Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Hi, I'm Kaitlyn's Mom."

Me and my nephew, Jaxon
My younger sister, who swore she would never have kids, gave birth to my nephew, Jaxon Eli, last November. Being a seasoned mother of three, I have tried to be a good big sister and give her a heads up about a few of the perils of motherhood.  I schooled her in the art of swaddling and gave her all of my best tips to make parenting a little easier.  The one thing that I, or any other mother, had a hard time accepting was the loss of my own identity.  I have tried to prepare my sister for this, but when it happens,  we are all a little taken aback.  I think you all know what I am talking about.

I first realized that I had lost my identity shortly after the birth of my first daughter in 2000.  I was only 18 years old, and I was no longer Jessica.  I was Kaitlyn's mom.  Every time I spoke to my mother on the phone, the first question out of her mouth was, "How is Kaitlyn?" She stopped checking on me, her little girl, and worried about the baby.  Whenever she introduced me to someone new, she would say, "This is Kaitlyn's mom".  It did not take me very long to figure out that I was no longer a singular unit...I was a mother.  From then on out, no matter where I went, I was a unit of two, and my daughter was the more important of the both of us.  It did not matter that I was married...he didn't count.  From that point on, I was Kaitlyn's mom. 

Most new moms fall into this new role rather easily; I was no exception.  I lived and breathed for my daughter.  That did not change even after the births of two more daughters.  It was not until after my youngest was one that I realized I had to break away from this unit.  I had to reclaim my name.  My name is not mommy.  It is Jessica, and I have my own likes and interests and feelings that have nothing to do with my children.  My girls are in my world, but they do not own it.  It took a long time to learn that I could be a great mother without sacrificing myself.  That was my hardest lesson to learn, and I hope my sister takes my advice and learns is sooner than I did.

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