we mother?
Well, call me a rebel. I know I am a kick ass mom. Proof is in the amazing little humans who call me Mommy.
But guess what, being a mother isn’t enough for me.
I need more and if you do too, it is okay. I give you permission. Be a rebel. Find YOU within the role of a mother.
I only just started to fully realize this in the past year. I literally look back at photos of myself over the past eleven years and don’t recognize who I am looking at.
Not anymore. Now, I take care of ME first, I make goals for ME first.
And guess what? My kids are still alive and well.