I recently had to have a little writing session and remind myself why I work so hard. I’ve been exhausted, to say the least. I had to really sit and think, “Why am I wearing myself out like this?” I decided to write down some things I want out of life; genuine love, peace of mind, financial peace. I also rewrote some long-term goals; becoming a homeowner, hosting events that empower women, starting this blog, wearing heels more often (crazy talk, I know). They were all things that you have to be intentional about. Things that will test you and cause you to be uncomfortable while in pursuit of the goal. I pretty much strive to be uncomfortable; it’s where my best growth has always occurred.
Personal growth. The key word being “personal”. For me, just me.
I was always taught that when you have kids, your life is over. How awful does that sound? The idea that as soon as we become mothers, we must deny ourselves of our innermost desires. I understand putting the shirt back on the rack to afford a pack of diapers instead, or not attending a concert with your friends because your child is sick, but to completely and continuously place your wants and ambitions on the back burner? No. I cannot, and I will not do that.
I’ve lived the juggle-everything-never-sleep-supermom life as well as the life where I’ve given up everything I ever wanted to simply be a mother. The latter was honestly…quite awful, and damn near dangerous for me. As someone who has always been goal driven, it was difficult to put myself last day in and day out for months on end. My kids are great, but I was dying on the inside; merely existing
There was something unsettling about ignoring my desires. It kept me up at night. I couldn’t get rid of that voice in the back of my mind no matter how many cute pictures I posted of my children. I could never fully accept that this, motherhood, was it for me and be content.
I found out that I was pregnant with my son the summer before my senior year of college and I decided to finish. I was terrified. In attempt to prepare myself for what was coming I imagined, what I thought at the time, would be the worst possible situations for a mother. A colicky kid. Being in the emergency room all night. Never ever leaving the house again…unless we were going to the emergency room. Crazy, I know. Walking around campus with a gut full of Malik was the easy part. Working through the night while he slept to complete my assignments…not so much. I was dog-tired, but when I hugged my son in my blue cap and gown after walking across the stage at the University of Kentucky, every single sleepless night was worth it. I could rest assured that in following through with my goal of completing a degree program I had not only fulfilled a desire of my own, but I had taken a step in creating a better life for my son. I was ready to take on the world!
I’ll throw in the fact that during the last semester I didn’t turn in any assignments on time. NONE. And I graduated with honors. How, Sway?! *whispers* I’ll tell you how; a great relationship with your professors goes a long way. Why wouldn’t you be friends with the one who assigns your grade? Free game, you’re welcome.
However, after graduation I had to face a harsh reality, I couldn’t afford to stay in a college town and especially not with a baby. So, reluctantly I moved back home to the city of Hopkinsville, where the cost of living was low and the chances of ever getting your car towed were slim to none. I never had peace about the decision, but I tried to shake it off. I mean, I had graduated. I got the degree. I shouldn’t be selfish and continue to put my ambitions above stability and a support system for my son. Grad school could wait. The job opportunity that my professor offered me was one of many, I could find another on indeed…in Hopkinsville. Yep, totally possible. Right? At least that’s what I told myself to quiet the voices in my head that were telling me I wasn’t making the right decision.
While home, I did all the things stay at home moms do. I let the kids make a mess all day, made sure everyone was fed, attempted to keep up with the laundry (is that even a thing), and then I cleaned up the mess every night after laying the kids down so that they would have a fresh space to make a new mess when they woke up. Then I did it again the next day. And the next day after that. And the next. The best part was wearing my bonnet and sweatpants all day. I did try to keep on a pair of earrings though because I was feeling real ugly and y’all know earrings take you from a -1 to a 6. It was a blast, so fulfilling… Not!
During my time as a stay at home mom I began to lose myself. Jeans? Tuh! Hand me those leggings! What were goals? Start a blog? Who had time for that? But you know what I did continue to do? Look up graduate programs near me over and over again. I couldn’t let it go. To top it all off, my relationship with my children’s father ended. It was all bad. I knew I couldn’t stay in that space any longer. I so desperately wanted to thrive. So, one day I came to visit my dad in Indiana for Father’s Day and I never went back home. What kinda mad woman does that?! One who has literally nothing to lose.
It’s been almost two years since I made what some may call an impulsive, selfish decision, but I don’t regret a thing. After getting a job, a roof over our heads, and buying two cars (one broke down) *drum roll please* I finally enrolled in grad school! And you ARE reading this blog, right? My children are thriving in school and their smiles push me to go hard every singe day. I think what’s most important to note for the purposes of this post is that I’m happier than I’ve ever been. When I’m happy, it radiates, and my children soak up that energy. Y’all know kids are sponges!
Because I’m a mother, people automatically assume that I work hard for my children. And, of course, I do. Those uniforms don’t buy themselves and we need to be close to a good school district. However, there are many goals that I have had for MYSELF before I had children, and that I’m going to continue working towards for MYSELF regardless of the two cuties now in the picture.
Oftentimes, as mothers we lose ourselves in our children and feel as if our goals have to be placed on the back burner. Not this mama! I truly believe that where there’s a will (time management, and faith) there’s a way! Because in about 10-12 years, when my kids hit puberty, they’re gonna skip off into the sunset with their lil friends at the football games. And then they’re gonna do it again when they go to college. And what am I supposed to do? Twiddle my thumbs while waiting to give rides and send care packages? Issa no.
This blog is for the moms who know they can be more, who desire so deeply to be more. It’s for the moms who hear the voice and are ready to take action. I’m even talking to the moms who ignore the voice. I know, mommies, we are exhausted. Yes, we are busy. And not the type of busy you say you are when you’re curving that worrisome guy in your DMs. We are real deal busy! And here I am saying add another task to your list! I know, crazy talk.
I’m embarking on a journey to do motherhood differently. I want us to change the narrative of what becoming a mother means for how we conduct our lives. Let’s not forget who we are in raising our children. May the desires and aspirations that we had, before our children were born, only grow and put a fire under our asses to be more than snot wipers and taxi drivers now that our biggest blessings are here. We can be more than women who raise their children and then, eventually, sit around waiting for pictures of our grandchildren! The greatness isn’t just in the children we raise, it’s in us!
I was Geneeka first. Please don’t misinterpret, my children will ALWAYS be my first priority. My point is that I will never forget who I was and what I wanted to accomplish before them, nor will I stop reaching for the stars now that they’re here lighting up my world. Besides, if I don’t show them what hard work and determination looks like, who will? Will you join me?