You Are Not Just A Mother, You Are YOU First!
Mothers face many challenges in today’s world. They carry the responsibility of many roles. Through these roles we become different things to different people. Sometimes we get divided over having a career and having a families or find conflict between the different jobs that we try to do. Making the question “Who am I?” even harder to answer.
It grows harder because mothers see this little person that looks up at them with innocent trusting eyes, mommy is everything to that little one. She makes the hurt from boo-boos go away with a kiss, chases the monsters from under the bed away, and rocks them after a bad dream. Every mother takes that responsibility and carries it with her no matter where she goes. It is an awesome responsibility of caring for this wonderful little person and being mom is always on the mind. As much as it is wonderful to revel in mommy-hood, we still need to remember that being a mother is just one part of us, the more we allow ourselves to see who we are the better examples we can set for our children to leading a balanced life.
As a mother, I have struggled to find my own identity. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a business owner, a sister, a friend…..but who am I? It is easy to define yourself by what you do and what you mean to other people. As we take on these different roles our own identity gets blurred. It is harder to make the distinction. Who am I if I am not Logan’s mom or Ben’s wife?
Who are you? A wife, a mother, an employee, they are all a part of who we are, but they do not define you. We are the only ones that are able to define who we are. When are we just women? Women that have our own values, ideas, and philosophies, women that are able to embrace their different roles in life, but still are able to maintain there sense of “self”.
The importance of women defining who they are is giving them a chance to grow as women. To recognize that they need to take off all the different hats that they wear during the day and take time to honor who they are.
The problem is that because they are in so many different roles that they stop seeing themselves separate from them. They stop taking time for themselves, because they are giving so much to everyone else. Does this sound familiar? Have you lost your identity among the different jobs that you do everyday? How do you see yourself?
Here are a few questions that can help you determine if you are defining yourself by what you do instead of who you are:
Do you spend at least an hour a day doing the things that you want to do? (Reading, participating in hobbies, watching your favorite TV program, etc)
When asked to describe yourself do you start with “I enjoy…” or “I am a woman that believe/feel….”? Or do you say, “I am a mother…” or “I am a nurse…”
Are you able to say “no” to things that interfere with the things that you want to do? Or that you do not have time for?
Do you feel that your life is in balance? Which means that you get enough time to pursue your own interest instead of just the interest of your children or significant other?
Do you feel that you spend time equally on yourself as you do on others?
If you answered “no” to any of the questions it is time to get back in touch with yourself. You need to not only stop defining yourself by what you do but you need to spend sometime getting to know who you are.
Here are some tips for you to get in touch with the forgotten woman inside.
- Make sure that you spend time perusing your own interests. The problem with defining yourself by what you do is that you don’t give yourself time to do what you want to do; your time is spent doing for others. Do something that you have always wanted to do; take a class, start a book club, anything that gives you some time to just do your own thing. Above all make the time to do it! It’s ok to do something for yourself.
- Say “NO” frequently! Just because you take on different roles does not mean that you have to do everything for everybody. Recognize when there is something that others could really do for themselves. Do not let yourself be taken advantage of! REMEMBER it is just as much of a benefit for others to learn how to do for themselves as it is to you.
- Make sure that you have OFF DUTY time! Just like a conventional job, make sure there is a time of day when you are done. Don’t work right up until you go to bed. Give yourself time to unwind, distress, and relax. Wait until the kids are in bed and take a long hot bubble bath. Curl up in your favorite chair with a good book. Meditate or do yoga. Do whatever relaxes you. You need this time to maintain some balance. Because of you multiple roles you are “on the clock” the majority of the time. You have to have time to distress! Without it you are going to “burn out”. Visualize your bank account if you keep making withdraws without making a deposit, eventually you are going to just run out of resources. Make sure to take time to revitalize yourself.
I have found that by maintaining my own identity that I am a better mother, wife, daughter, business owner, sister, and friend. It maintains balance in my life because I know that even though I am different things to different people; I know what it means to just be me.