I'm Afraid That Being 'Just a Mommy' Won't Be Enough

Jenny Benjamin

pink apronSo, I have a confession: Ten years ago, I wasn't even sure that I wanted kids. I spent most of my 20s embracing the single life in NYC, with a successful magazine career and lots of fun-loving and ambitious friends. If you'd asked me back then what I wanted for my life, I would have told you, "To write an award-winning novel, to travel all over the world, to be a success!"

Then, at 27, I met my husband and fell in love, and suddenly, I had new aspirations: to get married, to have a family, to live a long and healthy life with this man that I loved. Of course, I still wanted career success, but a future with my now-husband seemed infinitely more important than anything I could achieve on the job.

Flash-forward seven years -- I'm thrilled to be pregnant and finally having the children and family that I've wanted for so long. And yet, as rewarding as I know it will be, I can't help but worry that mommyhood may not totally fulfill me.

Wait, don't unleash the fury just yet! I truly respect and admire stay-at-home moms, and know that their job is the toughest there is. My own mother quit her job after having two babies just 14 months apart, and there is no one in the world that I respect or admire more than her. (My children will be lucky if I can be half the mother she was and still is.) But many of my friends are SAHMs and most have admitted to me that they feel like something is lacking, that they've lost their identity, that they want more from their lives than to be elbow-deep in poopy diapers and pureed pears.

Growing up as a budding, pseudo-feminist -- and a child of divorce -- it was always important to me that I make my own money, have my own career, be independent. I assumed that I'd be working full-time up until the day I retired -- yep, that was my plan. But then, life kind of happened. My husband and I moved to Los Angeles where magazine jobs are sparse, so, in preparation, I quit my full-time editing gig at a magazine and began a  freelance writing career. So, essentially, I already am "stay at home."

And now, of course, I've got two babies on the way, and I'm not sure if I'll even find time to take a shower, much less sit down to write a four-page feature for a magazine or finish the short story collection I decided to finally start writing, oh, six weeks ago. Yes, in just a couple of months, I will officially be a stay-at-home mom, and while I'm really excited (and, admittedly, terrified) about the "Mom" part, I'm pretty concerned about what's going to happen to the rest of me.

When I was trying to get pregnant and would hear moms gripe about how little time they had for themselves, how tired they were, how they couldn't even think straight anymore, I'd secretly think, "Get over it, you're lucky enough to even have children!" But now I'm on the brink of mommyhood, and I get it. As much as I know that I'm going to love and adore my children, I worry that I won't recognize myself anymore. I worry that my brain will turn to mush and I won't be able to piece together a single creative thought. I worry that my husband and I won't have anything to talk about besides the babies. I worry that I won't leave the house for days on end, that I'll have no idea what's happening in the world or with my friends, that the highlight of my week will be a trip to Target to buy (what else?) more baby gear.

Still, my husband and I agreed together that my staying home with our children is the best choice for our family. And I know it's the right decision and I'm pretty sure it's one that I won't ever regret. All that being said, I'm hoping that even if the majority of my days are spent with spit-up down my shirt, rice cereal in my hair, and a crying baby on each hip, that I'll still find time to read a book, catch up with a friend, watch The Real Housewives, and maybe even write a little. Wishful thinking?

How do you plan to stay in touch with yourself once you become a mommy?

Image via klynslis/Flickr 

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