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Challenge: WHO Are You?

How Our Kids Can Help Us Find Our Personal Identity Beyond the Mom Label

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I lost myself in motherhood for sure. Don't we all? The minute my first son looked up at me was when God hit my heart out of the park. Going. Going. Gone. Ba-bye, any part of me I thought I knew or understood.

At first, feeling lost in motherhood was bliss. Nothing else mattered except the precious human in front of me. For me, going back to work was brutal. My high-powered corporate accounting job didn’t mesh with my heart mush. So, I took a part-time opportunity with one of my firm’s clients to better balance my roles.

Then boy two came along and I did a deeper dive into the abyss of raising two kids. A blink later, daughter arrived—making the kid count three in 3 ½ years. I wanted nothing more than to be a full-time Mom, and God obliged by blessing my hubby with an amazing job, earning enough to sustain our family on one income.

I loved every minute of staying home, until I didn’t.

Of course I loved my kids to no end, but living a life lost in motherhood left me feeling lost as a person. The disillusion happens to many of us.

My world spun on its axis when going from wearing suits and eating fancy lunches to spending days wearing t-shirts and sweats covered in peanut butter and spit-up. Weeks once filled with challenging spreadsheet analysis and account reconciliations now included Barney sing-a-longs, diaper changes, and endless kitchen cleanups.

The contrast in roles and daily experience can leave the best of us reeling for a time. We choose to stay home because we want this life. The thing is, sometimes our kids love for us and our love for them isn't enough to define our identity beyond Mom or fill our soul space around purpose.

As a young adult living in a world where job status meant something for a woman, I presumed leaving my career to mother at home meant I no longer wielded the intelligence or capability to hang with the big wigs. The struggle with feeling worthy was real.

Although being a Mom was a label I wore with gratitude and pride, the whispers of society told me staying home dumbed me down. The Shelby I once knew was incognito. Aside from Mom, was I anybody else?

In these moments, the identity crisis and emptiness can consume us. Clarity is hard to come by while in the throes of entanglement.

But over time, I realized the more I lost in regards to my role as Mom, the more I gained in my role as human being. We may lose an idea of who we are for a time, but our children tend to guide us toward finding what we need to succeed and survive in this world.

Here are just a few of the loss for gain scenarios I encountered:

I lost my independence, but found my freedom

I lost my energy, but found my drive

I lost my youthfulness, but found my stamina

I lost my inner mojo, but found a deeper moxie

I lost my mind, but found my sanity

I lost my patience, but found my endurance

I lost my astuteness, but found my awareness

I lost my purpose, but found my calling

In the end I lost a lot, but I found what sticks. The residue is what matters most. Our kids have an uncanny way of leading us to wholeness.


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