In the spring of 2003, I was blissfully pregnant, working on my art degree and living a wildly creative life. Home life was easygoing and marriage was fun. Life was not perfect, but it was pretty great. I had balance.
Then Mia was born, and suddenly I was not a student, wife, artist, or individual person. I was a mother. I thought that in order to be a good mother, I had to give all of myself. This pattern has been present for a long time. I have tended to give more energy, time and money to others than I keep to myself.
It turns out that giving too much is not the gift I thought it was. Sacrificing the self damages not only the self, but those around us. Only when families, relationships, and our selves are in balance, we can feel whole and parents must maintain these boundaries. We need a village to raise our children, and it is good to accept help and trust others to care for our children. I know that now, and while it has taken me about nine years to get here, I am glad I made it.
Things are good now. I have space. There is quiet, alone time, time with my husband, sleep, time with friends and family, and time with each child alone. I feel deserving of these things. Keeping house and managing meals has become easier, too. I may even have the energy to start exercising–something I have neglected since Anna was born.
What tipped the scale largely in my favor was sending Mia to school. It has been awesome.