It's important to me that my kids see me as a more than a mom who wipes butts. I am also strong, educated, and can fight (and win) a good fight.

Why My Mom Ego Needs Stroking

It's important to me that my kids see me as a more than a mom who wipes butts. I am also strong, educated, and can fight (and win) a good fight.

By Angela Repke

My two-year-old daughter and four-year-old son were mimicking our squat jumps and side rows. My husband and I were working out to our favorite YouTube woman who pushes us. My son’s light brown curls and my daughter’s pigtails were hopping up and down, up and down. It was all shits and giggles until my son shouted, “Hey, Dad! Good job, you’re winning!”

I let this slide for one whole second. Like a cheerleader, pom-poms in hand, I said, “Mom and Dad are a team and we are not competing. We are getting strong – together.”

I’m sure even my kids smelled that bullshit.

Most mothers, I assume, would have just dropped it. No harm, no foul, they say. But something inside of me did not want someone, even my little preschooler, to take my hard work away from me. I decided that I, indeed, was going to wage in on this debate. So, I put my red boxing gloves on.

“Actually, Son. If we were competing, Mommy would be the one winning. Just so you know.”

Hmm. Maybe a tad harsh for my little four-year-old alpha male (I wonder where he gets that?).

But, it was true. I was barely breathing hard, nor had I dropped an ounce of sweat. My beautifully bald husband, on the other hand, was drenched. I was in better shape than he. I worked hard for that. And in that moment, I didn’t want my son, although yes – only 4 – to take that away from me.

I find myself desiring to do this kind of thing often. Not just in sports, but in all things connected to motherhood.

Is it my damn ego?

At a mere five-foot tall, could it simply be my Napoleon Complex?

Or, is it the fact that I grew up with three competitive brothers?

I’m not sure what it is, but I hope that other 21st Century women feel this similar desire.

Growing up in a Greek, male-dominated household, I admit that I am not the tenderly-type. Motherhood was not the instinct so many are blessed with. I don’t know if I’m missing something biologically or what.

When I see those radiant hippie moms, baby at breast, I envy it – the feeling of wanting to nurture a child all day long. I’m just not cut out for that.

During the baby years, I coached myself into softening. I tried to rid myself of that hard exterior. After a lot of practice and crying, I fell, or climbed, really, into motherhood. It was admittedly hard work. Daily, I would try to balance my softness and hardness on one of those old apothecary scales, but being hard always seemed to weigh more.

I quit my job to help my aging father and mother with advanced cancer. I was then a stay-at-home mom. At first, it was fine. I thought my identity was intact, but over time, the snow kept falling and falling, my ego buried underneath. Then, I feared that that’s all my kids saw me as – a mother. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. But, for me, I need more. I can admit that now. I wouldn’t say that I grew bitter, but I wanted them to still see me as the tough, strong woman that I am – that most mothers are.

And, now that my kids are a tad older and I can actually speak with them, I find my tough skin growing back. I like it.

Sometimes my ego gets in the way of this whole motherhood business. But, I want to tell my kids, “Yeah, I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I’m a lot more than that.” I can cook and run half marathons. I can wipe asses and write. I can potty-train and earn another graduate degree. I can drink beer with best of them, damn it. Fulfillment while mothering is important. Everyone has an ego, some larger than others. Some days, I wish mine didn’t need to be stroked as often as it does, that my kids were solely enough.

But the truth is, they’re not. I need my own gigs in life. I need goals. I need to put on my own red boxing gloves and fight my own fights. 


About the Author

Angela Anagnost Repke lives with her family of four in Michigan. She turns to writing to help in both her daily blunders with her children and rediscovering herself again outside of being a mother. Angela is the Managing Editor and Contributor to the Genesee County Moms Blog. She has been published in Scary Mommy, BLUNTMoms, Her View From Home, and Mothers Always Write. She is passionate about the camaraderie of motherhood and hopes to unify women through her writing. She is at work on a memoir. Follow Angela on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram