I want to share a side of motherhood and marriage that I don’t think is often seen or shared. A certain amount of selfishness is an asset. Motherhood can be a sinkhole that swallows you whole. How many moms do you know who have a baby then disappear into the role? I’ve almost done it. Actually, I did it — then rescued myself (thank you to my husband Jeffrey for being worth the rescue mission). It took a babyless vacation to remind me of what I was slipping away from — myself.
He was almost 3.
We dropped that little dude off with someone who I trusted with his life, hopped on a flight and blissed out in Jamaica. Ok, wait. I cried the first evening, maybe out of guilt or possibly fear of not knowing how to enjoy MYSELF. And then it hit me: Being selfish pulls you out of the sinkhole and makes you a better wife, mom and, most importantly, friend to yourself and “meeter” of your needs.
It was Motherhood that taught me to prioritize fun and freedom and most of all myself.
And since then, my life in motherhood, marriage and being me has been beautiful and balanced. This idea that the best moms sacrifice all of themselves is a lie. Those are the most stressed, unhappy and regretful moms (That was almost me). Yes, there is sacrifice but no different than that required to be successful in your marriage or career since all of the above cause lead to a loss of self. Balance can be the elusive thing in most homes. I felt that ping of “what if we never had kids” only during times of imbalance (too much energy going out, none coming in to replenish). I thought that imbalance was required because I was raised by a mother who often had no choice but to sacrifice all despite what she needed.
Now, I know that the best thing I can do is be the most present, patient and loving mom I can be. Then, hit the illest three-wheel motion (see below) with my Boo in the driver seat or by myself, with the back of these beautiful babies’ heads in our/my rear view mirror. Lata suckas (I breastfeed). Then go get it in like there’s no tomorrow.
For me, it was Motherhood that taught me to prioritize fun and freedom and most of all myself. I agree it’s not for everyone and to thine own self be true. Motherhood was always a goal, it just has to be accomplished at the time I felt was right. And I did it in my own time. It’s always scary to make a human and you’re never fully prepared since they’re a huge variable. I just had to learn how to do it with balance and roll with the punches. I got it now and it’s the sweetest life I can imagine. I can bob and weave with the best of ‘em. I’m up right now getting that balance-candlelit shower with a 90’s RnB sing-a-long. Yep, it (life/parenthood/marriage) has real difficulties but what doesn’t? Heck, putting together an IKEA shelf can make you drink.
Jennifer Henry is a Dallas native who was nurtured in Dallas public schools until high school when she attended The Hockaday School. After 14 years in the Northeast, she recently returned to Dallas with her wonderful husband and son. They’ve been busy since their return, recently welcoming their second prince into the family. Jennifer is a proud graduate of Howard University and New York University. In New York, she enjoyed laboratory life as a neuroscientist then later owned a private preschool and kindergarten in New Jersey. She now documents her Mom-ventures in her blog, Milkbrain, and operates The Village DFW Co-op for Homeschoolers and Families. She is active in Dallas as a community organizer for criminal justice reform and created plans for diversity and inclusion in educational spaces. She really enjoys giving her time to her family, community and, most of all, herself!