Do you remember the vultures in Disney’s 1967 Jungle Book movie? The Beatles look-alike, sound-alike characters? I often think of their patter, “What we gonna do?” “I dunno. What you wanna do?,” when I think of the indecisiveness that can creep into motherhood.
If your answer to the question: “what do you want to do?” sounds frequently like those vultures, it might be a clue that you’ve grown out of touch with yourself.
I’ll never forget the day when one of my children was quizzing me about my “favorites.” You know: favorite color, favorite music, favorite food and so on. As preschoolers, they loved to talk about favorites. But in this instance I found myself stammering, wracking my brain for answers. I got as far as my favorite color (blue) before I stumbled.
How could I not know what I liked? What had happened to me?
That day was a wake up call for me. It made me aware that always yielding to others’ desires was taking a toll. And the truth was, my actions weren’t one hundred percent altruistic. Out of laziness or fear of making a “wrong” choice, I too often left decisions up to my husband or been swayed by my children’s whining, instead of deciding what I would want. It had caused me to miss out on opportunities (like the Chris Isaak concert we bypassed because no one realized how much I loved his music). I was hurting myself by not paying attention to my own tastes. And that had to change.
Of course it took a few years and a bit more of an identity crisis before I began in earnest the task of making it a priority to know myself and honor my preferences and dreams. But once I did, that’s when the adventure began!
And you know what? Doing so was good for my family too. They didn’t have to guess as much about whether I would enjoy something or not. I could see that they genuinely appreciated seeing me happy.
I want that for more moms (without so much of the identity crisis, hopefully). It’s amazing to see how just thinking through a few questions about past hopes and future goals can bring us back to a surer sense of self. And it’s thrilling to see how that plays out in creating a more vibrant family life.
Here’s an exercise to help you reacquaint yourself with who you are: if you’re on Pinterest, create a board for your favorite color and then collect pins displaying it in all its brilliance (you can see mine here). You could also gather pins that reflect your clothing, culinary or home decorating tastes.
So tell me, can you name your favorites? And do those around you know them? It might be time to start becoming reacquainted with yourself.