Once you have children, you can get so easily caught up in being the best mom that you stop being the best you. From day one, I proudly wear “mommy” as a badge of honor. It was and still is one of the greatest accomplishments I’d ever become. However, becoming a mom guilted me into thinking that becoming the best version of myself was selfish and irresponsible. Girl, I even thought that putting my children before me was what was best for them. Soon I’d realize that was the farthest thing from the truth.
What is Motherhood Identity Crisis?
Motherhood identity crisis is simply the loss of a woman’s sense of individuality while actively raising children. After having children, the life of a mother mainly revolves around the needs of her kids and household, and less around what makes her, her. According to Wikipedia, Identity is the qualities, beliefs, personality traits, appearance, and/or expressions that characterize a person or group
For example, prior to having children, a mother may have been known for her unique characteristics, however once she became a mom she became recognized for just that. Identity Crisis is very common in motherhood and especially common is those women who have multiple kids.
Why is Mom Identity Important?
A mother’s identity is very important to maintain while raising children. The needs of children are very demanding and in the cases of stay at home moms, it is a 24 hour responsibility.
If a mother focuses solely on her children and less on taking care of herself, she may start to exemplify certain mom burnout behaviors such as emotionally distancing herself from her children, frustration, anxiety, depression, or addictive behaviors (such as alcoholism).
A mothers identity is a crucial element in raising happy children.
Prior to losing my identity in motherhood, I had independence, one that I didn’t recognize as freedom until I had lost it. I had the ability to come and go as I pleased, I ate when and where I wanted to, I slept when I was tired, and I only had the responsibility of me.
After having children and becoming a stay at home mom, I became so absorbed in motherhood that I started to neglect myself.
I begin eating less or while standing up, not even giving myself the decency to sit down at the table, not taking daily showers, buying things the kids didn’t need, out of guilt , over buying things for myself.
Let me tell you, save yourself from this cycle, a toy todays a forgotten toy tomorrow.
Reasons Moms Lose Their Identity
Sleep is very important and often overlooked in motherhood. Getting 8 or so hours of sleep in motherhood is extremely important; but often due to a childs inconsistent sleep schedule mom will start to develop poor sleep habits.
Mothers with poor sleep habits for prolonged periods of time will often start to mimic mental disorders like anxiety, depression, or unpredictable behavior.
Therefore, physical as well as mental exhaustion can lead to a mom feeling like she has lost her grip on her identity.
Although sleep deprivation is very common in motherhood, the normality neglects its urgency. Mothers with newborn children should try sleeping while the child is sleep to rest up for the next shift.
However, this can be difficult if you have other children, or when trying to decide between sleep and washing a load of laundry.
In many cases, moms will call outside sources for help to get the rest needed.
Lack of Support
While it does take a village to raise children, some mothers don’t have the support system needed to assist with child-rearing.
Often enough, mothers with lack of support don’t spend ample time alone, leading to the loss of identity.
Mothers who spend a lot of time handling family and household day-to-day responsibilities, are working around the clock without a substantial break.
Support allows mom to regroup and mentally recharge; helping her maintain her sense of self.
Majority of mothers will develop support systems from parents to siblings, or friends of the family.
However, if this isn’t possible, professional baby-sitting services would be an ideal option.
Not being able to wear your favorite jeans, or struggling to participate in activities you once enjoyed can seriously play mind games within yourself.
Be Sure to Check Out:
Self is care is not selfish. One of the biggest misconceptions in motherhood is that self care is a selfish act. Self care is extremely neglected in motherhood; mainly because of generational notions that would have us to believe putting others before ourselves is what was best for our families.
Mothers for decades have adopted this theory, and have later realized neglecting self care is actually the worst thing we can do for our families.
For me, when I neglected self care I felt like I wasn’t human; more like a robot.
Brushing my hair only when I was going to be seen outside the house, to skipping showers because I felt there was some other pressing factor that need to come before me.
Take it from me, put you first. Nothing is more important than you, because without you and all that you do your family would be devastated.
Hobbies are activities within our interest that we participate in regularly; keyword here is regularly.
Hobbies aren’t only pastimes we do on weekends, they can be done throughout the week and even daily.
Prior to becoming a mom of four I loved to dance, and after having children I started to dance less and less. It wasn’t until I recognized my sons love for dancing that I realized I hadn’t been doing what I loved.
The lack of indulging in what interest you can cause you to lose your sense of individuality.
15 Tips for Regaining Your Identity in Motherhood
`1. Take Care of Yourself First– intentionally make yourself a priority every single day. Try waking up early in the morning before your children, and spend that time brushing your hair, showering, meditating, or reading a few pages of your favorite book.
I have found that waking up early before my children has been such a life saver in maintaining my sense of individuality.
While most people will stay up late try practicing self-care at night, I prefer the morning before the chaos so that I am well prepared for whatever the day brings.
2. Hire/ Outsource – The day-to-day household responsibilities can feel like soul sucking obligations, and are very time consuming. My ultimate nemesis is the never-ending pile of laundry that seems to always be running over the basket.
Since outsourcing our laundry I have found more time to do the things I love. For your own mental sanity hire the help.
3. Participate in Social Groups– One of my favorite social groups to attend is church. I love God, and I love to fellowship with his people.
Church is such a great place to commune with God, meet new people, attend worship events, and volunteer. Find a social group that share your likes and values and actively participate within them.
4. Hobbies – when you do what you love its not work, its fun. You have enough responsibility on you list of things to do, do what you love!
Set aside time everyday to do what you love to do; you are a priority.
5. Get some sleep– The recommended amount of sleep is 8-10 hours. However, If you’re anything like me, you probably always get the urge to scroll through IG videos while laying in bed; but put the phone down and go to sleep.
Sleep is important and needs to be made a priority in motherhood in order to feel more like yourself again.
6. Exercise- Get active. Just 20 minutes a day can make such a huge difference in your journey to rediscovering yourself in motherhood; and I did I mention youll shed some of that post-baby weight.
7. Ask for Help- Ask close friends and family for to help you with child-raising. If friends and family aren’t available, search a trustworthy babysitting service and get the break you desperately need.
8. See a Therapist– You’re not crazy because you see a therapist. There are hidden things that may be bothering you that you aren’t able to express or things others wouldnt even understand. Seeing a therapist is a great way to talk about your feelings and regain your sense of self.
9. Get a New Hair Do – Nothing makes me feel more like myself more than a fresh hair cut or a new do.
10. Journal Your Thoughts – At the end of everyday journal your thoughts; the good, the bad, the ugly. Journaling is a great way to express yourself, instead of holding a bunch of mixed emotions in.
11. Spend Time Outside– The “sunshine drug”, also known as Vitamin D, fights fatigue, exhaustion, and mood swings; perfect for moms struggling to feel like themselves.
12. Take a Mini Mom Vacation– Mini Mom vacations are the perfect little get-a-ways. Leave your little ones with daddy and head for the nearest hotel.
Take this time to catch up on sleep, order room service, get a massage, or take a swim in the pool. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.
13. Invite Friends Over for Dinner- Dinner parties are always fun; they are perfect for catching up with your friends. You can play your favorite games, eat, and even watch a chick flick.
14. Limit Time on Social Media– Take a social media break. Social media sometimes confuses reality. As mothers we tend to compare ourselves to other moms who “seem” to be living better lives. Let me just tell you no one has it all together.
15. Set Boundaries– Setting boundaries is important in regaining your identity. Boundaries can be set with your children, spouse, extended family, and friends. You have to put yourself first, and no one will value you, if you don’t require them to.
Ditch the mom guilt of wanting to be the perfect mom and become the best version of you. Put you first, do what you love, and get some sleep because you deserve a life you can be proud of.
Start today and rediscover yourself after motherhood.
Leave a comment and share how you are regaining your sense of self.