Recently, I invited a friend to come with us on one of our adventures to a museum. An exhibition of one of her favorite artists was about to end, and it was our last opportunity to see it. My friend declined the offer as she had no one to watch her daughter and couldn't imagine bringing the child into the city, let alone a museum.
"Unfortunately, I can't do what you do," she said.
Seeing the unpredictable nature of a toddler overshadow my friend's love for art got me thinking. I feel as though parents are people with two lives: Who you are before children and who you are after children. While your life after having kids changes in the most amazing ways, we should be able to hold onto a bit of ourselves as not to lose who we are.
I have another friend who told me how scary it was for her to commit to the first time she took her daughter out for an entire day. She has a 6-month-old baby, and said that once she took that first step, it was the best thing she ever did.
Little steps in creating big memories are what allow us to grow as people, as well as parents with our children.
Years ago someone told me, "Now's the time to be selfish, because there will come a time that you will need to be nothing but selfless." While that encouragement was to help with my indecisiveness at to whether or not I should break up with a boyfriend at the time, I have kept those thoughts in my head and am able to relate to them now. That time for me has come, but I think the necessity of being selfless has been confused with not allowing any bit of your former self to shine through.
There still can be a sense of self without compromising the care of your children.
I do understand not wanting to put yourself in a situation that may be a little terrifying, such as bringing a toddler into the city, but I also know firsthand the benefits of putting yourself out there in this type of situation. Allowing yourself to take leaps into adventures that excite your own interests enables a wonderful sense of self-fulfillment and it introduces your children to things that may ignite and excite their passions in their future.
When creating adventures, I always try to incorporate something that I love, as well as something that the children may love, even if it's simply playing on a playground or running around. By doing so, I am hopeful that some shred of my former self will remain intact and allow for a solid self-foundation that I can share and grow upon with my children. I believe that this will help them as they grow as individuals as well as little adventurers.