Before you have kids the world is a different place. Your time is your own and your ambitions mostly relate to your physical appearance or building your career. Very few people that I know sans kids think about much else (with the exception of getting laid). If I saw a lady on the street with her kids, I would out her in the “Mom” box. I assumed that she was a harried, stay-at-home mom with a lot on her plate. I had a much more liberal view than most, but still I put her in that box.
The only exception was the “Well-Dressed Mom” with her tight fitting jeans and trendy blazer, sunnies perched casually atop a perfect blowout with just the right amount of make up and jewellery. I envied that mom because even without kids I would never look that put together. But I was sure that by the time I had kids, I would have it figured out.
In my head I dismissed these people because their values and ambitions could not possibly align with my own. I mean, what could we have in common? I didn’t have kids and surely they consumed her whole life. I assumed she was in a league with other like-minded moms who all got together to let their children run amok while they gossiped over coffee while we kidless got on with the real work.
Now, through my mom-coloured glasses (yes, Americanos, up here in Canadatown we spell it with a ‘u’), I realize what a complete moron I was being. To be honest, until I was a mother, I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I just glanced an amused, condescending glance at them as they sauntered by with their child looking adorable, while they looked exhausted and made a mental note to never neglect myself like that when I became a mom and to always at least have jeans on when I left the house*.
But Moms are people too. They are seen as the vehicle (both literal and figurative) for their children to evolve into proper human beings but they never stop being the same person they were before children. They just evolve and expand into someone with a larger view and different priorities.
As a side note, I refuse to go into the Stay At Home Mom vs Working Mom debate because the whole thing is ridiculous. Everyone’s circumstances are different, with different needs and both resent each other for getting to live the life they didn’t get to. Regardless of whether or not you work a job, kids are exhausting. Being a parent is exhausting. It’s full time, 24/7 worrying, work and endless To Do lists. And it CAN become all-consuming. But…
Moms are people too. Just because we had kids, doesn’t mean our ambitions went away, they just expanded. Just because we had kids doesn’t mean we don’t have dreams, they just changed. Or they didn’t change but now we get to find another way of making them real. Just because we had kids doesn’t mean we don’t care about the way we look, in fact, we may care more since more damage has been done. We just prioritize other things first and sometimes there just isn’t anything left in us to put on anything other than leggings.
So let’s give ourselves a break Mamas. Don’t pay any attention to the judgy kidless stares and the snide passive aggressive comments. You have enough on your plate.
*This is truly hilarious since even before I had kids, I lived my life in Lululemons regardless of where I was. There was even a time during finals in my fourth year at University, that I wore the same pair of pyjama pants for like a week straight.