“All mommies had there own kid name before they were called Mommy.” ~my daughter Nora (age 5)
Thinking about this weeks writing challenge brought me back to this conversation with my daughters in the car one afternoon. It was a point I realized that two of my personas had never really met each other. I had just traded one in for another.
My girls were having a chat in the car. My 3 yr old Audrey says, “Daddies are boys and daddies are called Chris. Mommies are girls and mommies are called Megan.” To which my 5 yr old Nora replies, “Not all mommies are called Megan. All mommies had their own kid name before they were called mommy.”
Yes, dear sweet girls, I did have a kid name before I was called Mommy…and truth be told I still have that name, although I hope you never use it and always call me some form of mommy. This name was with me through my kid days, my teenage shy days, my college wild days, my late 20’s clean up my act days, my return to college this time to finish days, my become a wife days, my teacher days and still there at the birth of my daughter. My name Megan, yep, we’ve been together a long time. Forever actually. And just to clarify it is pronounced with a long e. As in Meeeegan…I’m not going to get into that one, you’ll have to ask my parents.
What interested me about this was that my daughter seemed to think I ceased to be the old me once I became a mommy. To an extent she is correct. I have struggled to find a balance between the Megan I built though out my life experiences and the mommy Megan I have become. I have always been a sort of all or nothing type of person and this mommying business has been no different. I became obsessed with mommying. This was good and bad. Good because I thought I knew most everything about the art of parenting and bad because I lost most of my past self. This loss of self becomes hard after a while. The feelings of wanting to have a hobby or take time for myself collided with my wish to be the perfect mom. I felt guilty to want to be just Megan at times. But what I heard in my daughters comment was that my daughter had no idea who the real me, the Megan so to speak, in me was.
So I asked Nora what she’d like to know about me. Not as a mommy but as the Megan me. We had a wonderful discussion about me growing up. My favorite subjects in school, toys I played with, books I read, my teachers names, sports I enjoyed, that I played the piano and babysat my neighbor. Things that relate to her now. (We can get into the topics of my later years as she gets older…) I realized that as a child I never knew my mom as her kid name, only as Mom. I never thought to ask her about growing up or her life until I was much older, so I didn’t really relate to her while I was growing up. I didn’t know about her experiences so I never asked for her help in getting me through mine.
I plan on keeping this discussion with my girls open and on going. Sharing about myself and letting them share in the non mommy side of me too. Bringing some of my pre-mommy interests and hobbies back, like playing piano and painting. Sharing about the excitement I find in trying new things. The bit of an adrenaline junkie, the kinda crazy but fun me. The not caring so much about what people think of me, me. Allowing the dual parts of Mommy and Megan to become less separated. I’ve realized that knowing me, all of me, will be better than any parenting information I can gather. My daughters don’t need a perfect mommy, they need a whole, happy, meaningful mommy who is still in touch with her inner Megan, with a long e.