Listening to Lindsey tell her story of motherhood reminded me of how much of our lives can feel out of our hands. The cultures from which we come will tell us when to jump, how high to do it, and that if we can't quite leap the way we "should," we aren't doing it right. Frankly, my dears, that's some bullshit. I don't know what it means to be a parent. I don't know what it looks and feels like. I do know that all of the parents I know have heard the same messages of not doing enough. By sharing these stories, by connecting with one another, and by speaking to these truths candidly, we can start to let go of that pressure to be perfect. Here's to miracles, to being the best we can be, and to Lindsey for sharing her story. Read on!
I am Lindsey. I am a wife and mother. And I am… a student, funny, energetic, creative, and loyal.
"Being a wife and mom are two of my biggest, most important identifying traits. Being a wife was one of the most important things in my life and becoming a mom was the second most important thing in my life. We only get one kiddo because we had fertility issues. She’s our miracle, actually. We’re so lucky to have her. Family has always been really important to me. I came from a really small family that didn’t do much together, so raising my daughter has been my attempt to provide a life for her that feels different than mine did. It makes me happy. I can also be kind of maddening because what I think I would’ve wanted, she doesn’t necessarily want. She’s her own person. Sometimes what I want to do as a parent doesn’t work so I’m learning as I go.
The assumptions I’ve made about being a wife and mother are that moms are supposed to always be available to their families. It comes with a lot of guilt. I sometimes feel guilty that I work and go to school and not at home making sure everything is clean and perfect. It’s a work-in-progress. I can really beat up on myself about that. It’s getting better and I try to go home early and do as much as I can. I try to focus on self-care as much as possible. Knowing that I can be away from my family and do things for myself helps with that a lot. It’s a balancing act. So much of the shame and guilt comes from the pressure I put on myself.
Society has shaped me to be strong and fight back against what I don’t believe in. It’s helped me really focus in on my core beliefs more so now than ever. It’s okay to be nice, loving, and compassionate. It’s easy to lose in the world we live in so I try to be extra aware of these parts of myself. On a micro-level, I am able to have an effect on the world around me in a small way. What I’ve had to learn is that I can’t control what other people do. It isn’t ever up to me. I can hope that my kindness spills out beyond myself, but it’s not a guarantee. So I try to make sure the impact I do have is a good one.
So much of the guilt I experience, and probably many other parents experience, comes from the idea that you can always be doing more. It’s almost like a switch goes off when you become a parent that says “I have to do everything” and it’s just always there. Many of the people I know who are also parents have expressed the same kind of guilt about having a life that’s bigger than our children. It’s so much easier to see how great people are doing from the outside. It’s funny that we don’t see it in ourselves. Validating my own feelings and reminding myself that I’m doing a good job is helpful.
Outside of being a wife and mother, I see myself as someone who can help and who likes to help. I like to be part of everyone’s business, really. I tend to find myself not being one who stands out in a crowd. Which is okay. I like to go with the flow. I’m really happy with the space I occupy in the world. My life requires a lot of organization skills and a whole lot of running around. There isn’t a lot of downtime so when I do get some, I take advantage of it. I love naps."
What does love and connection mean to you?
Love and connection are pretty much how the world goes around. Not being able to connect with other people makes for a really lonely and miserable life. Sometimes it requires more effort to connect with people, but it’s always really worth it. Love is really exciting when you can find it outside of yourself, but so much more important to find within yourself. Finding it means loving who you are and being who you are and, really, that’s how to find a really happy life.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to just, “whoa.” Take it easy. Things are going to work out. You don’t need to keep pushing and pushing and pushing. Just, “whoa.” I’ve always been hard on myself, so releasing that pressure is something I still need to remember. Relax. Do life for you, kid.
If you'd like to see more of Lindsey and all of the fabulous humans that have taken part in this project so far, check out the And I Am... Project gallery!
If you'd like to be involved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All stories are worthy of being told.