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Growth Spurts: You’re Not Just a Mom

Fifteen years ago I was referred to as a “bucket of rocks” by a man I had just met. This is a true story.

My husband and I were at a dinner held by the company he worked for at the time, and we were sitting across the table from this man and his wife. At some point in the conversation, the man alluded to his wife’s occupation and proceeded to give a commentary on how he couldn’t imagine being married to a woman who “just stayed home with the kids.”

“It would be like trying to swim across a lake with a bucket of rocks strapped to you,” he said.

At this point, I felt my husband’s hand touch my leg under the table — a gesture of kindness and empathy. Also to keep me from coming across the table at that man.

Friend, if you are a stay-at-home-mom, may I encourage you? First of all — and I would hope this goes without saying, but just in case — you are not a bucket of rocks. Motherhood is a role of utmost importance. When your children are young, it is a 24/7 job that is completely unpredictable. During this time you encompass the roles of teacher, nurse, mentor, coach, pastor, counselor, psychologist, trainer, chauffeur, administrator, event planner, and a host of other things. You are making a significant investment in the molding of lives, which will have a ripple effect into the lives of others. You are shaping the next generation, teaching them how to treat and interact with others; how to be leaders and thinkers; how to be kind, generous, and helpful; and even how to (Yikes!) parent their own children — your grandchildren. Please hear this: Your time, energy, attention, and influence are invaluable, irreplaceable gifts to your children.

This important role of motherhood can certainly be overwhelming — often demanding more of us than we feel like we have to offer. Although I believe that self-sacrifice is a natural and even good part of parenting, I also believe that it is important not to completely lose your sense of self once a baby comes along. Motherhood is one of your identities, but it is not your sole identity.

Maintaining your sense of self, I admit, can be difficult during the aforementioned 24/7 on-call season of unpredictability. But I believe it is important to stay in touch with the elements that are unique and important to you as an individual and to find even little bits of time to devote to them during the child-rearing years. If you don’t, you might find yourself in a real identity crisis once your kids are grown and flown — not knowing who you are or even what you are interested in.

My kids are all teenagers now, and my oldest is in college. Even though my nest won’t be empty for several more years, I can see how easily one could become bewildered in purpose and identity after such an intense time of work and service to others. I imagine it is similar to how one feels after retiring from a job-that-pays-a-salary after a term of dedicated service. This is what you’ve devoted yourself to for so long, that it takes a time of adjustment to reconnect with the parts of you that weren’t all about that primary role.

Hmmm…I wonder if that man who sat across from me fifteen years ago has retired. I wonder how he feels about the business, ideas, and people he invested in over the years. I wonder if he is proud of his work and feels a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment from it. I hope he does, because I know how good that feeling is. I’ve experienced it through nearly nineteen years of being a stay-at-home-mom.

Be encouraged, friend. You are not just a mom. Nor are you a bucket of rocks. Neither am I. And neither is that man.

Carrie Bevell Partridge is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, writer, reader, knitter, teacher, nurse, mentor, coach, pastor, counselor, psychologist, trainer, chauffeur, administrator, event planner, and lots of other things and enjoys living with her family in Ridgeland, MS.

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at carriebevellpartridge.com and Facebook.com/carriebevellpartridge.

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