I live and breath my three children.
I really do.
Or, do I?
I mean I do live with them, and I do breath the same air as them and next to them, but on the day to day, am I missing the mark?
I think I am.
As a mom, my biggest complaint is my lack of time, and I have to doubt that I am an anomaly when it comes to this grievance.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted nothing more from my life than to become a wife and mother.
Okay, the truth is really early on, I wanted to be an Olympic soccer player, and then I wanted to be Britney Spears, but by the age of seventeen, I knew that marriage and numerous children were going to fulfill me.
I had a plan.
Don't we all?
I wanted to be married by the age of 24.
I wanted to have my first child by the time I was 26.
I wanted to have three children -- girl, boy, girl -- and I wanted to birth them all before the age of 30.
Boom. I did it; I accomplished exactly what I set out to do.
My initial plan was pretty surface level -- if you can imagine me calling approximately 27 months pregnant and three labors surface level -- because, early on, I underestimated how much work loving another human and the humans we would create together would require.
I also miscalculated how much "me" time I would be in need of and how little I would get.
My biggest revelation was and remains to be that even though I give so very much of myself, my energy, my time, and my thoughts to the four love-oozing, energy-depleting family members that occupy my home and heart, I still ache for an alternate purpose and fulfillment outside them.
I have a soul that needs nourishment and an inner-self fire that begs to be lit on the daily.
Can you believe I just said that?
I get upset with myself and feel so much guilt for admitting that I want anything outside of my home's walls and the people in it, but at times, I do.
I think the real struggle for moms and some dads is that we are living and breathing our children in the wrong way.
I meant it when I said that I live and breath my children, and that, well, it's both the problem and the solution.
You see, there is no need for me to ache for another purpose and seek fulfillment outside of them when I can do it apace WITH them.
It is so easy for parents to operate in "modes."
Mom is in "work mode."
"Leave me alone."
Mom is in "yoga mode."
"Namaste yourself to the next room, please."
Mom is in "girls night mode," "so hurry up and go to bed so I can crack open the wine."
But what a detrimental approach to the next eighteen-plus years of your life, right?
Here's my thinking:
To live and breath your children to the extent that you stop doing things and making choices that satisfy your soul and stop taking moments here and there to catch your breath is a mistake.
The right way (and yes, I'm going to make that bold conviction) to live and breath your children is to BE and DO life right alongside them and NOT to lose those foundational characteristics that are required for your survival for the sake of theirs.
Because truth be told, the survival of your family unit, your marriage, and your offspring, is way more dependent upon the real living and personal fulfillment you do around them and in front of them, then what you do separate from them.
The values you embody and the example you set by being embarrassingly authentic and unapologetic in your pursuit of soul maintenance will empower those around you -- especially those that love you and whom you call your own -- to seek the same for their life.
Now don't get me wrong, I would give my life for my three children -- no exception.
Still, I fully understand that my everyday choices to pursue gratification, balance, peace, laughter, comfort and whatever the hell else I need at any given time doesn't make me a bad parent.
Here's to parents everywhere (especially mothers) living and breathing our children in a way that doesn't paralyze or suffocate ourselves.