Who am I?
Wifey. Mama Bear. School Counselor. Three roles that shape my 30-year-old identity.
Do you ever stop to reflect on the differences between your new and old identity? Let us compare my new identity to my 20-year-old identity, shall we? At 20 something, I was a college student by day, waitress by evening, and rock star by night. Thinking of those wild and free college nights makes me envy my 20-year-old self. Life was a different kind of stressful then. I was invincible. I thought. I was the most stress I would ever be in life. I thought.
20 year-old self #freespirit #London
I was filled with anxiety, cramming BioPsychology concepts into my mind between waitressing shifts. When my short-term memory cramming skills landed me an A on the tests, I relieved the stress by partying like a rock star. Twenty-five cent drafts served at the local Town Tavern. You could find me there, hands in the air, belting “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey on the Karaoke machine.
Scratch the record.
The reality is the closest I get to rock star material these days is dancing with my broom as I sweep the kitchen floor and sing Dr. Jean learning songs with my toddlers. Don’t hate.
30 year-old self #mothergoose
The loss of your identity is to be expected when you stare into your baby’s big eyes and chubby-cheeked face. The love is transforming to those touched by it. A love that is not blind. A love that reaches out and embraces you. It is no wonder we become so engrossed in our children’s wants and needs that we ignore our own.
Well, that and the fact they are in our face ALL. THE. TIME. 8,000 days to be exact. What mother has time to understand herself when she’s busy cooking 24,000 meals for just one child? This does not take into account the conversations we have with our children during these 24,000 meals that leave us feeling uncertain and confused about life.
Multiply those 24,000 meals by three and add 64,216 conversations explaining to your 2 year-old things like “why she does not really have ants in her butt.” You know what you get? You get me losing the center of my core. I’m too tired to explore who I am. I am pulled in so many directions between Jeff, the kids, and work, I am too tired to care. I lose sight of myself.
There is nothing more depressing than not having a sense of self-definition.
There certainly are times I feel the need to prove that I still got it. Like the time my girlfriends and I went out for dinner and drinks in the college town of Penn State University. According to the hotel mirror, my girls and I still got it According to the runway streets of PSU, we don’t
Did you know the new thing is to wear really short shorts and crop tops with NO bra? Truth. I saw it with my own eyes. Correction. With my own eyes, I did NOT see… bras and full-length tops… I did not see them. I do admit I went bra-less about 80% of the time in the past 4 years, but I was nursing babies, not taking shots at The Saloon.
The next morning, I sipped hot coffee praying I hope I did not act like that in college. Oh wait. Ironically, my thoughts were interrupted by a Timehop notification on Facebook sharing my status from 6 years ago: “Unexpected girls night out ended in me army crawling up the steps to my apartment, crawling through the front door, and asking Jeff ‘why do you want to marry me when I act like this?’ All of which had to be explained to me because I surely do not remember.”
Apparently, I did act like that. Darn you TimeHop.
Not much has changed in the past 10 years actually. I still wake up with chips in my underwear. But now it is from my kids eating snacks in my bed. I guess some parts of our identities stay the same after all.
But do our identities really change or are they a combination of our past, present, and future selves? It seems as though these three ingredients interact on their own over time. Then, we take the lump of our selves and start molding them into a ball with our hands. The ball starts out sticky and messy but will solidify as we knead it together.
This is exactly what God did with me during my maternity leave with Fi. I was a young mom feeling like I couldn’t keep up with the all-together moms plastered on Facebook. I read a psychology article focused on how we establish a firm sense of what defines us. In the psychology world, we believe the questions are the answers. So, naturally, the psychologist asked a simple question, “What is important to me- what is it that feeds me? And why?”
And just like that, I knew my answer. Motherhood is what feeds me. And why? Motherhood has given me gifts laced with pride and imperfections. In that single moment I transformed from being a sticky and messy ball to being solidified.
I understood I was in the exact moment God prepared me for. He entrusted these little souls and challenges to me. He carefully crafted me into being a person my children can admire. I never really lost my identity since becoming a mom. Instead, I gained a sight so clear that I finally understand who I am.
I am loved.