I have been thinking a lot about how much change has happened in the past four years since becoming a mom. Sometimes I get stuck into thinking that mom life is my only story and that the person I was in the past has just faded away. But I am learning that your past shapes your future. Who you were before shapes who you are today. Your story matters. Yes, you are a mom and everything changed the moment that happened, but it didn’t change who you were and the things you did. Sometimes I think we forget the importance of our whole lives not just the time after we became moms.
What about you?
Do you remember who you used to be?
Your story matters.
It is what shaped you into who you are today. And remembering and reflecting on what made and shaped you who you are today isn’t wrong. Now you are a mom. And that is important and what you do today really does matter. But that doesn’t mean you have to forget who you were before you became a mom.
One of my real struggles from transition from Airman to Mom was not knowing how to deal with my past life. I remember being so proud and happy. Life was not exactly like what I expected, but instead it was better than I could have ever imagined. I was serving in the military, doing something I loved and had my husband beside me. Life was a dream come true. Becoming a mom would be like everything else in life. I had a dream, but knew life would be even better.
But becoming a mom was not anything like I imagined.
There were good parts to be sure. And the goodness truly did outweigh the reality of my dreams. I remember holding my son within the first few weeks of him being born and thinking, wow, I can’t believe he is here. You really can’t understand what it is like to be a mom until you become the person your baby relies on and gets interwoven into your life. But there were also a lot of hard parts. That instead of getting easier with time only seemed to be more difficult. I think I have learned that is kind of how parenting goes. Some parts get easier, but the hard parts are just around the corner of some new task, some new land mine to tackle.
I wanted to be the mom that had everything together and looked like she was thriving. That is what I had always done in my life so struggling and not knowing how to go forward really challenged me.
For a while I ran from who I was.
I thought if I focused on my past somehow, I was undoing the importance of the hard work of being a mom. I struggled with finding my purpose of being a mom and supportive wife.
And then I gave a speech at my MOPS group about what it was like to transition from military member to mom and at the most unlikely moment the whole room burst into applause. This moment was at the end of the part where I talked about my deployment and coming home with my medals. It was a light bulb moment.
My past still matters.
Who I am still matters. My story still matters. I am more than a mom of my two boys. I still have purpose. A calling. A story to share.
That unexpected moment changed everything. Some people told me my story was a gift to them, but I don’t think most of the people in the room knew that the applause, the reminder of how important the work I did, how it still matters was the best gift I could have ever received.
Do you wonder if the past story still matters? Maybe your story doesn’t include combat in Afghanistan or military service, but maybe it does. It doesn’t matter what your story is. It still matters and you have a voice to share with others.
Your story matters. I know that now and I hope you do too.