While over-shopping at Target the other day, I ran across nail polish named Mom the Manager. I immediately thought of those mothers who manage the careers of their own rock star children. Mom the Manager is usually a selfless woman who handles everything for everyone with complete efficiency and without complaint. Sound familiar?
However, when I painted the inky black color on my nail, I felt more rock star than mother.
The name Mom the Manager may sound like someone very in control, but the glossy black polish made me feel something else entirely. After doing this parenting thing for the last six years, I have found motherhood to be exactly the same way. The perception of motherhood might make us feel one way, but we can make the reality of it feel however we want.
Following the expectations of what a mother should be is completely overrated. These expectations only fill us with guilt that we are not measuring up to some invisible standard. It is a standard set by our own insecurities and self-doubts. It is a standard set by what we see other mothers doing on the outside when we don’t see what happens on the inside.
As I approach my thirty-sixth birthday, I feel more like a rock star. I am finally comfortable in my own skin and much less worried about outside impressions. I have hobbies separate from motherhood that give me self-confidence. I spend time with the kind of friends that make me laugh too loudly in restaurants. My husband and I have weekends away, and I don’t pretend to miss our kids.
Do we have to choose? Of course, there are days when all we can do is congratulate ourselves that the kids are still breathing, but it only takes a moment to do something for ourselves. We need something that will remind us we are so much more than managers of after-school activities. We are educated, crafty, unique, innovative, hilarious, insightful, goofy, intelligent, brave, strong, witty, and we are also mothers.
On the days you feel too much like a mom and not enough of something else, pick one of your many incredible traits and do something for yourself. As I admire my nearly black fingernails while waiting in the carpool line, I am the manager and the rock star.