first me: 39/365

Despite the number of years I’ve been a mother and a wife, I hardly ever think of myself that way. I am always those things after I am me. Even when I needed to stop practicing law in order to stay sane, I never thought of myself as a mother. I was always first me.

So it was surprising to watch myself last summer when we were together with the kids and grandchildren, and then again at Christmas when everyone was here and at my parents’ house with the extended family. I allow myself to get so caught up in what needs to be done that I don’t think about myself or take any time for me. It feels like it would require just too much effort to go against the flow. And to be clear, it’s not like anyone’s asking me to do what I’m doing. But the result is that I go days and even weeks without refueling with time to myself. And then I don’t enjoy things as much as I could if I could find a middle ground.

Mother or Not a mother.



 365 true things about me
why this daily practice

10 thoughts on “first me: 39/365

  1. I’m much the same, Cynthia (what a surprise) in that I spend so much of my time doing for others (not so much my son anymore, since he’s married) and I NEVER refuel with things just for me. That’s one reason I enjoy reading fiction (and the HP reread, though forced, is still for me)—it’s something I generally do for myself. It’s not that I define myself as “mother” or “girlfriend” or “daughter” or whatever. They are simply roles we fill and are part of who we are. Plus, of course, when we’re the “fixers” and the “doers,” we naturally find ourselves wanting to do/help/care for others. There’s a big part of it that’s a curse, but I know I’m not selfish enough : /


    • I’m afraid I’ve given the wrong impression. I’m very selfish. I really am. It’s just with family that I lose my balance. But I’m not surprised that you’re always doing for others, Donna. You seem to enjoy it too. And it seems like you’re really enjoying the HP reread. It’s a pleasure to read your posts about them.


      • I think it’s difficult to find real balance since life pulls us in so many directions. I know I’m constantly overwhelmed and I do hate that. I’ve had enough of it. I’m really suffering for it physically and that’s the worst part, I’d say. Yes, I enjoy doing for others, but not so much anymore because I’ve spent (and still do in many ways) inordinate amounts of time and effort doing for others, only to end up finding out so many didn’t deserve what they got from me. It creates a bitterness, and I’m much more selective about who I do for. Still, people rely on me and I wish I wasn’t the one they rely on. I really do need time for me and it never happens. What’s terrible is that it’s getting worse instead of better now that I’m older and even more pressured. Damn vicious cycle. Hold on to the things you can do to refuel 🙂

        And I’m very glad you’re enjoying reading the posts about Harry 😀 I’m enjoying writing them, too, but only because I REALLY love the series. I don’t enjoy reviewing books and when I do, they’re typically very short ones on good reads. They all take time and I have to keep making decisions to keep cutting back on all this online stuff. It’s getting better 🙂 And once the reread posts are done, I won’t commit to something like that again.


  2. Pingback: first me redux: 40/365 | catching days

  3. Same, same. And in my case, of course, the tendency to lose myself when there’s a crowd at my house–or just to the needs of friends or family or colleagues in any given situation–has nothing to do with being a mother. I was raised to believe that other people’s needs should absolutely always come before my own, and that mens’ needs should always come before women’s needs. And I don’t mean that I reacted to role-modeling–these things were expressed very clearly, using very direct language. Right now I can hear my mother teaching me these things and reminding me of them, and I learned those lessons very well. Yet, like you, I do always think of myself as me, first, and only after do I think, oh, right, and wife and daughter and sister and so on. As for those lessons in selflessness, I continue my lifetime of attempting to undo all that foolishness.


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