A few years ago, I let my hair grow a bit longer and when I went to my stylist for a new style, I said, "Do whatever you want but I don't want to look like a mom." I've never felt conflicted about being a mother but I'll admit to having moments when I didn't want to be seen as only that.
Being a mother is one of the greatest parts of my life and has been from the moment I saw Miguel take his first breaths. I had a career and Luisa and friends and family but, without a doubt, motherhood took center stage from that moment on. I've been a mother for over 16 years now and it has been hard but has also made me a better person in many ways. I've learned to be more nurturing and patient and I've had to confront my own past and wrestle with my flaws.
When the kids were younger, I loved getting away for the weekend - partly because young kids take a lot of energy and I needed the break but also because I felt like I could then be Vikki rather than simply Mom. But they are older now and definitely easier in many ways and I am acutely aware of the fact that we have only a few years left of them living at home. Getting away feels different now.
I was away this past weekend and as I sat in the dark on a plane from Dallas late last night, I thought about my kids. They would be asleep when I got home so I wouldn't see them until the morning. They would wake up and I would be there, sitting in the living room with a cup of coffee like I always am, and I'd head into the kitchen to make them breakfast before school like I always do and life would return to the routine. That simple image of a regular morning made me smile and I realized right then that I am completely at peace with being Mom. I'm not going to run out and get a Mom cut but I no longer feel like I have to fight to be seen as Vikki. In fact, I'm starting to care less and less about how I'm seen at all.
Mom is perhaps the role I've played best in my life. I have not done it perfectly (and thankfully, not alone) but I've done my best. As I struggle to redefine success in middle age, I think it's time I value the work of motherhood - not in the abstract, intellectual way I have before but in my own life.