There is often a moment in a young mother’s life when she looks at her life and no longer recognizes herself in that life. I would like to say this is because motherhood has shaped us into strong, dynamic women, improved versions of who we use to be.
While motherhood does have the potential to shape us into these amazing, improved versions of ourselves, in the beginning, it feels much more like we shrink from the nobility of it all. In that moment when we glance at the piles of laundry, hear the temper tantrum in the background and see our current reflection in the mirror, we don’t feel strong or dynamic. We feel lost and overwhelmed.
As a mentor to mothers, the No. 1 thing I hear from women — especially moms of young children — is, “I don’t know who I am anymore.” As moms we forget who we are because when we become a mom, we pour our heart and soul into our children. We love our children and want nothing more than to nurture them, but in the process we forget to nurture ourselves and our personal identities.
This identity crisis can happen to any of us at any age. The trick to navigating it is to validate your need for identity beyond motherhood, remember your passions, and watch for clues in your life, trying to show you your purpose.
Validate your need for identity
No two of us are born with the same mission or purpose, and yours is necessary and should not be forgotten. I am blessed to raise identical twin boys. Genetically those boys are the same — down to their DNA. But as their mother, I can attest they are two very different individuals with incredibly different personalities, talents, gifts and strengths.
It is OK for you to wish to be more, do more or serve more than just within the walls of your own home. It is who you were created to be.
Remember your passions
In fact, you won’t find full joy in your life — in your role as mother — unless you can identify your passions and act on them. Many moms say, “My kids are my joy.” Absolutely. My children are my joy, too. But you have other passions and other joys as well.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to remember your lost passions:
- What did you like to do as a preteen?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- If you had one day to yourself to do what you love, what would you do?
When you can incorporate even some of your passions into your role as a mother, you will begin to feel more like “that person” you used to be pre-children and even evolve into a much better version of yourself.
Watch for clues about your purpose
Following your passions will lead you to your purpose or calling in life. In his book “The Law of Happiness,” Dr. Henry Cloud writes, “Our calling has to do with using our gifts and talents to do good.”
Often the obstacle that gets between us and our purpose is fear. We fear failure. We fear the judgement of others. We fear putting our family at risk. If Cloud’s assumption is right (and I believe it is), then the fear we experience is really a roadblock keeping us from trusting what we were meant to do and allowing a service and benefit for others.
So I ask, if you knew you could not fail and your family would be safe, what would you do?
This article orginialy published in Motherhood Matters on KSL.com
Stock image is from freedigitalphotos.net