Dear Moms: Don’t Write Yourself Out of Your Story

Something’s come to my attention, moms. Something’s on my heart this Mother’s Day.

Too often, we write ourselves out of our own story.

When our first child was two or three years old, I remember being at my in-law’s house and asking them to watch our son for a couple hours so I could get out and have some time by myself. The outing wasn’t complicated – all I did was go to the mall and meander around for a while – but my memories remain vivid 12-13 years later. I remember feeling completely free as I strolled around the mall that day. Free to be me. Just me. I also remember feeling guilty for feeling so free. After all, I was visiting my in-laws, and wouldn’t it be better for me to be spending time with them since we were there for such a short time? Shouldn’t I want to be with my precious son every waking hour of every waking day? Why was a 2-hour mall outing so important? What did I really have to buy or do there anyway?

The truth is, my default way of thinking and behaving was to write myself out of my story because I’d become a mom. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I needed time for me as a woman, NOT just time for me as a mom. But that day at the mall, I knew it, I could feel it. I needed to write myself back into my own story. I needed to KEEP myself in my story.

Fast forward to the fall of 2012. It was time for our annual photo shoot, so I wanted to secure coordinated clothing for our family of five. I found an outfit for our baby first. A super cute bright yellow sweater with a porcupine on front and a polka dot skirt with striped tights. (Hello, adorable! How cute is that?!) Then came clothes for my oldest daughter. A stunning green sundress with rick rack and a ribbon hair bow to match. Next up, my son. Gap Kids had the perfect plaid button down. Navy blue with tan, pink and yellow accents. Totally boyish but pulled in a bit of flair from the girls. Thankfully, my husband took care of himself. But oops…then there was me, the last person to secure an outfit for our photos. I really needed something nice as I was planning on taking head shots for my website during our family shoot. After all that shopping and searching for the kids, I realized I hadn’t even begun to think about myself. What was I going to wear? I remember searching and searching for something, feeling like I’d never find anything. I had literally forgotten about myself in the process, then when I finally DID remember myself, I had a hard time finding something that fit and represented me as a woman, not just me as a mom. Thank heavens, I have ONE store that fits the bill every time. I had to tell myself it was okay to go there. It was okay to spend a little more than I had planned on myself. It was okay to say YES to myself. This looks beautiful. You deserve to look and feel beautiful in these pictures just as much as the kids.

The truth is, my default way of thinking and behaving was to write myself out of my story because I was a mom. I wasn’t willing to acknowledge that I was a legitimate part of the family as a woman, not JUST because I was the mom. But that day searching for clothes for our family photo shoot, I knew it, I could feel it. I needed to write myself back into my own story. I needed to KEEP myself in my story.

Fast forward to this week. For nearly four months, I’ve been praying a 6-word prayer. Someday, I’ll share that prayer, maybe even in a book. But it’s not time yet. For now, here’s all you need to know. TWO of the words in that six-word prayer are US, as in OUR FAMILY. On Wednesday as I was working out, it occurred to me that I really should ALSO be praying that prayer with the word ME in it. So for the first time ever, I prayed that prayer with the word ME instead of US. Yes, I prayed it BOTH ways, for ME and for US. My gut wanted to feel all kinds of guilt for praying that prayer for ME. But honestly? A bigger part of me wondered how I’d been so blind to have never thought of it until four months in. After all, I was a part of this unfolding story, too. Me, Amy. God has a plan for ME. Why would I not pray for ME in the same way I’ve prayed for US? It sounds self-centered, but some of us need to remember to pray for and tend to ourselves, just as much as we pray for and tend to others.

The truth is, my default way of thinking and behaving has been to write myself out of my story because I’m first and foremost a mom. I haven’t wanted to acknowledge that I need prayer as a woman, NOT just prayer as a mom. But as I prayed for our family and for myself this week, I knew it, I could feel it. I needed to write myself back into my own story. I needed to KEEP myself in my story.

So moms, I just have to ask. How are you writing yourself out of your own story this Mother’s Day? How have you written yourself out of your own story in the past? If you take a moment to really think about it, I bet you’ve written yourself out of your story at least once. More likely? You’ve written yourself out of your story hundreds of times…just like me. We can do better, friends. We are worth it. We are moms, but we are ALSO so much more.

Write yourself back into your story.

Do it for yourself. Do it for the world. Do it so God’s light can shine FULLY through you.

Wonderful you.

Beautiful you.

Just you.

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