Beyond Motherhood: Take a Class

Wednesday May 25, 2016

For the past month, I’ve been taking a night class in photography. While it sometimes felt like I had to drag myself to class after a long day, taking a class just for fun (and no grades! or exams!) has been invigorating.

For the first time in three years, I met new people and wasn’t first identified as a Mother. I hadn’t even realized how ingrained that feeling was (“Hi, I’m a mom. You can probably already tell by my running sneakers, pilly sweater, and the 3-year-old child strapped to my arm.”), how instantly easily classifiable I’d become, with all the stereotypes that go with it.

The strange feeling of walking into a room full of people and not being judged or identified as a mom, was itself eye-opening. I’m on the flipside of motherhood now. Years ago, when Bean was first born, I took offense when people dismissed me as “oh, she’s a mom” and stopped asking me any questions and abruptly walked away (oh, yes, this happened, many many times). Now when it happens?….meh. I’m too tired/mired/steeped in the daily struggle of motherhood to take offense. Likely because I also now identify myself first a mother and then a person. How can you not when it’s your entire life?

So, fellow parents, take a class.I’m sure most everyone who reads this site also likes to learn things just for fun (wonderkillers unite). Remember what it feels like to just be a person, learning something new. Go surround yourself with people who are also interested in bettering themselves through learning. Let your brain be re-energized by listening to someone teach you something new, where all you need to do is sit back and absorb for a couple hours every week. How wonderful a luxury is that?

(And actually, most of my classmates were also mothers. But, that wasn’t the first thing I knew about them. Being freed from the Mother label, we talked about our shared hobby and backgrounds. Sure, we brought up our kids, but mostly in the context of their role as the long-suffering subjects of our photography experiments.)

If you live in San Francisco, SF Rec is a great resource for a wide variety of adult classes — from photography classes to pilates and martial arts, from watercolor painting to ceramics. You can even take a glass mosaics class. Sure, why not?

If you’ve been feeling motherhood’s (parenthood’s) all encompassing arms recently, take a step back, take a class. It’ll feel totally worth it.

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