Me. And then "Mom".

Me. And then "Mom".

By Chloe Allen

Me. And then "Mom".

*Quick note before we begin* In this particular post I am targeting mothers and mothers-to-be, but if you are a father or any other caregiver or guardian in a child’s life please replace the word “Mom” with any other title that matches your beautiful and unique situation. :)

Maybe your name is Fatima, or Bailey, Josephina, or Ana. Maybe it’s Nohea or Pearl or any other beautifully constructed name that we use to identify ourselves with. Do you call yourself a chef or a dancer? How about an athlete, an artist, a writer, an influencer, a basket weaver or seamstress? What concepts, aspects or talents do you collect into the trove of personality that is you? 

There are so many names, labels and titles that like pieces of a kabob, we continue to layer one on top of another until we are practically swimming in our own identities: daughter, sister, friend, aunt, niece, grand-daughter, co-worker, boss, student, teacher, etc. and now you add “Mom” to the list. Just three letters and yet so much rests upon the meaning we have placed on the combination of those three letters. 

For many this label of “Mom” is one we want to add to our kabob of personal names/titles. We dream, desire, and crave a little voice to call out to us in any variety of forms that mean “Mom”. But does “Mom” or any variation of it need to outweigh and overshadow every other name you have collected throughout your one precious life?

A few days ago I was scrolling through a social media feed when I came across a post from a new mother that read, 

“I am no longer “Bailey”. I am “Mom”.”

This new mom went on to express in essence the death of every other name she proudly went by up until the birth of her child. I found myself asking inwardly if this (giving up every other piece of us) is essential to being a good parent? Does becoming a mom require me to forfeit myself to the good of raising another human being until they themselves must sacrifice all for their children and on and on?

I mean that’s the selfless thing to do right? 

That’s what mothers have always done, so why shouldn’t I?

Here’s why. Deep down you know that you are more than just “Mom”. You are anything but one thing.

From the moment your existence began you have been you, your name, your being, and so much more. We as living beings continue to proudly add on other glorious names and titles throughout our life and we should never stop...but for some reason the day comes when we let “Mom'' crush them all into pieces we don’t know how to glue back together. And why?

You are you alone before any other name or title, “Mom” included. Nothing should ever take the place of the wonderful individual you are or leave you confused with who you are after you strip every last one of your titles down until you are naked with the core of yourself.

As parents we cannot hope to raise children to have a confident self when their own parent(s) are stripped of their base titles, naked and vulnerable, not able to recognize their own self because they have lost her in the wake of “Mom”. 

In Glennon Doyle’s book, “Untamed”, she writes, “

“Mothers have martyred themselves in their children’s names since the beginning of time. We have lived as if she who disappears the most, loves the most. We have been conditioned to prove our love by slowly ceasing to exist.

What a terrible burden for children to bear—to know that they are the reason their mother stopped living. What a terrible burden for our daughters to bear—to know that if they choose to become mothers, this will be their fate, too. Because if we show them that being a martyr is the highest form of love, that is what they will become. They will feel obligated to love as well as their mothers loved, after all. They will believe they have permission to live only as fully as their mothers allowed themselves to live.

If we keep passing down the legacy of martyrdom to our daughters, with whom does it end? Which woman ever gets to live? And when does the death sentence begin? At the wedding altar? In the delivery room? Whose delivery room—our children’s or our own? When we call martyrdom love we teach our children that when love begins, life ends.”

You can never teach another life how to live, how to breath, how to love on their own if you forget how to live, breath and love in first and foremost what you exist to be; a beautiful human being who, while having the capacity for many names and titles throughout your life, remembers that there is only one title that truly allows you to live and in turn teach your little ones how to live too. 

That my friends, is the self and the self alone. 

With love, Chloe Allen

PS. Thank you so much for being here. We hope that you leave with a bit more confidence and a brighter smile on your face! If you have any thoughts or topics that you would like discussed on later posts please comment them down below. 

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