Tuesday, August 8, 2017

We lead busy lives these days. Working moms, stay at home moms, and work from home moms are all busy bees, running a home, scheduling doctor's visits and dental checkups and classes and lessons, oh my! It's no wonder many mothers get so busy helping their tiny loves lead their lives, the moms themselves get lost in the shuffle. Slowly, day by day, we begin to feel more and more invisible. I thought I was alone in this, and then I watched Sing.  It took a movie with a target audience of the under 12 set for me to realize I wasn't alone. But this is the secret plight of the American mom: over time we become invisible, and then we worry we're the only ones who feel this way.

In Sing, Reese Witherspoon's character Rosita is a mama pig to 25 piglets. She seamlessly runs their household while her husband and kids either ignore or her mock her for the things she enjoys (singing). When the opportunity to participate in a singing competition arises and she can't find a sitter, she creates an elaborate pulley system to do all of her jobs for her.

And no one in her family notices. They were so used to not looking at her, they literally didn't notice she wasn't there for days, until her husband accidentally wrecked it all. When they watch her perform later in the film, they finally see her. She isn't just a mom, a wife, a woman running 26 other pig's lives. She's an individual with passions and goals. That's what brought tears to my eyes; she was finally visible again. She was seen as more than just mom and wife and family chef; she was seen for her individual talents and joys. I loved that the filmmakers didn't make her a disgruntled parent, either; she clearly loved her children, and simply wanted something for herself as well. We all want wonderful lives for our children, and we often forget to make sure our own lives have fulfilling moments outside of parenting.

This isn't an uncommon phenomenon, either. Another mom formed an experiment when she felt invisible. She wore only one earring for 7 months, waiting for someone to notice and tell her. 7 MONTHS. She had just had her second baby, and everyone was so busy fussing over the baby they didn't see the mom. This is why the maternal death rate in the U.S. is so high compared to other developed nations. We simply see less of the mom once the baby is born. Newborns are so needy, and adorable, that it's easy to give them all of our attention. But new moms need attention, too.

I love my kids. I also love myself, and it's important to remind myself I'm more than a mom. I'm an individual with interests, talents, and goals outside of my family life. Just as it's perfectly fine to be satisfied with a life focused on your kids, it's also okay to want more. Find your joy, and give yourself time to explore it.

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