“Remember who you are”

That was what Mufasa said to grown-up Simba, who ran away from home when he was a cub. It may have taken a baboon and some “strange weather” to help Simba remember who he is, but I don’t have those.

In 2012, left everything and everyone I knew in the Philippines and moved to New York City to be with the man I love. Instantly, I became a wife in a new country. I had to adjust to the four seasons and to my new role as wife. Fast forward three years later, I became a mother.

While these two roles are just that – roles – I realized that they have started to define who I am. Don’t get me wrong. Being a wife and a mother are the two most important roles I play in my life, and I don’t mind being identified as a wife and a mother. But, somehow, along the way, I lost who I am.

My recent trip to our Motherland helped me remember who I am. Or was. Being with my rambunctious family, hearing them speak our dialect – These reminded me that I am aΒ woman who loved to have fun (with or without alcohol), who loved spending time with family while sharing a delicious meal, who loved relaxing by the beach. It reminded me that I am a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt. While those are roles in themselves, those roles reminded me that it’s ok to ask for help from time to time; that, while I’m growing up, my parents are growing old and spending as much time as I can with them is the most precious gift I can give them; that the most loyal and dependable people around me (besides my husband) are my siblings and cousins. Being with my family in our Motherland reminded me that I am strong, dependable, resourceful, patient, fun, ambitious, humble.

Trying to emulate this image of a Superwoman/Wonder Woman Mom is not only damaging to my psyche, but also EXHAUSTING. It also makes me too proud to ask for help when I need it the most. Being with my family reminded me that I can still be the Wonder Mom even if I ask for help, or accept help when offered, and no one will judge/curse me for that.

It was refreshing to be back in our Motherland. It felt like a reset to my whole being. I feel like I can be a better wife and mother now that I remembered who I am before assuming those roles. I’m so glad I took that trip before the end of 2016.

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