We are very excited to have Lorena Roman as a guest blogger today. She runs **** a fantastic food blog, but today she is sharing a post on a topic that many people can relate to. The idea of "losing yourself" after you have children is a real fear and Lorena struggled through it like most parents do.
A Shoe Lover's Epiphany
Shoe shopping is one of my life’s pleasures. I love shoes with an unnatural attachment that I developed sometime in my late teenage years, early in college. I think it began when I realized that the freshman 15 didn’t matter in a shoe store. Since then my love affair with shoes has been a constant in my life and we have spent many happy years together.
As an only child in a tiny family of three I didn't have much exposure to children growing up, much less pregnant people, nor had I ever been one of those girls who played "mommy" and feed imaginary bottles to plastic dolls. I preferred Legos and Hot Wheels growing up. Up until I became pregnant, I honestly didn't think I had a single maternal instinct in my body and I liked it that way. So when I realized that I was pregnant three years ago one of my first thoughts was how would that impact my shoes. It may sound strange, but the fact that pregnant woman can’t (or maybe shouldn't, I’m still not sure) wear high heels was about the only fact I could recall.
My first worry was that I would somehow, unwittingly go from these:
To some ugly orthopedic contraptions I considered “mom” shoes.
In my head motherhood was associated with ugly shoes (“but they’re so comfortable for running around!” they cry) high-waisted mom jeans and spit-up ratty t-shirts. A total fashion nightmare.
(I apologize now to all the fabulous, fashionable mommies that are out there, believe me I am now aware of you all and I am in awe.)
In reality, my worry over shoes was just the superficial manifestation of a more deep-rooted fear of losing my identity to motherhood. To me the pregnancy meant life as I knew it would be over and although that may have been true it didn't occur to me that the change could be a positive one. I was sure that somehow, between 2 am feedings and piles of dirty diapers I would forget myself. It went far beyond a simple change in wardrobe. I felt like my dreams and aspirations, life goals and plans, everything that defined me would be obliterated by the realities and pressures of parenting.
I feared that in order to become Mom I would have to stop being Lorena.
At first, that’s exactly how it happened. I did lose sight of myself a little bit as I tried to learn how to be a mom and dealt with the very sharp learning curve of caring for a newborn. Especially one with severe medical conditions, but I’ll get into that some other day. For a while I was lost and no one, not I, not my baby and not those around me were happy. It took some time, and some very patient friends and family, for me to realize that suppressing who I am is not a requirement of being a good mom. As a matter of fact, it directly impedes that. Our children want to get to know us, who we really are, not some fake persona we put on to play a role that we don’t actually want.
In the last couple of years I have begun to merge the two sides of my being, that of mommy and that of being Lorena. I now know that one does not have to exclude the other, but rather combine to make me a whole person. I encourage my daughter to show me her personality by showing her mine. We share jokes and stories now, we laugh at the same things and we exclaim over the same sparkly shoes. But my little two-year-old is also starting to show me what her tastes are, what she likes. It is a revelation to me to see her becoming her own person and I am acutely aware that if she has the courage to be herself it’s because I have shown her the same.
I am a good mom because I am Lorena, not in spite of the fact. And although it’s true, I may not have occasion to wear those 5 inch stilettos as often as I used to, I still get to have date night with my hubby and sometimes girl’s night with my friends. And in between? Yes, I wear comfortable shoes, apt for running around, but they are still me and they are perfect.
~Lorena Roman is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, FL where she finished her degree with honors. She worked in restaurants for a few years before deciding that a line cook's life was fun but not conducive to raising a family. Today she lives in Orlando, FL where she gets to do just that along with her husband Joseph. In between naptimes she spends her days cooking, crafting, and blogging. You can read more from Lorena on her blog Caldos Como El Agua.