Moms everywhere have both heard and probably said, “Having kids will change your life!” You hear it all the time, and it really is true! Becoming a mom will change your life. From the moment that little baby is born, your life changes. Scratch that. From the moment you become pregnant your life is not the same. Your body (that used to be just that, YOUR body) is now under the dictatorship of the tiny human growing inside of you. The clothes you wear, the foods you eat, the sleep you do or don’t get, and your bathroom habits are forever changed by becoming a mom.
Kids are a precious gift, but they do require a lot of love, attention, and hard work. Becoming a parent will rearrange your priorities in life. Simply put, your life won’t be the same.
With all of that being said, I want to make a new argument. Despite motherhood radically changing life as I knew it, in some ways being a mom didn’t change me. Please allow me to explain. Motherhood changed what my life looks like, but it didn’t change some of the core things that make me who I am. I am a mother. It is one of the first things I say when I am introducing myself. So much of my identity is tied to the two beautiful girls that make me a mama, but that is not the full extent of who I really am.
Sometimes I need to take a step back and look at who I am, apart from being a mom. It can be hard to try to separate from that, but I need to for my own sanity.
I still have needs.
It can be easy to forget about my own needs as a mom, but they still exist. As women I think we have the basic need to be loved and desired. That doesn’t magically go away once you enter motherhood. I know that need is still there, but it seems so insignifanct compared to the growing pile of laundry, crying kiddos, and all of the hungry mouths that expect dinner sometime before bedtime.
I am still a woman. Being seen as desirable or wanted, to someone other than the nursing baby who wants another feeding, can seem far fetched some days. The simple words, “You look good today,” coming from my husband, sound like an eloquent love song to my ears. I look down at my mysteriously stained shirt and feel my unwashed hair falling out of place, yet I somehow can feel beautiful in that moment. I need that.
Another one of my needs is the need for relationship. I am an extrovert so I get reenergized by being around people. This can create an interesting difficulty being a stay at home mom. Some days are hard and long, but finding ways to connect to other moms has been a lifesaver! Seeing my husband walk through the door is also a highlight of my day. It gives me the chance to engage in conversation with someone whose age is in the double digits. I need that too.
I have been learning to recognize what my personal needs are and I try my best to communicate that with my husband. It could be as simple as 30 minutes to myself, a grocery store run without kids in tow, a compliment to boost my mood, or some time to just have a real adult conversation. We are still working on our communication. I learned the hard way that my husband doesn’t have supernatural powers to read my mind. Bummer. When I effectively communicate my needs, our marriage is stronger and I am happier, which is really a win win for everyone!
I still have dreams.
A lot of my dreaming involves my daughters. I dream of the women that I hope to see them become. And I dream about what our family will look like through the coming years and how we will grow and change. But I can have dreams apart from my family as well. I can dream and have goals that don’t involve potty training or sleep training (although that’s a major aspect of my life currently). Having dreams or goals doesn’t make me a bad mom.
I love to create. I love to connect. And I love to encourage. When I am actively doing those things I feel like I am living out some of my dreams. These dreams of mine may shift and change over the years, but I will never stop chasing them. Part of them will inevitably involve my family, but not entirely. And that really is ok.
In some ways I am still that person I was before the title of mom was added to my resume. The functionality of my life has changed in almost every aspect, yet I am still me. When I ignore my needs and dreams I can lose site of that person and get lost in the tasks. But I have found a fuller joy in those tasks when I feel the freedom to be me.
Becoming a mom didn’t change who I was, but instead made me realize more clearly who I really am.
To the mama out there who feels like her identity is simply “mom,” know that isn’t true. While you may have the privilege of wearing the title of “mom” you also can be identified as a wife, sister, friend, encourager, dreamer, and so much more! Even though it can get a little hazy, don’t let motherhood let you lose sight of who you are.