Feeling like you’re losing your identity in motherhood? Get tips and inspiration on rediscovering yourself after motherhood and feel fulfilled again.
Before becoming a mom, I could wake up at 8am every morning… and that was early. I could then make a cup of tea without feeling rushed to drink it, and even flat-iron my hair every morning.
My husband and I also went out more, from movies to museums, and to long drives and day trips. I saw my friends more often, and those I couldn’t, still spoke to them on the phone for hours. Sleeping at midnight was my norm, and coming home from work meant the freedom to do anything I wanted.
Since becoming a mom, things are a bit different.
These days, I wake up as early as 5am, pack school lunches, listen to Disney music, and regularly borrow and read children’s books. I blow bubbles, squish play dough, and color with crayons. And I cram in all my errands and chores when the kids are at school or in bed.
For many of us, rediscovering yourself after motherhood takes a backseat after all the responsibilities (not to mention the desire to sleep!).
Perhaps you wonder how to find your identity again when you’ve lost it to changing diapers, preparing meals, or dealing with tantrums. You’re tired all the time, ready to crash just minutes after the kids are asleep.
Your needs, desires, hopes, and dreams seem to have faded away… and the days run on autopilot, where you find yourself simply reacting to things as they come.
For some, you even feel bad that being a mom alone doesn’t fulfill you in ways you assumed motherhood would. You miss not being responsible for anyone else, and sometimes even feel jealous of friends who get to do whatever they want.
You even wonder whether you’re cut out to be a mother at all.
Rediscovering yourself after motherhood
Some might brush this need for an identity beyond motherhood aside. After all, this is an important role to fill, not to mention a fleeting stage that in time will be over.
But I disagree.
As fulfilling as being a mom can be, motherhood shouldn’t be our only identity. Because at some point before motherhood, you had hobbies and aspirations that got buried beneath your responsibilities. Your Facebook news feed used to feature other things besides photos of your kids.
And because one day, your kids will leave… and what would your identity be then once you’ve done your job and are no longer needed?
Still, despite these important reasons, finding that balance can be difficult. Take a look at these tips on rediscovering your identity after motherhood:
1. Encourage independence in your kids
As much as we wish our kids don’t need us as much as they do, we still do plenty to keep them attached, don’t you think?
Because for however much I complain about folding their laundry, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago when I finally taught them how to do it.
You see, one of the biggest reasons veteran moms say “it gets better” is because kids gradually become more independent. After all, that’s the point of parenthood: to raise self-sufficient, future adults. And the less they need us to do things for them, the more time we have for ourselves.
But the only way to truly find this time for ourselves is to be intentional with encouraging independence. In other words, let go of the need to be needed.
That means giving your kids more responsibilities, equipping them with tools to manage big emotions, or even helping them sleep through the night. The more independent your kids are for their age, the more time you have for yourself.
2. Find creative ways to be away from your kids
One of the reasons motherhood is hard is because we don’t get a lot of uninterrupted time alone. It’s pretty hard to start something, only to be interrupted multiple times. And we’ve also lost the choice to do whatever we want when we’re on someone else’s schedule.
The solution? Find ways to be without your kids—from mere minutes to a full weekend away. A few ideas include:
- Waking up earlier than the kids to get everything ready or do something you want without anyone needing something from you
- Rekindling an old hobby you can do regularly
- Taking a day off from work without taking the kids out of daycare or school
- Scheduling date night with your partner or brunch with a friend
- Going on a girls (or even solo) weekend away
3. Include the kids in your hobbies
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Just because you’re a mom, doesn’t mean your hobbies—even the ones you think are impossible for kids—are lost. You simply need to find creative ways to include the kids and modify the hobby as needed.
For instance, you may not be able to go on lengthy hikes the way you used to, but you could bring your toddler on a simpler hike, or strap the baby in a carrier. Attending daily yoga classes may not be realistic for your schedule, but you can join an online yoga program and do the lessons with your kids at home.
And sometimes you need to work your way up gradually. Traveling the world like you used to might start with taking a quick day trip as a family.
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4. Learn about parenting
Motherhood, as I’m sure you know, isn’t just changing diapers and going on play dates. And one of the best ways to fight the loss of identity in motherhood is to dive all the way in.
In other words, rather than seeing motherhood as something you need a break from, what if you treated it as a mission, a job, a purpose?
Learn all you can about child development and how to better manage your kids’ changing stages. Discover the importance of play, and how you can nurture that in your home. Geek out over making baby food and finding new food to introduce to the baby.
If parenting is the hardest job in the world, then let’s not run away from that challenge, and instead find ways to constantly improve.
I’ll be honest: I actually look forward to Mondays, and have ever since I became a mom. Mondays give me time for myself, whether when I was working in an office, and even now when the kids are in school and I’m working at home.
Because no matter how much you love your kids and miss them when you’re apart, it’s all too easy to lose your identity after becoming a mom. Thankfully, you don’t have to remain lost, even with all the responsibilities weighing you down.
Start by nurturing age-appropriate independence in your kids so that you’re not doing unnecessary tasks they can do for themselves. Then, find creative ways to be away from your kids, from waking up early in the mornings to scheduling a weekend away with friends.
Or do the opposite and include your kids in your hobbies, modifying your outings and activities if needed. And finally, go all in with parenting and learn all you can about this role you’ll have for the next several years.
I truly believe that being a mom isn’t, and shouldn’t, be the only identity we have. We can absolutely rediscover our identities after motherhood—even if sleeping in past 5am in the mornings is a thing of the past.
Get more tips:
- 7 Reasons You’re Not Enjoying Motherhood
- How to Stop Feeling Stressed and Start Enjoying Motherhood
- 6 Reasons Motherhood Is Hard
- Time Management for Moms: Tips You Can Actually Apply
- Life with a Newborn: Expectation vs Reality
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