Sometimes the tears just come. When your life revolves around dirty diapers, long nights, mealtime battles, tough homework questions and growing pains, it's hard to remember why you are doing it. Raising a family consumes you. It changes you. It can also make you forget who you are. For many women, becoming a mother changes their identity. Their lives completely shift, and they take on totally new roles.
This happened to me. After I become a mom, I lost who I was. I remember being asked what my favorite hobby was and I thought, "Does changing diapers and picking up toys count? Because that's all I've done lately." I had completely lost myself. I exercised regularly, I practiced self-care, but I just felt lost. I felt like I didn't know who I really was anymore.
You may feel the exact same way I did. You may be facing a motherhood identity crisis and wondering how you can find and become your best self. This is what I've discovered, and it helped me. Hopefully, it can help you too.
1. Never say this four-letter word
When someone asks you what you do for a living, do you respond with "I'm JUST a mom"? You are so much more than JUST a mom. Take that four-letter word out of your daily vocabulary immediately. Be proud of who you are. You may not be a top leading businesswoman, a marathoner or even a celebrity. But you have the most influence on the young people in your home. Be proud of that. You are doing incredible work.
2. It's a process
Discovering who I was and finding myself required more than just reading a few books. It is a process. It requires continual effort every single day. However, it is your own process. How you find yourself and your identity is going to be different than someone else. Take your time and learn about yourself. Really think about your strengths, weaknesses, triggers, stressors, etc. Include all aspects of your life in this process.
3. Find three things you love about the new you
You are a mom now. The old you is gone, and you'll never be that person again. It can be difficult to grasp, but if you want to overcome your motherhood identity crisis, you must accept that fact. Embrace this new lifestyle by loving the new you. Focus on three things you love about yourself. You can choose three things at the beginning of each week and focus on those characteristics throughout the entire week. Don't choose physical attributes either. Find three things you love about the inner you.
4. You need a support system
While the journey to find yourself is your own, you need the support from others. You need your spouse and your kids to give you time to yourself and do some self-discovery. You need family members to stop you when you make a negative comment about yourself. Include your family and loved ones in this journey - you'll need the help.
5. Balance the busyness
Our day-to-day demands distract us from our full potential. They halt our progress, and we become so caught up trying to ensure everyone else's needs are taken care of way before our own. Balance the busyness in your daily life. Figure out what's distracting you and causing you to lose yourself and your identity. Once you can determine what is causing you to falter, it will be easier to take time for yourself.
Yes, it is difficult. Yes, you may cry. Yes, you may want to just give up. But you are so much more than "just" a mom. You are remarkable. You are fabulous. You are incredible. Don't ever forget that.