Many women a mother arrive on my blog because they googled “I’ve lost my identity after being a mom.” It can happen, here are some of the major causes of a stay-at-home-mom identity crisis. And a must read if you ask yourself, “I’m a mom, but is that all?” Contains affiliate links.
You remember the days…
Staying up late, hanging out, and seeing all the new releases at the movie theater. You’d eaten at every restaurant, went to the fun places on rotation, and generally considered yourself a social person. At least, in the circles you wanted to run in.
You watched what you wanted to watch. Ate when you wanted to eat. Slept when you felt tired and stayed up if you didn’t. You know… you were in control of your own life.
Though you’re still in control of your own life, things are different. Your desires, motivations, and spontaneous urges don’t factor into your decision making nearly as much as they used to. This is good and fine and right, but it’s still a shock to the system.
Something that takes getting used to.
Reasons stay-at-home-moms lose their identity
I want to mention here, before you send me hate mail, that these things in themselves are not bad. They are morally neutral. It isn’t that you’re wrong if you do them, just that their effects can have an unanticipated effect on you.
1. Her whole life revolves around the kids
This is perplexing because – hello – when we have kids our days do revolve around them. However, there’s a difference in your daily routine revolving around the kids and the entire meaning of your life revolving around them. You can still be on duty 24/7 and be involved in other things.
Adult bible studies, girls nights, charity work, or service projects with your kids will take you from your four walls home bubble to a more well-rounded perspective. I struggle with this as a mom to many young ones who also writes about raising young ones. I have to seek out other things or I get tunnel vision.
2. She stops caring about how she looks
I used to take pleasure choosing an outfit, doing my hair, and accessorizing each morning. I liked it. Now I’m lucky if I bother to cover my hair in a cap and find matching exercise tops and bottoms. Some days I do, some days I don’t. This is a non-issue for me because I know it’ll change with time, however…
It does cause me to feel that I’m not the “woman” I used to be. I don’t look as put together or attractive as I once did. I look at women with one or two children or all in school and think… “Wow… her nails match her outfit…” I’m not crying on my pillow about it, but it does make a difference.
Read: If you are very bothered by your clothing situation, I encourage you to take this free course which will help you dress for your own personality.
3. She has to slow down (even though she’s more busy)
This is a big one for many women. They are used to be so involved in many things that becoming a mother can be difficult. I did a survey once and the #1 thing mothers mentioned that was a challenge for them was loneliness. They felt isolated, alone, and bored at home when their babies were very small.
It can be a big change for your personality and temperament, and may make you feel like a different person than you were used to. Perhaps you aren’t the life of the party or don’t see your friends very often. While this in itself might not bother you, it will still affect how you see yourself.
4. Her identity revolved around her job
Some girls dreamed of becoming a mom since childhood. These moms will find the transition to motherhood easier since it was long anticipated. Others find it more difficult, particularly if they were in a fulfilling career they gave up to stay at home. Even if it’s your choice to stay at home (and you don’t regret it), it’s a big change to lose the validation and satisfaction of a job well done. Especially a job with measurable results.
5. She’s lost freedom she once had
This was a big one for me. An only child (birth order matters) who had travelled extensively, not being able to do “whatever I wanted when I wanted” was a struggle. I was happy to make choices that were better for my baby, but it meant my entire life looked different. No more going out, hanging out late, staying up late, or socializing. Of course, I could have continued to do some of those things, but life had shifted and it was disconcerting.
6. She doesn’t get enough sleep
Prioritizing sleep is a must. If a mother and baby are sleep-deprived and overtired, moods become erratic. Emotions remain just under the surface. While the newborn period may be tough to survive, after that things should get easier. You can encourage your babies to sleep longer and you can even take power naps yourself. Even if you have to hire help or trade babysitting to take a long nap, it is worth it.
How a stay at home mom can maintain her identity
This isn’t hard or fast, but here are some general ways you can try to stay connected to who you are, not just your role.
- Find new ways to connect with friends | Instead of regular nights out or coffee dates, have playdates or monthly book clubs. Instead of restaurants and movies try the park or a local playground.
- Have a hobby | Here are 60+ hobbies good for the sahm lifestyle, but try to find a hobby you used to love and make time for it. Even if it’s something more active like hiking, try to fit it in even once a quarter. You may think it’s impossible, but if you work hard to make it happen, it will.
- Stop comparing | This is the “secret” to being content in each season. Even so, it’s hard not to look back and forward when times are tough. By focusing on the things that are fleeting now (chubby baby thighs) you’ll be less likely to be jealous of old times.
- Get help | Whether you need to hire someone, trade babysitting, beg family members, or just go to playgroups with helpers… do what you need to do. If you are a weary and overwhelmed mom, the effects will build up.
- Take care of yourself | Put the baby or toddler in the crib and take a shower. If you loved clothes, get dressed up. If you liked having nice hair, do your hair. Don’t neglect the things that used to bring you pride and pleasure, even if no one sees them but the baby, you’ll feel better.
Your identity isn’t lost, it’s just buried under diapers and onesies.
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