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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: Remembering Life Before Kids

Join me tomorrow for a #teachat with Gevalia tomorrow 11/11 at 10am EST! Fun twitter chat: with prizes!

If you need more info about Pour Your Heart Out, see THIS post.

But, really, it's anything that YOU consider pouring your heart out.

Be sure to check out some of the links- you will find some amazing stories out there.
Again, just a brief reminder that everyone linking is pouring their hearts out and we should all be respectful in our comments. ;)


Some Pour Your Heart Outs are very serious and gut-wrenching, like the one I wrote last week about my son. And sometimes, they are a bit more light-hearted. Remember that as long as you are pouring out what is on your heart, it counts!

Last weekend, I was out and about with Monkey, running errands.

This is a small town. Near impossible to go anywhere where you don't run into someone that you know. Sometimes this is good, sometimes not.

As Monkey and I were heading into Target, I saw someone that I used to work with.

I called out to her. It took her a second or two to recognize me and then we hugged and chatted. Made plans to get together soon.

And seeing her took me back. It really is a whole different life before we have kids, isn't it?

She was the first one to suggest that I could be pregnant. We were on a long bus ride home from a field trip when I mentioned how tired I'd been lately, more than I'd ever been. And she asked if it were possible if I were pregnant. I can see that moment so clearly- because it was the first time I realized that maybe I could be.

A few weeks later, a positive pregnancy test, and she was the second person that I told about it. Hubs being the first.

The next school year, we were both transferred to the new elementary school. We shared lessons, books, and suggestions.

Complained about our insane principal and the third member of our grade-level team, who didn't know how to do the math, let alone how to teach it.

When our guidance counselor misspelled her title as "counseler" and insisted to me that her spelling was the correct one, I practically skipped down the hall to my friend's classroom to shriek with glee about this.  We laughed until we were practically crying.

Lest you think that all we ever did was be mean and gossip, that isn't true. We shared things about our families. Talked about our dream jobs. She was there when I found out that my NC Mama had breast cancer. She planned my baby shower at school.

She and her daughter came to visit after I had Monkey.

Why did we drift apart? Because she continued teaching and I stopped. Because her oldest was grown and her youngest was in high school while I was just entering into the baby stages. Because I was overwhelmed by being a new mom and couldn't really figure out how to balance that with the rest of my life. And then, about a year later, we moved back to my hometown.

I've never been a big phone person. And while of course there was email six years ago, it wasn't something that she and I used to keep in touch.

But, now, I'm back and I'd love to catch up.

And now, I don't feel such a weird disconnect between who I was before I had my son and who I am now. It's a really hard thing to figure out right away. Those first couple months years of motherhood are hard. Who are you now that you are a mom? And what do you talk about, other than just your baby? How do you continue to be you and not just mom?

I far from have it all figured out. There are days when I think of myself as "just a mom." But, others, when I realize that while being a mom is a big part of who I am, I have not lost me.



Blogger Kristin said...

So true! I can barely remember my days of public transportation in the city. Feels like an entire lifetime ago.

November 10, 2010 at 12:33 AM  
Blogger Mimi N said...

First of all, you're never "just" a mom!

Secondly, I've almost been a mom long than I hadn't been a mom. I was so young when I had my oldest I honestly don't remember life without kids. Such a strange thing!


November 10, 2010 at 1:27 AM  
Blogger mdforkids said...

I agree, it does take about 2-3 years after your youngest is born to start to feel like the prebaby you again. At least it did for me.

It's like you finally reach a point where your youngest is becoming more independent you can start to breathe a little easier and start thinking about things that interest you.

This is when I started blogging. My youngest was 2.5 years old. Though I will never be the same person as before I became a mother, I love that I am reclaiming some of the prebaby part of me!

Great post Shell!

November 10, 2010 at 2:31 AM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Once again, Shell, you've hit the nail on the head! But, those friendships that weather these things... the ones that you can pick up again right where you left off... those are so important!

November 10, 2010 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger Oka said...

I don't think I really knew Me very well pre-child. Seriously. Now, I have been "Just Mom" for over 13 years, it's really the only Me I know.

November 10, 2010 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger natalee said...

Shell.... sooo true!! I lost touch with alot of people upon entering Mommyland... I'm glad you met up with her again...

November 10, 2010 at 6:31 AM  
Blogger ~✽Mumsy✽~ said...

I have lost touch with lots of friends who live in the same city with me throughout. Life is so busy some times..

November 10, 2010 at 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found that those heart friendships are like silk thread in a tapestry - that weave in and out - and always fit back in easily. My BC friends wer back in the day before cell phones - and people just didn't make long distance calls to chat and hang out. Trying to explain that when my son was going through the guest list for his wedding drove me nuts - "How many times did you talk to them this year?" - Sometimes youth needs a frying pan clunked over their heads!!

November 10, 2010 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Ma What's 4 dinner said...

You're not just a mom...you're a fabulous mom. And you're a mommy blogger extraordinaire!

And you have a fancy new look that I totally dig. Nice!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

November 10, 2010 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger Di said...

How funny since I'm now starting to reconnect with friends now that we are all settling down and having kids! :) Funny how that pendulum swings!

November 10, 2010 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

How fun. I love running into people (well, some people!) from my past. I hope you guys get together soon.

November 10, 2010 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

We can easily forget who we were before being moms.

When I fist became a SAHM, I definitely lost who I was. It took a while for the not mom part of me to return, but she is coming back. Going out with other adults definitely helps. Even though my kids usually come because one of my close friends loves them!

November 10, 2010 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger MommaKiss said...

There are so many things that have changed. So. Many. That said? There's no way I'd go back. I was meant to be where I am now - a crazed busy lady. Wait. Maybe I'm thinking about this all wrong ;)

November 10, 2010 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Heather @ Simple Wives said...

Enjoyed reading! Stopped by from SITS today. :)

November 10, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Renegades said...

Sometimes I feel it's hard to not just feel like a mom when it's been your life's work for way 10 years. Honestly the less my kids depend on me it seems the more unsettled I've become. My identity was taking care of them and being their mom and now all the sudden they are branching out which is healthy but hard on Mom.

November 10, 2010 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

Alright so I won't give you a hard time - you know what I mean lol

But since we've had kids we've weeded out the people we realized who were complete dicks once they became parents. We don't see friends very often, more family than friends and more of each other than that, but that's the way we like it.

Life changes when you become a parent.

November 10, 2010 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger My Mad World said...

My daughter is almost 4 years old and I feel like all I am is mom. I still haven't found that balance and sometimes feel like I lost who I was. I love her to death, don't get me wrong but I don't feel like me anymore sometimes. It would be nice to be connected to something or someone outside of this house!

November 10, 2010 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Another side effect of having kids too young is that you never really know who you are aside from "mom." While I was finding myself, I was already a parent. It's always been part of my identity, but I'm ok with that.

November 10, 2010 at 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that I can still remember life before kids tells me that I haven't completely lost my mind. Yet.

November 10, 2010 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Corinne said...

wonderfully written.

November 10, 2010 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I'm still not anywhere near my pr-kids self but honestly I'm okay with that. When I hear about what my childless friends are up to, I don't really feel envious. I waited so long to have kids (I was 36 when I had my first) that I had been there done that to death.

This is my first week participating with your meme. I've read so many good entries!

November 10, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

It's hard to stay connected with kids, I think. I kind of have the same problem, but in reverse. All of my friends are starting to have babies, and I'm all like "here's a picture of my dog". But I DO get to be the cool aunt....

I'm glad you saw her, and I hope y'all DO get to re- know each other!!

November 10, 2010 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

SO true! I was thinking about this just this morning, as I was turning everything I said into song to make Baby happy. Who was I before she came along. I barely remember!

November 10, 2010 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I was the first of my friends to have a baby and I felt completely abandoned by my pals...Later i realized ti might have (was) me doing the abandoning because I had now clue about that balance either ...Now I have it down pat and My friends with younger kids I help them out and never want them to walk in those lonely shoes I was wearing the first 3 years of buggys life

November 10, 2010 at 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that is part of the reason why I liked working part time so much. I felt connected to the pre-mom me.

November 10, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Macey said...

I've been in this exact situation girl. And now my kids are just a tad older, like only 5 and 7 still, I find that I am the one that is like your friend to the ones that are like how I used to be. Does that make sense? And I don't work yet, but still...

November 10, 2010 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Holly Lefevre said...

Oh the days before kids! I have had a similar experience with many of my friends once I had children and they did not...it also happened when I got married and they were still single.

November 10, 2010 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Frugal Vicki said...

My friend and I were talking the other day about how your friendships before and after kids are different. After kids it almost seems more difficult, not just because of the time/age/etc differences, but all of a sudden it seems that they way you parent comes into play, who you would trust your kids with, who gets along well with your family, and who understands your way of life. Plus, those early friends were ones we relied on through thick and thin, now we have our spouses for that. not better or worse, just different.

November 10, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post..funny how we do drift apart sometimes...life has a funny way of doing that!

November 10, 2010 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Craig and I often reminisce about life before kids and are totally confused at how we spent ALL OUR TIME! I think we must have laid around, watching TV a lot.

November 10, 2010 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Yankee Girl said...

I worry about losing myself when I have kids....I think that may be one of the reasons I don't have them yet.

November 10, 2010 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger mypixieblog said...

I have to agree with bigguysmomma above who said that you are never "just" a mom--what you do is such an important job!

I'm so glad that you had this run-in with an old friend and that you were both able to pick up where you left off. It's not always that easy and I've definitely drifted from some friends over the years. I'm not sure we'll ever reconnect in the same way ever again, but to have this kind of chance encounter really means something :)

November 10, 2010 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I feel that same disconnect with my teaching friends now that I same home with my kids. I miss them.

November 10, 2010 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Hutch said...

It's always nice to reconnect with old friends when your disconnect was just from drifting apart and not a falling out. I'm glad you had this run-in and realization, because you ARE more than just a mom!

November 10, 2010 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger One Photo said...

I felt totally the same way for the longest time, like a fish out of water, totally unable to really relate to pre-Motherhood life at work and old colleagues.

But now I am starting to feel much more like the "old" me in the new me. A good friend and old colleague is coming to town soon and got in touch to tell me so and ask if we could meet. I am really looking forward to seeing her.

November 10, 2010 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger The Mommyologist said...

Life definitely changes after kids, but I do think that we get it back slowly but surely!! I feel more like my old self now than I have in a long time!

November 10, 2010 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Julie said...


November 10, 2010 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Ruby said...

Another great post. Been there.

November 10, 2010 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Life is all about the cycles. hope you reconnect with your friend soon!

November 10, 2010 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

How great that you were able to reconnect!

November 10, 2010 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Sonora said...

I can so totally relate to this. I really think you are right that the first few years (and the years with young kids) of being a mom kind of create a temporary disconnect. I am just getting to where I feel a connection between the old me and the new me. I'm still me, just with kids. It was really a relief for me to realize it and has brought me a lot of peace of mind. You are lucky to have had such a good friend and I am sure you will be able to get that back.

November 10, 2010 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I can so relate to your post. Running into to people from our "past lives" brings back so many memories. I hope you get the chance to cathc with her. She sounds like she was a good friend. The part about the counselor cracked me up! Nothing is worse than a dumb person that thingks they're smart. Not that she's dumb(that's not very nice), but you get what I'm saying. LOL

November 10, 2010 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger For the Love of Naps - Sarah said...

I have lost touch with my teacher friends too and I really miss them some days. It is hard to stay connected though when their life is so busy with school and then family time...and my social time is often times during the day.

Glad you are realizing you are in there as a woman, and not just a mother. Very easy to loose that. I fear losing myself even more with number three coming soon!

November 10, 2010 at 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's kind of why I have a blog. I purposefully don't blog about my kids because I'm trying to remember a time when I was an intellectual. I was an English major, then an English teacher. I was all about literature and intellectual snobbery (which is, you know, the awesome kind of snobbery). Now I spend my days reading Clifford books and nonsensical board books. It's a far cry from Behn and Swift.

But then I look at my son. I'm amazed that he's a part of my life---he's so smart and wonderful. And it feels like he's always been here with us. Always a part of our family. Makes it hard to remember life without kids. Without him.

November 10, 2010 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I totally recognize that. I'm slowing coming into contact with girls that I was friends with in high school.

November 10, 2010 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger AiringMyLaundry said...

I'm not a huge phone person either. But technology has helped me stay in touch with people at least.

November 10, 2010 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The older the kids get, the easier it is (to me anyway) to feel a little more in control of it all. You know I'm a big fan of being mom as just a part of me- bu then, at the same time I am just a mom. The complexities of being a mom, a woman, are an interesting thing..we're a little bit of everything!

November 10, 2010 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I try to make time for girls' nights, book club, etc. Our children do come up but we somehow manage to find other topics to talk about. I am so glad you have reconnected with your long-lost friend!

November 10, 2010 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I turned 16 Aug 4th of 82, got married Aug 15 same year...had Nikki July 2 of 83 so I went from being a kid to being a mom....literally. I don't know who I would have been had I waited and have wondered many times. I don't recommend what I did but I don't regret it either. I have Nikki, Kelly and Drex from that crazy move.

November 11, 2010 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh wow. I am trying to figure that out now. Good stuff Shell!

November 11, 2010 at 12:41 AM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

So, so true! Those first couple of months are so tough, and I think even tougher when #2 comes along -- from what I've heard having 3 or more is easier than having 2. And reconnecting post-baby takes work, but is worth it!

November 11, 2010 at 12:48 AM  
Blogger Helena said...

I loved reading this post, and the comments below it. I'm just starting to think about having kids, and I already wonder if I'll end up losing myself in the process.

November 11, 2010 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Kir said...

yep, I think about it all the time..am I a mom now and that's it? or John's wife and G & J's mom? Where is Kir?

I tried for so long to get PG and have these babies but sometimes it feels that that's all I am now. It's a good question to ask...and a better one to try to answer, but trying to find yourself and find out to balance both worlds.

I wish you (and myself) a lot of LUCK with it. :)


November 11, 2010 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Emmy said...

You are so right! I remember after I had my first I was fine being home. Between morning and afternoon naps it was just impossible to go anywhere or so I thought and I was fine with that. With the second that changed and with the third even more so.

November 12, 2010 at 12:40 AM  
Blogger Babes Mami said...

I struggle to figure out who I am as a mom and the old me. How to blend them together and turn them into one. I'm only on the 15th month of motherhood so I guess I have some more time to figure it out lol. It's hard when he's so little and needs me so much, luckily I have the best partner for me who makes me feel like I'm more then 'just mom'.

November 13, 2010 at 4:10 PM  

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