As controversial as it may be, I'm just going to put it out there.
I may be a mom, but that's not all I am. Nor is it all I want to be.
I love my children and I enjoy being their mother. I have thoroughly appreciated the journey and I've celebrated the evolution of myself as a mother.
I've proudly reveled in their achievements and endured their struggles as they learned their way and charted their own path.
But, I would be lying if I said some days, I wasn't relieved to drop them off at school, day care or Grandma's.
No other undertaking compares to parenthood. You get tired of a car? Trade it in. Don't like your job anymore? Quit.
If that girl you befriended over margaritas on the first day school was back in session now rubs you the wrong way, don't talk to her anymore.
But, your kids? They're temporarily forever full time.
They don't care that you want to sleep in on Saturday morning. They want pancakes.
You got on the road at 7 a.m. and spend an exhaustive day at Disney World. And yet, somehow, the child telling you how you made his life with this day trip is now sobbing uncontrollably because you won't stop at Dinosaur World.
And, that's okay. I'm a mom. I'll be there for every game, runny nose and award. I'll even part with the seventh Band-Aid of the hour for the boo-boo that only exists because Sponge Bob looks cool on the toes.
I've survived kindergarten, youth cheerleading and football, high school football and I'll soon attend the graduation ceremony of my first baby.
I wouldn't trade a single moment.
I've gladly put them before my own wants and needs.
I think we all tend to do that.
We buy our kids new clothes while our jeans have holes developing. We decide to buy a new pair only if we find the holes in inappropriate locations. We forgo haircuts and new running shoes. We stop buying that $20 eyeliner from Sephora because it just doesn't fit in the budget anymore.
I do it without resentment. I do it because I believe it's just what moms do.
But, that doesn't mean I'm not an individual person with other goals and desires for my life.
I never raised my kids under the pretense to keep them with me forever. My goal was to raise independent, strong and successful adults that could go on and live a life better than mine with the resources and tools I provided.
I want my kids to grow up and look back at how I raised them and say, "If not for her patience, love, understanding and constant push for us to be better, we wouldn't be who we are. And what better way to see her being rewarded for her sacrifice than to be living the life she wants."
I know they grow fast and Trace Adkins often reminds me that "I'm gonna miss this."
But I've tried to be present in every moment so that I can spend future moments enjoying myself, not wishing I had been more present in the past.
I want to take a pottery class. I want to travel to Europe. I want to see the pyramids. I want to hike through an ice cave. I want to write a book. I want to start a nonprofit organization for women who have suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse.
I genuinely don't believe that putting us on the list and aspiring to go beyond motherhood is detrimental to us as women or to our children.
I may be a mom, but that's not all I will ever be.
Heather Tempesta is a single mother of three who lives in Brandon.