When I was a little girl, all I wanted to be was a mom. It was all I dreamed of, and the only answer I gave when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Well-meaning adults affirmed for me what a blessing motherhood would be, and I was certain I would be fulfilled and happy as a mother.
I grew up and, of course, had new aspirations for jobs, but I never doubted that I should be a mother first and foremost. I went to college, met a boy, and after graduation we were married. I didn’t worry much about other dreams. They all felt insignificant in the scope of raising my kids.
Eventually, my babies were born—two perfect bundles exactly eighteen months apart. A girl and a boy, with their daddy’s eyes and my chin. As I began to lose myself in motherhood, I realized that I didn’t have anything that was mine. The fulfillment that I knew would come simple wasn’t there.
Of course I absolutely adore my kids, but there was something missing. Every dream I had ever shoved to the side while my sights were set on having children began to haunt me. I envied other people who had gone after their dreams before having kids. I convinced myself that my children should be enough, and that it was too late for me to pursue As if I could never chase dreams now, or that I didn’t deserve to because children should be fulfilling enough.
It took a hospital visit get me to pick up a pen again. One of my children was sick, and the pressure to fix everything was all-consuming. I couldn’t sleep, so I went to the gift shop, bought a notebook, and started free writing. I was out of practice, but it was familiar—something I had done many times in the past to clear the thoughts in my head.
Free writing reminded me how much I loved words; how much I loved using them to create stories. I started bringing notebooks everywhere I went, writing down anything that came to mind. Some days it felt like words poured out with no rhyme or reason. Other day they were articulate and wove beautiful stories of pain and love. The guilt I had for not being completely fulfilled by motherhood dissipated as I watched my own children find their love for books and creating stories.
Giving myself an outlet to express my fears, joys and all the emotions in between, has made me a better mom. Writing is my version of self care, and I have realized how important it is for my children to see me create and heal. They need to know taking care of themselves should always be a priority. I am teaching them, by example, to try new things and find what brings them joy. My hope is that one day, if they ever feel like I felt, they will have the courage to step out and try something new, something that fills them with passion.
I want then to look back one day and say, “my mom did it, so I can, too.”
About the Writer: Emmy Seal is a romantic comedy author. Living in Michigan with her husband and two kids, and dozens of plant babies. In her free time, she enjoys bike riding, hiking, and reading.