At what stage of motherhood do we find ourselves?
Who am I when my child doesn’t need me anymore?
As we move further into this journey of independence, I know I’ve given her the tools she needs to build her own identity, and that lifts me up, but when will she need me again? How long will I wait on the sidelines to help or offer advice?
More selfishly, when will I feel like I’ve figured out who I am in this phase? This unknown does not make me less, but it’s still a fuzzy picture; the woman I once was compared to who I thought I’d be by now.
Building a career, building our home. Having a parent, losing a parent, being a parent … It’s such a middlespace.
Most days, I’m on autopilot: clean the clothes, make the lunches, drop off and pick up, fill the spare time with something fun or enriching. Make the dinner, say goodnight, think about all the outliers before falling into a pattern of sleep. Aren’t I more?
A mom, yes. A wife, a daughter, a friend.
There are glimpses of parental familiarity that come to light when she asks me to help with her hairstyle, or she asks about my experience with the fifth grade — school subjects and the inner workings of friendship dynamics.
I see glimpses further when she pats the spot next to her on the couch as I enter the room because she wants to snuggle before bed. She wants to connect. She needs me. Even if it’s just by being physically there.
But then there are days when she is so confident to do everything on her own that it leaves me searching for MY purpose outside of motherhood. She unknowingly reminds me that I am still my own person, as unsettled and caught off guard as I feel at present.
Who is this mom? Who is this woman after almost eleven years? Does the knowing ever come?
Before motherhood, I would write pages and pages instead of notes in a lunch box. I could go anywhere and make friends so easily. I wanted to travel and explore. I used to dance outside the safe space of my living room … I think I was, dare I say it, F U N.
I still love to write, I still find the groove to dance, I still want to travel. But now, I want to share those wants with my daughter. Maybe my purpose is just to be me. No matter what that looks like today.
That middlespace in motherhood, the pause between my thoughts and my actions in this uncharted territory.
That’s where I’ll be for now.