Motherhood Does Not Define Me; It Makes Me A Better Person
A writer. Photographer. Cook. Researcher. Reader. Fashion Lover. Sales Support Representative.
Of all these things, the thing I love the most is being a mother.
But, motherhood is only a tiny facet of who I am.
It does not define me.
I had my son later in life than most … right before I turned 35. My husband and I were married for nine years before we had our son, and in doing so, I was also able to really discover who I am as a person and wife, first and foremost. I discovered a love for creative things like writing, painting, crafts, and photography. I was able to travel and see places I had only dreamed about growing up as a little girl. I was able to cross many things off my bucket list, go to the top of the Empire State Building, ride bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge, hike in Red Rock Canyon, and the most memorable, go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I saw tenements in Mexico; I saw the homeless struggle in New York City. I gained a new appreciation for the kindness of strangers when we traveled to San Francisco in October 2005, just a few months post Katrina. I discovered the things that I truly LOVED in life: my family, good food, seeing things in a different light, and then turning them into photographs, meals, and short stories about my experiences.
I was able to make new friends and learn about my hobbies in detail. I was able to hone my skills as a writer by independently blogging about whatever was on my mind. I even joined a writers’ group hoping to maybe get the inspiration to write my first novel. I connected and then spent the day with a writer I admired for her openness and the way she was so candid to share her struggles and she inspired me to live life in meaningful way. I was able to learn how to cook Cajun classics like the generations before me, and I learned from the best on how to embrace life and all that comes with it. My husband and I were able to get to know each other well, and we gained life experiences over those years that also strengthened our bond and relationship, and I began to grow not just as a person, but also as a wife.
However, one of my biggest fears when I was approaching motherhood was the thought that I may lose my identity. I was afraid I would no longer be Andie; I would be “Someone’s Mom.”
As someone who thinks creatively and loves to embrace life and all of its adventures, I had a huge fear of not being thought of as anything other than someone’s mother. At the same time, I wanted to be something more in life than just someone who liked to take pictures, cook delicious food, or travel around the world with my husband. I felt like I needed another little facet in the jewel of my life to make me fully shine and be my best self.
Then I became a mother.
For a little while, I thought maybe I was destined to just be “Andrew’s mom.” Life changed in so many ways. I didn’t worry about planning vacations, photography excursions, or coming up with inventive new recipes to try out on family and friends. Instead, I was knee deep in day care drop off, nap time, school functions, etc. But as my son has gotten older, I have realized so much more.
Motherhood has changed me and made me a better person.
It makes me think deeper, love harder, experience life in a much different way. Before, I was very steadfast in my beliefs and I had no room for other perspectives. Now, I am more compassionate and look at all sides of a situation. I find it much easier to picture myself in someone else’s shoes; therefore rendering me more compassionate. I still embrace all of my hobbies, and now, my son is a big part of them. He is my favorite subject for my photography. I love bringing him in the kitchen with me to cook, and I love taking him places and seeing his reaction to the world around him. It is pretty awesome.
Being a mother has made me kinder, more thoughtful, and more vulnerable, too. Having a tiny extension of yourself out in the world made me realize that I am really truly living with my heart on my sleeve and that my emotions are far stronger than ever. I do things now with purpose and I want to be the best person I can be because I want to set the best example I can for my son. My son inspires me to be a better person.
I have always believed that love is when your partner makes you want to be a better person. When you have a child, that concept is magnified. Having a child made me a mother, but he was the one who gave me the shine to the many facets of my personality.