More Than Just A Mom: Finding Connection and Identity

More Than Just A Mom: Finding Connection and Identity

The word rut seems to be the word for 2020 so far. It has been a difficult few months. While I still don’t believe that two-year-olds are “terrible”  sometimes they are HARD to manage.  I have been feeling some serious parent burnout lately.

Being home all day with a 2-year-old and socializing for the most part, with only one adult, my husband, day in day out can leave me feeling pretty understimulated mentally, a bit isolated and honestly pretty lonely.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I’ve been feeling a bit lost lately. I don’t really know where my identity went, I find myself wondering if I ever had one? But of course I did. Before I was a mom I certainly was someone, with interests, hopes, and dreams besides motherhood. And while there is a big part of my heart that is fulfilled by being a mother I think it is so easy to get lost in motherhood to the point where it becomes all that you use your energy on.

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Photo by Daria Obymaha from Pexels

Being a mother or a parent, in general, can be very taxing. Babies need so much of you, but toddlers? Toddlers do too, depending on the child, almost as much as babies. Then comes school age with its own challenges, followed by teenagers. Becoming a parent is a from birth till forever type of job. You will never not feel worried about and to some degree responsible for your children even into adulthood. This is why it is SO important to establish a sense of balance – preferably before reach that point of burnout Once you’re burnt out in motherhood, your patience withers away right along with your feeling of fulfillment. We need balance. I know its so annoying to say that but its the truth.

Recently Kevin and I were able to spend some time with our friend and we talked a bit about our collective ruts and our friend said something that really struck me. I kept mentioning how it’s hard because I don’t have any “mom” friends or know anyone with kids Julia’s age (offline) and he told me that I probably need to explore other kinds of friends anyway.

The truth is, I’m more than a mom and the “mom” identity has consumed me because it’s almost all that I do. I haven’t been much other than a mom in the past two years.  But what about the other parts of me?  I’m still a 26-year-old woman who has interests, and elements of my personality that are not at all linked to my role as a mother. Parts of me that deserve and need development and nurturing. It seems like such a simple concept but it truly was groundbreaking for me to hear that. It is so easy to get lost in motherhood and society almost encourages it. We are expected to do it all, never complain and always be grateful.

I had to ask myself: Why am I so fixated with making mom friends? I mean, yes, it would be nice to have someone to vent to about 2-year-old woes who truly gets it and who is also going through it. But what I’m truly seeking is more human connection. There’s no need to limit myself to making friends who are only in the same place in life as me and I think that’s a myth society tries to make us believe. I think I would benefit from making connections, friendships eventually, with people I can talk to about things other than just parenting. I need to find who I am again outside of Julia’s mom.


Storytime…

This weekend I needed to get out of the house.

Desperately. It’s been a rough week in parenting. My miniature fire breathing dragon, I mean, toddler,  is so fiercely opinionated and I admit that sometimes, fighting all week to get your kid to put their clothes in the laundry basket instead of the floor can be exhausting. The first few times it’s whatever but by request 287 it’s like. Kid. The laundry basket is right there. Why must you fight me on e v e r y t h i n g ? 

unnamedSo getting out of the house on Saturday when Kevin was home and able to watch her was really key. But I didn’t even know what o do with myself. I wanted solitude but I also wanted connection. I found myself going from one spot to the next. Maybe, I thought, I will be inspired if I park near the beach. Yeah. In theory, I might be. But in reality, I felt unsure of where I parked. Was this legal? Was it safe? (The crime rates around here are scary and I’m more paranoid than the average person) There’s no sign. But right around the corner from here parking isn’t allowed. What if I get stopped by a cop? The anxiety spiral was not relaxing or productive. But I got out of my comfort zone if even temporarily, I tried to write a bit, and then I left.

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Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

Ultimately (before winding up at the library parking lot to type today’s post which was the goal of my day, to begin with) I texted my dad to see if he wanted to spend some time together. I have been trying to hang out with my dad more and I’m so glad I’ve been getting out of my shell and out of my stubborn state of, why don’t people invite me out first though and just doing it. I asked if he’d like to get lunch and go for a walk downtown. He happily obliged. We had such a lovely time. We visited the downtown library together, and walked up the floors and looked at and talked about the art they had hanging up. It was a really nice time with my dad, and the human connection I needed. Of course, I talk about Julia with my dad,  she’s a huge part of my life! but it wasn’t all that we talked about and I appreciated that. If you’re not a mom you might not understand how this is a big deal but when you’re a parent, especially in these early years, they become your whole life, and even more so if you are a stay at home parent who doesn’t break away often to interact with other adults, at a setting like work or regular social outings.

I am an introvert through and through but even I, have been under-socialized enough to walk away from yesterday’s afternoon out with a beaming feeling of happiness and energy just from having a break from the day to day monotony of only existing within my mom identity. I needed this.

 Whether you’re a parent or not I’m sure we can all relate:  Life can pull us in so many different directions.

and even if you’re doing the most important work in the world, raising babies, helping others, researching how to cure fatal diseases  — No matter how important your day to day mission is – you NEED to make time for you too.

You need to make time for genuine connections. Both human and nature. We all need balance and it doesn’t just happen. You have to create your own balance. You have to carve it out. You have to find a way to make it happen.

Honestly, I wanted to go back home 20 minutes into my outing after my beach writing failure.

I felt lost, I felt ridiculous parked at the beach but too afraid to indulge in the sea breeze and write because of my anxiety. But I kept pushing. This is what I needed. I need spontaneity sometimes. I can be so rigid. I hate to admit it but I am. Balance does not come naturally to me. I have to create it for myself. And on this day, I did. I was so excited to get back home to my daughter and my amazingly patient husband (who never stops encouraging me in whatever I feel I need to do) and enjoy them more than before because I got the break I needed.

I finally filled my cup (with more than just coffee…)

And now I’m better equipped to serve them. That is so important and so overlooked.

And I am so thankful to my friend whose talk with us recently really inspired me. If you ever read my blog thank you for reminding me that I’m more than a mom. Thank you for inspiring me, and offering to keep me accountable in my quest to explore my identity beyond being someone’s mom.

I am so grateful for my circle. It’s true I don’t have friends left and right but I do have, an awesome husband who is my best friend and the best life partner I could ever ask for. His support and belief in me never falters and he always pushes me to do what I need to do but am often afraid to. He always reminds me of my worth and I’m so lucky to have him be my sidekick in this life thing, my dad who is always there to listen to me when I reach out and still sees me for who I was before I became a mom, my daughter who inspires and challenges me to be the best version of myself possible, and a couple good friends whose conversations, even when few and far between, I could not live without.

Sending love & light,

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