About two months ago, I received a “save the date” for a friend's going away cocktail party. I didn’t know her very well in real life, but she was a close editor of mine who gave me a really big writing gig about a year ago, and she was leaving to embark on a year of traveling the world and switching to full-time freelancing.
I was really excited to follow her journey and send her off with a hug and a huge glass of Champs. I added the occasion to my Google calendar and kinda forgot about it until the week of, when I actually started getting nervous about it. I think a huge part of the anxiety was because I knew I didn’t know many people at the event and didn’t want to end up being the girl who just made friends with the bartender all night. But with the encouragement of my husband, I sucked up my anxiousness and made an appearance — 4-inch wedge sandals and all.
It ended up being the most fun I'd had in such a long time. I stayed out until almost 1 a.m. and ended up having a late dinner with an editor of mine that I “knew” through the computer for a good six months, but had never met in real life.
I felt amazing because for once, it was all about me. I stepped out of my mom jeans, and I swear I had fairy dust floating around me. It was one of those nights that was good for my soul and a wake-up call at the same time: mama needed her alone time.
But that doesn’t mean that my family was forgotten.
In fact, with each sip of alcohol, my family became even more present in the evening. You know how when you drink, they say that the truth really comes out? Well, every new friend I met that evening knew the story of how my husband and I met, the birth story of both my children, and had scrolled through my Instagram feed like five times. #SorryNotSorry
Truth: My daughter is about to turn one in August, and my son will be nine in September. I was having some trouble really “finding myself” postpartum, and going out that night made me realize that I truly do love being a mom, but I need my freedom, too.
I love to have new adventures and travel and meet new people, and a lot of that doesn’t involve having a snuggly child attached to me or pushing a stroller. And that’s okay.
For some reason, it took me a while to wake up and realize that I didn’t need to be locked into this mom role 24/7 — I had a choice to arrange a night out while my husband stayed home, I was just keeping myself from experiencing that. Up until this point, the thought of peeling off my mom uniform (ahem, leggings) and putting the effort in to get dressed, put on makeup, and engage in conversation seemed to require more energy than my tired mom brain could handle.
But you know what? It was good for me and completely necessary.
Related: Why Would I Ever Want To Be A Mom?
Having freedom away from being a mom not only opened me up to new opportunities (I left that evening with two new writing gigs and an assignment to start the next morning in my hungover glory), but made me feel like a real person again.
For so long, I’ve defined myself as nothing other than a mom, and I think that was beginning to be a toxic thing for me. I’m so much more than “just a mom,” even though that’s one of my favorite titles.
I’m a chatty, fun-to-be-around person who loves to shop and get pedicures and drink fruity drinks. I love to have new adventures and travel and meet new people, and a lot of that doesn’t involve having a snuggly child attached to me or pushing a stroller. And that’s okay.
Over the next few weeks I made more plans for happy hours with friends and even squeezed in an impromptu date night with my husband, and it was liberating. I began to realize that freedom from being a mom was something I totally needed... about once a week only though.