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Hey Kids… I’m a Person Too! Reclaiming Your Identity When You’re a Mom

Identity as a momI have the utmost respect for all my fellow mamas out there who work so hard at raising up all of these demanding and perplexing little people. However, I’m concerned about a trend I am noticing. Sometimes these wonderful mamas are so busy being a “mom” that they forget their identity as people too.

People who have their own needs and desires! 

Lessons Learned From My Mom

My mom is and was an awesome mom. She has always gone out of her way to show her support, love, and to make sure we are spoiled on occasion. I have no complaints about the type of mom she is.

Except one.

My mom was and is so wrapped up in her identity as a mom to myself and my three siblings that she has lost herself. We have all left the house and three of us have families of our own, yet she continues to struggle with what she wants for her life. I honestly don’t think she knows what she likes, or what she is passionate about, because she didn’t take the time to learn that about herself.

She has never made herself or her needs a priority.

I think this is the main reason why I parent my children the way that I do. They always say that you tend to be the opposite type of parent from your own. (Funny. If that’s really the case, that means we turn out more like our grandparents.) 

My Motherhood Motto

I love my children and would do anything for them. However, I will not constantly sacrifice my needs just because I am a mom. I want my children to play a huge role in my life, but I refuse to let them BE MY LIFE.

My children will grow up and move to start lives away from me. This is the natural progression, which we should be equipping them to do. If I don’t take the time now to nurture and develop other roles, interests, and passions, what will I have when they are gone? What will be my identity?

My children see that I make my husband a priority by going out on regular date nights. They see that my friends are important to me because I make girls night out a priority. They see that occasionally, I leave the messy house and read or write or exercise instead. I think this knowledge allows them to see me as a person rather than just their mom. This understanding on their part fosters a healthy respect for me from my children.

Carrying all the Burden

Too many moms carry huge burdens as part of their mom badge. They think to themselves this is what a good mom does, so the exhaustion and frustration are worth it.

Is this you?

If you consistently place your legitimate needs last, what does that teach your children? That your world revolves around them and their needs. Believe me, children, especially teens, can have this mind set. This can lead them to a sense of entitlement and a lack of appreciation for everything you do for them.

Remember to stand up for yourself by asking for help, and to place your needs and desires first some of the time. This assertion does not make you a poor mom. It can save your sanity and will help your children to see that others needs are just as important as their needs. This is a crucial life lesson!

It’s Okay to Be an Imperfect Person

Do your children view you as a person? Do they realize that you can be tired, hungry, overwhelmed, sad or frustrated sometimes? Are you afraid to share your emotions with your children?

I believe it is important to be open with your children about your emotions. If I have had a bad day, or I’m worried about something, I’ll share that with my children. I don’t go into the details about my complicated grown up life because I don’t want them to feel responsible for or worry about the issue.

Yet, I refuse to smile and pretend as if nothing is wrong because I believe I must always appear strong. Ignoring my feelings can lead to yelling for no apparent reason, or even worse, depression. We as moms should model positive emotional awareness and openness, if we want our children to know how to name and share their own feelings.

Here is my encouragement to all you lovely mamas out there. Continue to be the best mom you can be, but please remember you are also so much more than a mom!

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