Whether you are nursing a newborn while playing legos with a toddler, or shuttling around ungrateful teens feeling like “just a chauffeur”, the struggle to maintain your identity through it all is real! Sometimes we can lose ourselves as we lay down our lives for our families. I doubt it’s ever intentional but there’s just a slow fade that happens where you look up and realize you’ve kind of forgotten who you are and your children have become your whole identity.
A few little girls in my sons Elementary school class used to say “Hello David’s mom!” Not even Mrs. Overhauser!
We do it to ourselves in social settings too, we go around the room and introduce ourselves as, “Tami, and I have 4 kiddos.” Maybe I should start saying I’m a brain surgeon and see what response I get. Because you and I both know we are more than “Mom”!
Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your identity or perhaps find it again … you’re in there I promise!
1. Do things you love. Motherhood can be so selfless and sacrificial and doing things for yourself can feel like such a luxury. What do you like to do? Can you even remember? Who were you before you had children? Do those things and be that girl even if just for a day or a few hours. I like to cook and bake with loud music on when no one is home! I also like to carve out a whole day to write in a coffee shop like I have nothing else to do. Running on the beach and drinking margaritas tops the list too! (just not at the same time!)
2. Grab a friend or two. Spend time with friends who make you laugh, who build you up and remind you who you are. Discuss the absurdities of motherhood and the commonalities of your mundane day and cry through the tough stuff. Misery truly does love company but so does your friend who’s had a bad day. Call her, grab coffee or a glass of wine. We are better together!
3. Get out of Dodge. Do people even say that phrase anymore? I find when I escape the pressures of home even if just for an afternoon, I come back fresh and a better version of myself. It can be a weekend with my girlfriends, a get away with my husband or seriously just a trip to Target… sans kiddos. There’s a reason we all love Target shopping! Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
4. Do something challenging. I love this idea! Remind yourself that you’ve still got what it takes and that you are strong and capable. Try a hard dance class, train for a triathlon or a 5K. Maybe take a class you’ve always wanted to or enter your work in an art contest. Give yourself something to strive for that takes time and energy apart from mothering. It’ll be so rewarding! I went to a boot camp workout today where we rotated stations A LOT and I really had to focus to remember where to go next. I totally forgot the problems and burdens I came with and as exhausted as I was, I was equally refreshed. It’s good to feel accomplished and proud!
5. Don’t forget DATE NIGHT! Get dressed up, be romantic, and dance if you like… heck… go park and make out even! Remember that you are more than Mom! Go ahead and talk about the kids! It’s okay! Sometimes my husband has great perspective on the things I’ve been anxious about. But don’t spend the whole night talking about them! Talk about your dreams and goals and what might be on your husbands mind too. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or relative to babysit for one night! Your kids will be okay, I promise!
You are more than Mom! Maintaining your identity in mothering is great self care and you are worth it!
Get it Girl!