The Vanishing Woman

Something small happened this weekend. It was a tiny thing and yet it somehow crystalized a feeling I had been struggling to name. Forgive me, for it will seem petty, but I think it is probably a universal experience for Moms.

I spent Friday organizing my wardrobe to make room for hanging the kid’s uniforms. I usually keep their clothes folded but the uniforms I bought this year are easily wrinkled and I am not the ironing type. We don’t have a space to hang clothes for them so I needed to make room in my own wardrobe. To do so I had to put some of my clothes in a difficult to reach place and get rid of others. When I was finished I looked at the 10 hangers that now held the items of my clothing that need to be hung and I remembered my walk in closet in Texas which had been bursting with so many pretty things. I shook myself and remembered to be proud of myself for solving the problem as I hung the children’s clothes where mine had once been.

When I finished rearranging things I went downstairs where I found someone else’s shoes on top of my shoes on the shoe rack. We have a shoe rack that holds 20+ pairs of shoes. We have 4 humans in our family for a combined total of 8 feet. There are still an awful lot of shoes on this rack. To make space, I have the 2 pairs I wear most often on there and the others were upstairs in my room. Seeing someone else’s shoes crushing the tops of my little ankle boots made me feel like a ghost in my own life, like the disappearing woman.

That is the basis for this whole blog, right? I found myself so busy with mom life that I had given up pieces of me bit by bit. Any time spent maintaining my own personality and happiness would take away time that should be spend on my family’s well being. I have over the last 8 years given up parts of my day until there was nothing left for me. This blog is a reason for me to spend some time every day just thinking about whatever I find interesting that day in the hopes of fighting for my personality to flourish.

As I have abandoned mental space, I have also been slowly giving away physical space. As the family collection of toys and clothes has grown I have whittled the things I own down to make room. I don’t buy myself anything without first considering where I will put it- which means I rarely buy myself anything. I own 6 pairs of shoes, down from probably 30 pre-kid. I own 2 pairs of jeans and 4 pairs of leggings. Maybe 10 blouses or tunics. Two drawers of pyjamas and work out gear. I gave up my book collection when I left America. I am well on my way to life as a minimalist as I try to make room for the belongings of my family. Yet, the shoes crushing my cute little ankle boots told me that there will always be more things. The choice before me is between continuing to shrink myself down until there is nothing left- or demand to have space in my own life.

I choose to demand space. I don’t want to teach my children to erase themselves for the ease of others, so why am I doing it to myself? If the cost of my family’s happiness is the erasure of my own existence then I have made a mistake and it is time to start fixing it. It won’t be easy, but I am exhausted by the constant attempt to not take up space, so why not give this a try? Hopefully when I get to the other side I will be a little more me.

I might even get a tiny little shoe rack just for me.

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