When you get married, when you have kids, your life changes. Before, you had work, hobbies, and friends to keep you busy. Now, those things are on the back burner and you have kids needs to look out for. A lot of women struggle with this motherhood identity crisis. They miss who they once were, but there are some ways to integrate those two parts of yourself.
Kristin Hodson shares four ways we can gain a stronger sense of our identity. It may surprise you, but part of finding yourself is to make motherhood 23/7.
How to Get Past the Motherhood Identity Crisis
Embrace YOUR Birth-day
When it comes to the birth of a baby and raising our children, we often overlook that there was another birth that happened. The birth of ourselves in a new role, a new identity, a new family dynamic. It’s all new! And whether we have one child or five children, we expand our identity with each one. Practice self-compassion and patience with yourself as you learn about who you are in your different stages of parenting.
Think of Yourself in Present Tense
This is a simple identity trick, but can make a BIG difference. It can be tempting to look back to talk about who we were or refer to ourselves in past-tense, “I used to swim,” “I used to paint,” and focus on all of the things you used to love, the things you used to do. But we need to start opening our self up to what we currently like to do.
For example, Kristin remembers when she LOVED having a cold drink and getting in the bath after the kids were down. That wasn’t what she used to like to do, but she LOVED it after the birth of her baby. It became a part of her new and emerging identity. Getting in the habit of thinking about ourselves in present tense helps us reclaim who we are, not trying to reclaim who we were. Be open to discovering new parts of yourself. This is where we can really embrace the “I am” phrase.
Make Motherhood 23/7:
When we become a parent, it often becomes 24/7. What this means is to an extent, at least in the younger years, we are seemingly “on” around the clock. Time can feel like the days just merge into one. We give ourselves whatever time is leftover, but when is there time regularly left over just waiting to be spent?
If we follow the 23/7 rule, we are planning for, and making a mental note, to take time for us. This hour or two, or 10 minutes, can be anything from going for a walk alone, listening to a podcast, breaking out your cross stitch, keeping your fridge stocked with your favorite drink or treat, indulging in a Netflix show, or anything that gets you out of 24/7 mom mode and is connecting with you. It’s breaking out of “mom mode” and into “me mode” which is absolutely okay and necessary!
One of the greatest ways we can feel rejuvenated and connect to our deepest self is by continuing to learn. Whether it’s a new skill, taking a small class, (Kristin loves @8minuteclasses on Instagram), or reading about a different culture. Knowledge is power. If you’re not sure what you want to learn, ask others what they enjoy reading, listening to, or learning about and see if anything piques your interest.