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Badge of Honor by Noreen Heffernan

The other day I was on the phone with my dad. He asked me, “What’s new?” “Well,” I responded, “I’m reading a book called The Power of Now. I’m trying to find my center.”

I literally haven’t heard my dad laugh like that in a while. I laughed too because I like being funny without trying. It is nice to get a reality check sometimes. “Well, let me know when you do,” he said. Oh I will. Actually he will know because I’ll always be smiling. I don’t like when my 2 year old looks at me and points and says, “Grumpy Mama!” “IT’S THE WINTER,” I snip back. Gosh!

How do I smooth out these permanent frown lines between my eyebrows?? It has been a long one.

Anyway, I think so many things have changed since we were young. I’m not sure if our Grandma’s tried to ‘find their center.’ My grandma just had a bunch of children (6). I don’t think they thought of these things. They truly didn’t have time to think of what in fact ‘centered’ them. Back then, center meant the middle of a circle. Right? It was simple for them. Moms were better if they sacrificed everything. Period. I feel like maybe we were trained to believe that, even now. SELF-SACRIFICE=BETTER MOM. They wore it like a badge of honor. Not now. Now, everything is different. We, as moms, are on the path to being whole women. We have hobbies, we work, we read, we think, and we find time for ourselves. We are doing more, being more, becoming more…

Not to take anything away from our grandparents. They truly didn’t need anything more. But, the world is different now. It is ok to want more.

The truth is this; we are more than just the one thing, Mom. Some might say that this is all we should be. Those are the ones who are threatened by it. Because there is nothing wrong with being more than one thing. Being a mom does NOT define us. Being a wife does NOT define us. Everything we are, defines us. I want my kids to see me in my work-out clothes, running out the door and down the block with my headphones on. I want them to catch a glimpse of me at the computer. I want them to see someone walk through my front door fitter and stronger because I helped them. I want them to know there is a lot that they can be. I want them to want it.

This isn’t just for women though. This is for everyone. My husband just joined a softball league. He practiced last Saturday afternoon. It was a sunny day and he was gone for half of it. While he was gone, my daughter decided to poop her underwear. MOTHER OF…

But, I’m glad he is doing what he needs to do.

I just threw her in the bath and smoothed out my eyebrow wrinkles with lotion.

Stuck my badge on my heart and moved on.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to my husband apologizing for forgetting to be a wife sometimes, which I stand by. Sometimes however, I feel as if I should be writing a letter to myself, to us…all moms. A reminder. We need to tell ourselves to go a little easy on us. We are only one person. We only have 2 hands. We are only human.

Dear Us,

I’m sorry that you feel like you are walking uphill without a rope sometimes. I know it is hard to be everything to everyone. It’s not possible and it is ok if you cannot. You are not selfish if you take time for yourself. You should not feel guilty if you crave and desire your own hobbies and interests. You are one person and if you let things slip through the cracks, it is only natural. The only thing that matters is if you try and do your best as a mom, as a wife, and as a person. Keep trying. Keep going for what you want. Remember that you are teaching your children how to be whole by being whole yourself. Instead of wearing self-sacrifice like a badge of honor, we should be wearing self-love as a badge of honor. Wear it proud. Show it off. Be whole. Be more. Keep Going.



~Noreen Heffernan,Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies


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