13 August 2014

Owning My Identity.

I actually wrote a completely different post under this title, talking all about being a work-at-home-mom and how that pulls me away from things sometimes. But then I saw this post by Rage Against the Mini Van, followed by "Dear Mom on the iPhone: You're doing fine" in the Huffington Post -- and basically these two articles took the words out of my mouth. So if you want to know what this original post was going to be, go ahead and read those.

So instead, I've been thinking about who I am. Who I really am. First let's get this out of the way.... I am a Mother. And being a Mom definitely defines quite a bit of me. But not all of me. There is much much more to me than being a Mother.

Am I allowed to be totally brutally honest? Because that's what you're about to get. 

I feel like parenting has changed in the past 10 years. And even more so, in the last couple of years. There's this weird idea that when we become Mothers (and Fathers, too, but mostly Mothers), that we should constantly be dropping everything all of the time for our kids. Giving them every last bit of time and energy that we have. Obviously, some things need to be dropped, and some most things require our time and energy, we make a lot of sacrifices for our children, don't we?... it comes with the territory. But it will do no one, especially our kids, any kind of good, if we completely lose our identities as human beings simply because we became a parent. 

Okay so I know what some might be thinking. "That's what you signed up for when you become a parent!" And I have to whole-heartedly both agree and disagree. In my opinion, it isn't that black and white. Because while it's true that your life changes tremendously when you have children, the things that you had going on beforehand, and even the newly found interests -- those don't just simply disappear. 


My name is Mandy. I love my kids with every fiber of my being, but I still have hobbies. I have passions and dreams. I have friends that I want and need to spend time with. I have places that I want to see, and adventures that I want to go on. And, I have work that needs to get done, and other responsibilities as an adult that go WAY behind being a Mother. 

If I spend every loving minute of the day catering to my kids every last need and request, when on earth would I have time to be ME. When would I nurture the parts of me that make me who I am, and that so often get forgotten? How would I stay sane through all of the many trials that come along with being a parent?

So basically, what I've decided, is that I'm keeping my identity. Because, it's mine. There will be times that my desires take a backseat to my kids, and life. But I won't allow my children or anyone else for that matter, to expect me to be present and engaged with them 24/7. In order for me to thrive as a human being, and to be a good Mother, I need to foster my own development as a person so that I can be truly happy with myself.

Because if I've learned anything from tragic passing of the beloved Robin Williams, it's that we first and foremost, need to take care of ourselves.


27 comments:

Kerri Muffin said...

Absolutely amazing post that I really, really needed today. I feel like right now (being both a parent and pregnant again) I'm losing my way a little bit and so ready to get back on track with myself. Your opinion on this topic is exactly how I feel things should be. Again, amazing post.

Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] said...

I know friends and some family members who dedicate seemingly every.single.waking.minute entertaining their kids. I am not one of them and I'm okay with that. Actually, I need to be okay with that. My kids play so well together right now, they eat their breakfast and watch shows for a couple of hours in between playing with their trains and outside on the deck where I know they're safe unsupervised. This allows me to keep the (mostly) clean home that I do and to be able to blog. I blog in the AM while drinking coffee and if they weren't so independent and NEEDED ME all the time...I couldn't do what I do, and what I do keeps me sane. Lovely post!

Julie, Wife of a Soldier said...

Love this! It is so true. I have never really been one to spend all day everyday catering to the children. Never before have moms been expected to do that. I also see moms feeling guilty for going on a girl's night or even going out with their husbands. It makes me sad. We all need time away, time to refresh and recharge.

Joelle Duff said...

This is everything. We are trying desperately to get pregnant, and I struggle with this concept every single day. WHO would I be once I become a mother? The answer is, simply...myself. I will do things differently and will definitely make mistakes, but I'm still a person. And I need to create little people who have their own identities and mistakes and trials and goals and dreams too. That's what the point of being a parent is. So thank you for writing this.

Lindsay Living Vegan said...

Such a great post and SO inspirational. Thank you for opening up :)

Cailin Koy said...

This is totally true, and good for kids too. It's how they learn that there are other people in the world with thoughts and feelings as important as their own, and they can be independent at times.

Andrea Ryan-Nugent said...

What a beautiful post. Being a mom can be very difficult to think about what makes YOU happy and what YOU want because you get all caught up in the hustle and bustle of your husband and children's wants and needs. You quickly become the "go-to" person in the family for well... EVERYTHING! lol ...this is enough to drive someone crazy lol so it is important to stop and think of yourself too.

This post is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing :)

Laura, The Start of a Good Life said...

Even as a newlywed, (me!!!) I find that I still need time away from my loving hubby to just 'be'. He needs time away just as much as I do. In other words, I think this fits any time of life! I think it just gets that much more difficult when you're also a mom. =) great post!

Fran said...

A-men! I think a lot of the same happens when people get married and I know so many women that completely lose themselves in their marriage and while you have to give yourself up to your spouse, it's only healthy up to a point. You still need to be YOU and do your thing!

Eavie said...

I have an almost two year old and another one on the way. My life has changed so much since having my first. It's hard to find yourself in the middle of all the busy-ness sometimes, and when you are constantly needed. I know it won't last forever, though, and I try to remind myself of that. I don't plan to entertain my kids all the time as they grow up - I didn't grow up that way and I'm not sure why people do that now. Thanks for your post!

ananda said...

thank you for being so open, and sharing a thoughtful post like this! wish you find more time for yourself and for hobbies you love!

Christen P said...

Great post! I recently decided that if I can give my kids even just one hour of UNDIVIDED attention- that means no being on my phone or jotting down ideas for freelance articles or checking email- but just being 100% devoted to them and listening to them that that is enough to make them feel loved and cared for. If I give them that one undivided hour, I can then proceed through my day guilt free. Granted the other "stuff" that I do is not as good as yours. I don't go out with friends more than a couple of times a year and I think my hobby is work. But I can work on my house and write and concentrate on working- hey maybe even exercise and then I feel good about myself and because I do I am a better mom. If we only identify as being a mom once the kids get older what are we? Nothing? And what example does that set for the kids? We have to be who we want our kids to become. I also have no idea how a child will cope if he is doted on 24/7. When college hits will he just fall apart?

Jessie said...

You took the words right out of my mouth. Loved this!

Aileen Johnston said...

could not agree more with this post! Loved it!

Katie said...

HERE, HERE! Could not agree more - I think we all lose our identity sometimes and need to take time for ourselves to find it again. It's so important. Life is so short and at the end of the day - we're living for ourselves, no one else. Our life is what WE make it.

Katie <3

Autumn said...

Love this! I'm not a Mom yet, but I've already noticed Mommy guilt. It makes me sad that people feel like they have to give up everything for their children, when in reality, being yourself and being confident is really what I think helps kids learn a sense of themselves.

blogger said...

Everyone needs some me time, even moms!

Rebekah Clarke said...

Thank you for this post, and linking to the others - I hadn't read the one on Rage Against the Mini Van yet. I am constantly beating myself up with mom guilt (and it's only about to get worse as I head back to the office 40 hours a week) feeling like I don't give everyone else enough of myself, and then there's no me left for me...

lauriel said...

*applause* Awesome, awesome post. I completely agree with you, and love your stated commitment and focus on yourself. I think that taking care of yourself, along with your family, is key for everyone's happiness and well-being. I think that self-identity is something that is enhanced by those around us, not something to be lost when children come into the picture...

My husband and I have been trying for 1.5 yrs and can't wait to start our family. I have made the same resolution as you, and I hope to be able to put it into action, as you are. Many kudos to you!!!

xo,
lauriel

EyeForElegance.com

Ashley McCardia said...

This is a great post, and something I have struggled with a lot until very recently. Once my second was born, I stopped doing anything that took me away from my girls. I was trying to juggle both of them and worried I wasn't doing enough. I quit blogging and finally a couple months ago realized I was simply a shell of myself. It made me so sad to think I had stripped away everything besides the mother side of myself and have been working hard to fix that!

I really loved reading this post!

Ayana Pitterson said...

Honey, can we be friends next door!!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS POST. I have some major guilt for feeling as though I don't want to give my kids 24 hours of my undivided attention. I am a military lawyer, work long hours, come home and still spend time with them, but at nights, I need them in by 8:30 so I can have some me time and hubby time. I know so many friends who don't do anything without their kids and try to make me feel bad when I am taking my own time out from them. Thank you so much for expressing what so many of us definitely feel and antagonize over. LOVE IT.

Thrifting Divas
www.thriftingdiva.com

Alfa Sengupta said...

I love this. It is honest. And I couldn't agree with you more. I feel like people always expect only supermoms to exist. And sometimes being super mom means, giving yourself time to be who you are. Either way, this was beautifully written and I loved reading it!

Amanda Jillian B said...

Excellent post, and definitely something that people need to realize.

Julie S. said...

Amen! I couldn't agree more. Somedays I DO have to put aside my things for the kids, but I also need that time to recharge!

Lauren @ Lot Forty Eight said...

i think it is really important to take time for yourself and take time to grow yourself when you are a parent. it makes you a better parent

Jessica Snyder said...

your awesome! Love this post and your blog too cute!

Jana Garrett said...

I totally agree! And I almost feel guilty when I take time for myself... to work out, craft, work on my blog, but I know it's important for my sanity! lol! Thanks for sharing