Do I Have An Identity Outside of Being ‘Mom'?
As single moms it is very common for us to dive so deep into being a mom that we can often lose ourselves. Sometimes we can feel like there is nothing more to us than being ‘mom'. I know that I have felt that way at times.
Constantly feeling like I lost my identity when I became a parent. I mean, who am I other than “Connor's mom” or “Gage's Mom” or “Brooklyn's Mom”. In fact, I am pretty sure that there are many children and some parents who don't even know my actual first name.
So after years and years of not really having much of an identity outside of being so and so's mother…what happens when they grow up and move out? When your identity is so engrained in being a parent who are you when they are gone? That is the dilemma that Jen McGuire faced when her four adult boys moved out.
She found herself looking at the bathroom mirror, that was now finally free of toothpaste spots, and feeling like it was no longer her home. Because it was now empty of the people who had given her purpose for so many years. She, like many of us, had wrapped up her whole identity in her children. Now without them there she felt lost.
So she decided that she was going to go on a mission to find herself again – in Europe. In this podcast episode I interview Jen and talk about how she came to the decision to take such a trip. We will also talk about her memoir NEST: Letting Go From Italy, France and Ireland, why she wrote the book and how her trip truly changed her life as an empty nester.
As moms sometimes we feel like our lives have to be completely about our children. And for single moms this can feel even more true. However, it is also really important to remember that you were a person before you had kids too!
You had dreams and goals and hobbies that maybe you have put on the back burner because you feel like you have to. And yes, that is true to a certain extent BUT if you don't keep a little bit for yourself you will lose yourself.
Which is why so often we moms don't know what to do with ourselves when we finally get a moment to ourselves. OR we feel guilty if we take time for ourselves. We need to normalize feeling like people outside of our kids. Because what happens to us when they are grown up and move out?
Who are we then? What do we do then? What do we do when our identity is gone and we are left trying to figure out who we are again?
So no matter what, try to carve out time for yourself. Take some moments when you can to find things that interest you outside of your kids. Find hobbies, make plans for when your kids are away. Discover what inspires you so that you can have some sense of your identity as an individual.
Because yes, being mom is one of the most important things that you can ever be… but it isn't ALL you will ever be.