What defines you?
Calling all Moms out there! This week's post is for you. It's written by Christy Mills, and while your stories may differ, I know the feeling of being trapped by a label is real.
The background: I've asked a few women to write guest posts for our Grounded Goodness blog, and they have responded with love and generosity! Over the next few months, you will see their answers to this question: "What is one thing you would like women to know, right now?" - Amanda
Have you ever been in a social situation with acquaintances and get asked this question:
“What do you do for a living?”
As a stay at home Mom for the last 16 years, this question has caught me a little off guard. I often fumbled it and shared it simply as: “I’m a stay at home Mom,” but it hasn’t always been received positively. The most consistent reaction I’ve had is: “It must be nice.”
I found myself editing my answer over the years by saying things like: “I’m a stay at home Mom but I also volunteer as a Teacher’s Assistant AND a Yoga Instructor AND I’m there so much that I really should just get a job there. You know how it is….haha.” Yes. With so many awkward pauses. As if this extra little tidbit would add value to the stay at home Mom “job.”
As my boys got older, I found myself dropping the stay at home Mom even more often. After all, they were in MIDDLE SCHOOL and gasp! HIGH SCHOOL! I was still shifting into the things that I was doing, not sharing the things I was proudly being.
I wonder what would happen if we switched the questions to:
What do you love doing with your time?
What brings you the most joy in your life?
What or who inspires you?
If I would have been asked any of those questions at any time during the past 16 years I would have said that “I’m good. So so good. I have 2 beautiful boys that I am so extremely proud of. They have taught me so much about myself as a person and they are so smart. We have the best conversations. They challenge me to explore myself just like they explore the world every day, and god, they inspire me so much. I can see how much love & life they have to give to the world. They make me laugh. They are kind and thoughtful and want to spend time with me, just because. When they leave home a part of me will break off and go with them. But I know where the invisible glue is (our hearts), and I know that whenever they need me, I’ll be there.”
What a difference one question can make, because - my kids have never been a job to me.
I’ve realized that I don’t want to fall into the trap of a label. On me or anyone that I meet. I don’t know what someone else is going through. Their struggles or their triumphs. They don’t know mine either. So to put a label on any of us feels unfair. I am an evolving human and so is everyone else.
I’ve learned so many lessons over the years and if I had to sum it up:
Be proud. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for. Don’t apologize and don’t change your story for anyone else. You are TOO GOOD to diminish yourself. If you want something different for your life, go for it. This life is too short for regrets OR playing small, especially in front of other people. Find a community to be involved in. Ask questions. Nurture yourself and those around you. And for the sake of YOU: don’t put a label on yourself. You are who you say you are.
To keep the conversation going, what do YOU think?
Are we defined by the roles that we play in society?
Are we defined by the traits & talents we exhibit?
Are we defined by the food that we eat?
Are we defined by our values & beliefs?
Are we defined by our family’s history?
Are we defined by the difference we make in other people’s lives? Our legacy?
(Amanda - thanks for creating the space for conversation, community and connection!)
Christy has found herself pursuing whole body wellness during her free time - her current project is sharing journaling prompts & questions through her morning wellness & meditation practices. You can find her at @soul.fire.co on Instagram and Soul Fire Community on Facebook.
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