I remember doing a personality course and struggling to define myself. I was asked "well what are your hobbies?”. When I went to respond (to such a seemingly simple question) no words formed. I stared blankly at the trainer. “You must have a hobby! There must be something you like to do?!” Well apparently trawling facebook pages and ‘catching up with my friends’ do not constitute as hobbies! I couldn’t even say “music” as I hadn’t picked up an instrument in over five years or even actively sort out new bands to listen to.
So what DID I enjoy doing?? I didn’t enjoy much of anything to be honest. I was just trying to get through each day. The closest thing I had to a hobby was tackling the dinner dilemma every night.
I remember feeling so embarrassed as I sat there listening to everybody else talking about all the things that made them happy, all the things that defined who they were. I felt like a taco without the stuffing. No substance. Nothing that was just ‘me’.
What made the feeling even worse was that when posed with a further question “well, what would you like to do, if you could do anything?” I had no answer. Not only had I lost my sense of ‘self’, I’d lost sight altogether of the person I wanted to be.
Unfortunately, in that moment I didn’t grab hold of the reins and set about making changes. I felt so defeated and lacked the motivation (and energy) to step up and face it.
Besides, I had too many other things to think about and do just to keep my family functioning and my house running. Sound familiar?
I realise now that knowing who you are (outside of your family and friends ), and making time to do some things for yourself, to follow your passions, to stand as a person in your own right, is just as important to your family as being there for them when they need you. If you don’t follow your own dreams and feed your own passions, how can you possibly be the mother and role model you want to be? You end up like I was…a shadow. Sure, I was doing everything I could to ensure that my family was cared for, but what was I teaching them about happiness? About desire? About charging ahead in life and grabbing hold of as many opportunities as possible? What was I teaching them about fun?
When people ask my children who I am, I don’t want them just to say “My Mum”. I want them to say “My Mum, the best trampoline jumper in the world, a musician, a really really bad lion, a writer, a worker, really good at colouring inside the lines, a faster runner than me, fun…”