We were at an event this weekend where a gathering of parents had gotten together. As always there were the divisions of phases, some by gender some by life stages. In one area gathered the men, telling macho stories and analyzing rugby matches. In the lounge, found in deep conversations, the new mothers and mum’s of little ones all quietly chatting over bottle brands and sleep strategies.

And then mulling around the garden were the over-comers – the one’s fresh out of the baby stage that suddenly felt alive again. As if they had finally lifted their heads from the tasks they held so dear, and felt the wind gently caress their cheeks – triggering memories of freedom, and life before children.

You can see them everywhere, they look almost lost. The last however many years has been dedicated to nappies and routine and sleep deprivation and then suddenly, out of nowhere, their children are off to school and playing independently and “oh my gosh” they feel alive again.

(No discredit to parenting, but let’s be honest it is harder than you thought it to be.)

That is me. I am the over-comer. And what I enjoy so much about these fresh faced emerging mum’s and dads, is the excitement they feel when they begin to dream again.

I had the change to chat to 3 different women in 3 different stages. One with teens, one with preschoolers and one with a toddler. And each was finding their feet as they adjusted to their new stages, and each was beginning to realize that in this next season they can be Lauren. Jen. Ang. Not just mom. That suddenly there is the freedom and realization that they can revisit the dreams and aspirations that they once had, not because they are not needed as mother, but because they are so so so much more than mom. Than wife. Than employee.

It is perfectly wonderful to suddenly understand that despite how tired you are, how overworked and exhausted you may feel – the wind is gently blowing across your cheeks reminding you that you had dreams bigger than what you are living now. And that you do not need to feel guilty for it, judged or ashamed – because being alive within means you are alive without, sharing infectious joy into the lives around you.

And the dreams don’t need to only arise when you become an over-comer. They can arise as soon as you realize that you have the right, the grace and the strength to do more than be just mom. And for a season being “just mom” is great too, but there will come a time when you are needed a little less and the cuddles are more sparse and loneliness sets in. That moment, that moment of sadness right there, is the chance where we look up and see that the world is still so full of opportunities and chances.

You will always be mom. But now your eyes are opening to see that you can be so much more, if you want.

And so begins our series on “This is Me’, a look at the inspirational lives of the women around us. They have climbed mountains, they have overcome.

First post up August 2nd.