Thursday, March 13, 2014

Writing My Life Story

The great thing about the story of your life is that you are the protagonist. You are the center of the action. You are the one driving the narrative.

Until you become a parent, that is. When your children are young, you suddenly become only a supporting character in your own life story. Or at least I did.

In the story of my life,  I've been a child, a student, a professional, and a mom. When I was a child, my own needs and desires were all that mattered. As I grew up and became a student, my own need to excel drove the story. When I was a professional, my desire to move up a ladder I didn't necessarily want to climb controlled the narrative arc.

Then I became a mom, and the story wasn't about me at all. I ceased being all the things I had been before and became mostly my kids' mother.

Book and Tea - Flotsam of the Mind

I still remember the first time I was called "C's mom." When the pediatrician's office called to confirm my first child's two-week appointment, the caller asked if she was speaking to "C's mom." It sent a thrill through me to be identified in this new way. After a while, when I began to feel that's all I was, the name lost some of its luster.

Sometime during my son's first year of life, I got in touch with and old (boy)friend from high school. After a couple email conversations, he expressed concern that I was confiding too much and asked if everything was okay at home. I chuckled, assured him that my marriage was fine, and insisted I wasn't hitting on him. I was just thrilled to talk to someone who not only knew me before I was a mom but who didn't know me as a mom at all. Beneath the sleeplessness and the lactation, I was still in there.

It got easier, and then my daughter arrived to start the cycle anew. The feeding, the sleeplessness, the need to respond to the baby's every immediate need. I had little time or energy to think about me.

My kids are now seven and ten, and they don't need me every minute of the day. It's time to return to my life story and see what happened to our hapless protagonist while she passively let the supporting cast control the narrative. It's time to assert control of my story and steer it in a new direction.

I can't wait to see what will happen next.

Each blogger in my blogging group is writing about her life story today: What is her story? Is it what she thought it would be? What's next? It's a great way to get to know some interesting writers. Please head over to Love Each Step and see what Heidi had to say, then follow the link-up at the bottom of her post to see what others had to say. I've already read a couple submissions, and I can tell you they come from the heart.


  1. Cynthia--

    This line: "I was just thrilled to talk to someone who not only knew me before I was a mom but who didn't know me as a mom at all. Beneath the sleeplessness and the lactation, I was still in there."

    That nails it. I remember feeling that distinctly with my daughter, my third baby. I feel like the last three years has been about climbing out of the sleeplessness and lactation and finding me in a way I never could after my first two.

    Thank you so much for being so honest and heartfelt!

    1. Thanks, Heidi. I feared this post might be read as saying that I dislike motherhood, which certainly is not the case. I am, however, thrilled to be out of the weeds of it. For the last two years, I've been dipping my toe in new waters that interest me (like blogging and photography) and have found that I'm a much happier person for it. Perhaps feeling subsumed by motherhood for those years made me want to create and express myself in a way I never had before.