Spiky hair, beefy biceps, swift dance moves. They epitomized every girls’ boy band dream. And they were only a few feet away from me, crooning their way down a long stage. My fingers tapped hard at the camera icon on my phone as one of the band members crouched down near the girls in front of me. When he swooped up a smartphone from an outstretched hand to take a few selfies, a giggle escaped my lips.
The air pulsed with excitement and I found myself caught up in the moment, bouncing on the balls of my feet in time to the music. Then one of the singers scooped a preschool-aged girl into his arms. The screams and shrieks of hundreds of teen girls pierced my ears. Suddenly my head throbbed and my feet ached. I backed out of the crowd, nearly stepping on two girls rushing forward, smartphones held high.
“Here, there’s room closer,” I said, shooing them along with a motherly nudge.
As I searched for a place to wait for my daughters, another wave of screams broke out. I scrunched my nose in reaction. A group of middle-aged moms sitting along the top of a wall nearby smiled in sympathy at my grimace. The mom on the end patted an empty spot next to her. I hopped up and breathed a sigh. I had found my tribe again.
Have you ever been there, in one of those moments where you want to full out enjoy something but can’t because you’re a) the mom and b) not young enough to appreciate everything? I think those moments where we’re torn like that can be catalysts to understanding ourselves better. If we know what to do with them. Here are five steps I found that help:
What To Do When You Forget That You’re The Mom:
- don’t beat yourself up about it. We’re all little girls and teens inside at times. And frankly, it makes us better mothers, more capable of empathizing with our children.
- acknowledge that there’s a need in you. It could be a need to be noticed, to be in the center of the action at a big event, or to recapture something from your youth. Take some time to ferret out what that need is.
- connect that desire to a life goal that suits who you are now. Again, this might take a bit of exploration to pin down. Because you’re an adult, it doesn’t mean that everything from your youth is lost to you. But it will look a bit different.
- put that goal in writing as something you plan to do one day. The good news is that unlike in your youth, you have resources and knowledge now that should make more things possible, not less.
- tell your goal to another mom friend (or two or three). Go ahead and build momentum around the idea with others who might share your enthusiasm about it.
The (free) IM5 concert I took my girls to a few weeks ago really opened my eyes. I had always poo-pooed the idea of spending lots of money for front row seats at a concert. I couldn’t understand what made people do it. Until I was up close myself and felt the energy and excitement of being in such close proximity (even to “stars” I’d only learned about a few days before). That moment where I forgot that I was a middle-aged mom and became a little gaga over a boy band told me that it would be thrilling to get up close with a band I actually knew and whose lyrics I could sing along with. I never thought I’d say this, but after that I decided to add, “get front row tickets to a concert” to my bucket list.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience that might be trying to tell you something about yourself. What was the experience? What can it teach you?
(Here are my girls checking one off their bucket list:)