Losing or Gaining Your Identity?

When we are little girls, some of us dream of becoming moms, holding and loving our baby dolls while practicing to care for the real thing one day.  Others sit in front of the mirror holding the hairbrush microphone, imagining themselves as pop stars, while there are those that sit for hours and draw up beautiful sketches of clothing hoping to one day become a designer.

Whatever the dream, from the time we have pigtails and bows in our hair, we are attracted to certain careers.  I wanted to be an actress, television journalist  (i.e. Jane Pauley), waitress or teacher, depending on the day of the week.  While it was always so much fun pretending to have one of those occupations, there was one that was a definite for me, without a doubt.  I ALWAYS knew I would be a mother!

While some people might not look at motherhood as a career, I absolutely do, but that topic is for another article, another time.  Today, I am writing about our identities as mothers.  I actually found my identity when I became a mom and was surprised to hear a whole different perspective from a mom I was talking to recently.

While out with a friend recently, I met another mother and the three of us had such an interesting conversation about how we all view motherhood.  As I was being introduced, my friend mentioned that I stayed at home with the kids, to which I smiled and happily accepted my “career” of choice.  She then added, “…and she actually enjoys doing it!”

If you give me a platform to talk about being a mother…I will, with pleasure, tell you how much I really do love watching my kids grow, helping to shape them and dedicating my time to them.  The two women looked at each other and chuckled because it was never something they dreamed of doing, unlike myself.  Sensing the odd silence, I added, “I have my own business” (and explained all about Mommy Masters), and the response was, “Oh, so you have your own thing going on and your own identity…that’s good”.  It was almost as if they could not imagine just taking care of their kids, which is a fear of many women I know.  Most think if they dedicate their whole lives to their children, they will lose themselves and miss out on following their goals and dreams.  As mentioned, I was able to reach many of my goals because of my children.

What was said next was so interesting and thought-provoking to me, it sparked this article.  My new friend said that when she had kids, she was very afraid of losing her identity and as her kids are getting older, feels she finally has the opportunity to gain it back.  I had a confused look on my face and mentioned how strange that sounded to me.  I feel like I found my identity when my children were born.  My whole life I had so many interests but when I had kids, it finally all clicked… I had found something I was 110% passionate about.  Being a mother has given me confidence and a voice, taught me patience and appreciation, and has allowed me to do things I never thought I could do.  Unlike my new mommy friend, I am actually worried I will lose my identity once my kids get older.

I am the mom of three little boys.  Changing diapers, giving baths, cutting steak into teeny pieces, story time and healing kisses is what I do…for now.  Who will I be when that all ends?  I never really thought about it any other way.  I will of course still be a mom to three boys but instead of driving the carpool, I will be teaching them how to drive.  As our kids grow older, my new friend can’t wait to get her identity back, while I am afraid to lose mine.

I would like to believe we are all doing what we are supposed to be doing. I am stay at home mom who writes and offers parenting advice in my free time.  This life I have created fulfills me, challenges me and often leaves me exhausted and defeated, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We all have varying perspectives on motherhood and that is what makes the world go round.  I have the utmost respect for all moms, whether they work from home, stay at home, work outside the home, and work full-time or part-time.  Each one has its drawbacks and its advantages and one is not better than the other.

My recent conversation really opened my eyes to the fact that motherhood truly means something different to everyone.  That said, when you become a mother, you can absolutely stay true to who you are, or like me, discover a new you.

Did you lose or gain your identity when you became a mom?  Mommy Masters would love to hear from you!