One of my favorite things in the world is going to my hair stylist. She’s young and hip and always makes me look fab. I love getting away from it all so I can sit and talk and be pampered without interruption. I’ve been going to the same stylist for more than three years now and we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well.
Recently she met someone special and it’s getting pretty serious. The topics of marriage and children have come up and I’m excited for her. The last time I saw her, though, she expressed some fears about having kids. “I don’t want to lose my identity,” she told me. I don’t blame her. Truth be told, when I first became a mom I kind of lost my identity and it took me a while to figure out how to find myself again.
I don’t know if it’s modern motherhood, or if this is the way it’s always been, but it seems like moms have this tendency to forget who they are and how to take care of themselves. We stop doing our hair. We live in yoga pants. We’re constantly late and live in a perpetual state of forgetfulness. Why does this happen? I get that there’s a learning curve when we first become mothers. After all, someone puts a tiny needy baby in our arms and we have to go home and figure it all out. No instruction manual! We put the baby’s needs before our own, because that’s what good moms do. But I think we need to remember that we also have identities outside of motherhood, and we need to foster the passions and interests we had before we became mommies.
I love writing and reading. For a while I put these things on the back burner. I didn’t know how to balance motherhood and my interests, so I stopped writing and reading. I was okay for a while, but soon I began to feel antsy. I had all this pent up creative and mental energy. It began to wear on me. When I finally allowed myself the space to take up my interests again, it was life-giving for me. It helped me slowly put my identity back together again and made me a more holistic person.
I told my hair stylist that she didn’t have to fear losing her identity if she chose to become a mother. She may have to make some adjustments to her life, after all she would be adding a whole ‘nother person to her family, but she could still be who she is. She could still love music and go to concerts. She could still be punctual and a responsible business owner. She could still watch documentaries and challenge her intelligence. She could still be all the things she is now, except she would be adding on the identity of “mom.” She wouldn’t be just a mom, because no mom is just a mom. Moms are resilient, strong, interesting women. Even if we don’t have jobs outside of motherhood, we still do so much and develop many skills.
Moms, don’t forget that you are a person. A person with talents and hobbies and interests. A person who lived a whole life before becoming a mom. Being a mom may be your favorite role yet (honestly, it’s my personal favorite!), but it doesn’t have to be all that you are. Don’t forget to take care of you and to always nurture every part of your personality. Don’t lose yourself because chances are, you’re a pretty great person.