I am “just” a mom.
It’s a common phrase after motherhood for many, including myself.
Recently, I came across this quote that resonated with me in so many ways.
Just because you become a mother, doesn’t mean you lose who you are – Beyonce.
Identity Crisis is something I believe all mothers face at one point in time. We seek validation for our identity from others. In reality, our identity is dependent on our own perspective of who we are after motherhood.
Identity – the distinguishing character or personality of an individual.
Who am I? What do I stand for? What brings me joy?
It took me quite some time after I had both of my boys to reach the realization that I wasn’t “just” a mom.
Initially, I felt like I had lost myself. As time went on and I became a more seasoned mom, I realized that I had only outgrown certain aspects and old habits in order to adapt and become the very best mom I could be for my kids. Finding that balance or figuring out how to incorporate the things I enjoyed as an individual into this new lifestyle of mine took some time.
Think about it. For the majority of first time moms, working full-time during pregnancy is commonplace in order to secure mat leave. We have a sense of identity within our job and it is validated in its own way. We have that sense of independence and are simply caring for one’s personal needs and wants day in and day out. Hubby and household included.
Nine months into pregnancy everything changes, drastically. Introductions into parenthood are sudden and everything is unfamiliar. As soon as that little human pops out, you are instantly in unknown territory.
Recovering from labor. Adjusting to the new shitty sleep routine. Completely sleep deprived. To co-sleep or not to co-sleep. Trying to get a handle on feeding a tiny human. Getting accustomed to the possibility of getting puked, peed, or pooped on. Bathing those tiny little bodies while trying to keep them warm, hoping to not get peed on again. Let’s not mention all of laundering that accompanies it all.
Eat. Burp. Poop. Sleep. And Repeat.
That first month is challenging and a huge lifestyle adjustment. Functioning on lots of caffeine due to lack of sleep while caring for a little human 24/7. Sacrificing any “me time”, like a shower in order to “nap with the baby” because we’ve been up three or four times in the middle of the night. Constantly giving every bit of ourselves to tend, nurture, and love this little human that we created. Self-less acts but these initial phases pass and quickly.
Being in a position where the days are long but the years fly by nurturing our little human(s), we tend to forget or lose a sense of our own personal identity.
Four years into motherhood, I realize that all the feelings of losing my identity were temporary and all about perspective. If anything I just gained a new one – Mama.
Being a mama takes precedence over my old self and ways. Priorities changed. Lifestyles changed. But time and connection with oneself became more valuable.
Seeking out ways and time to reconnect with myself as an individual after I entered motherhood was a challenge.
Here are my five ways to reconnect:
Accept or seek out help – this is something I struggled with for a long time. Thinking I could do it all but you know what, it’s okay to accept or get help. Take the opportunity when your friend or relative offers to babysit the kids for a weekend or hold the baby so you can do whatever. The kids will be okay.
Simple Acts of Self Care – whether you are utilizing that sitter or not, find ways to do simple acts of self care for yourself. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly. Paint your nails, shave your legs, get your lashes done, or go to that yoga class. Do something that makes you feel good.
Act on things that make you happier – volunteer, pick up a hobby or activity, go out with your girlfriends or just have that glass of wine. When you know what makes you happy, procrastinating won’t help – take action. Finding joy partaking in things that bring you out of isolation is okay.
Spend time alone – read a book, go for a bike ride, take a long hot shower or bubble bath. Find and make time for just you. Alone. Whether it’s getting up before all the kids in the morning, staying up way too late after bedtime or utilizing that sitter to just be alone. Make it work.
Join a social media community – find a community of women who you can connect and relate to that may have non judgemental views on your journey. Bonus, if they live in the area and weekly get togethers occur with or without kids in tow.
Being a Mama brings life a sense of purpose but it’s important not to neglect the identity of the woman outside of being a Mama. Make the time and reconnect with oneself but enjoy the journey.
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