A friend of mine was over at my house crying the other day. She was talking about her marriage, how it is not what she wants it to be. She shared about her teenage son and how he can be so awful to her. I felt sad for her. She was overwhelmed and lost.
One thing she said really rang true for me. She said, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
Boy, don’t I know that feeling.
From the outside, my life looks perfect. My friends view me and my life through rose-colored glasses.
Don’t get me wrong. I live a great life. I have everything a girl could want, but that certainly doesn’t mean I have always been happy.
A couple of years ago, I felt just as my friend, lost. Completely unaware of who I was anymore. I was buried in being a wife and mother. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just mean it was all I knew. It was how I defined myself. I think it tends to be a common thread with the women I know. We give everything to our families and kids and have little or nothing left over for ourselves. Every ounce of my energy was devoted to them. I completely forgot who I was.
That is what I signed on for. I was committed to being the best Mom and Wife I could be. But what I didn’t realize was, in the process I had lost sight of me. I couldn’t tell you what I liked, what passions I had, what made me happy (aside from my family), what dreams I had for myself. I had no idea. I was unhappy, frustrated and lost.
I realized a couple of years ago, that had to change. If I wasn’t taking care of myself, I certainly wasn’t doing a service to my family.
I decided that I needed to find a passion. Something for me. I thought about things that I wanted to learn. Cooking was the first thing that came to mind. I am a very average cook. I can follow a recipe, but beyond that I know very little. When I shared my desire to learn to cook with my sister, she shared that she had the same desire. Not surprising. My sister didn’t know how to boil noodles. We decided to enlist our Mom (who frankly, hates to cook) and learn to cook together.
So, for the last year and a half we have had regular cooking nights once or twice a month. We enjoyed it so much that we started filming our cooking and posting recipes. We call it 3 Women 3 Dishes http://3women3dishes.blogspot.com/ . It has become a fun bonding time for the three of us. We burn things, under-cook, over-cook, put in too much salt, forget ingredients, splatter the entire kitchen with oil, and we have a blast. I get time away from the kids to pursue something that has become a passion and I get to hang out with the two most important women in my life.
Once I started doing this for myself, I began to have a new perspective. I started to figure out what I liked and what made me happy and, most importantly, make time for it. I began to feel like I, personally, had something to offer this world.
What else did I want to explore about myself? Earlier this year I started taking guitar lessons. Something I had always wanted to do. I started jogging and realized I really like that too. I started blogging and fulfilling a passion of writing.
I was lost, but I am on a path to finding myself. I assume it is a lifelong journey and that is okay with me. As long I as I am present for it.
I am no longer just defined as a Mom or a Wife, but as Tammy. I am wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, average cook, beginning guitarist, sometimes jogger, dancer, reader, writer, lover, listener, dreamer, trier of new things, lover of old things, good person, who deserves good things. I am me.
I still give everything I have to my kids and my husband, but I always try to save just a little piece for myself too. And trust me, we are all happier because of it.
Todays lesson in improving my marriage : I am worth it!