Talking To Your Kids About Life Beyond Them

Written by Megan Sumrell

Megan Sumrell LLC | KNOW Raleigh

I recently introduced my daughter to all three of my personalities…and it has been life changing.

I have a split personality. I am three people. I am Mom. I am Megs. I am Megan. 

Put another way, I am a mom, I am a wife, and I am me. I move between these three people all day long…every single day.

Several years ago, I came to a harsh realization that Megan was completely gone. Between work, motherhood, and marriage, I had 100% lost myself. I spent all of my time serving and giving to others. I’m not sure when I started to lose myself, but I remember the exact moment when I realized I was gone. I was at a park on a Sunday afternoon chatting with the mom pushing her child on the swing next to mine. She asked what I did for fun. I was silent. I had nothing. I honestly couldn’t think of anything I did anymore just for me. For fun. I could name off a really long list of hobbies I used to have…but nothing in the present. I went home that night and cried. I cried for a really long time. Then I got to work.

I made a list of things I wanted to start doing again..just for me. Things that brought me joy. Things that were 100% selfish. Some were small things…bubble baths, chick flicks with a big tub of popcorn. Some were bigger things….travel, girls night out, time alone. In the moment…that night…I made the commitment to make myself a priority again. I made the commitment to bring Megan back to life and create room for her again between Megs and Mom. It has been a long journey…and it is still a work in progress. But I get better at it every year.

I recently had a conversation with my now 9 ½ year old daughter about this. She told me in frustration one night (because I wasn’t able to stay for one more chapter of the book) that she thought I loved my work more than her. That STUNG. My “Mom” personality was devastated and crushed. What had I done wrong? I MUST be a bad mom. Then I paused. I asked her why she felt that way. Her reply was simple. “I feel like sometimes you would rather do your work than play with me.” Much to her surprise, I looked her in the eye and replied, “You’re right. Sometimes I do.”

It was NOT the answer she wanted to hear…but it was the answer she needed to hear. We had a long conversation afterward where I did my best to explain that I am not just “Mom.” I am Megan and I am Megs. Megan has a job and life she loves and it brings me great joy to do it. Megs needs to have time alone with Dad that does not include her. And…truth be told…sometimes I am so close to finishing something I am so excited about that I want to complete it instead of play another game of Crazy 8’s. Was she happy about the conversation? Of course not. She is 9. But, it has opened the door for so many great conversations as a family.

We all now openly refer to my 3 personalities. When Grace asks if I want to play a game, I can respond, “Give Megan 10 more minutes and then Mom will be 100% available.” I can also say the same to my husband.

Remember…you were YOU before you were anyone else. Honor that. Respect it. Prioritize it.

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