You’ve just been introduced to someone. Once “What’s your name?” has been asked, the next, most commonly asked question is, “What do you do?”
A snap judgment is about to be made. After all, your occupation can say a lot about the kind of person you are. It gives clues as to your financial status, education level, as well as your interests and skills. The answer, “I’m a stay-at-home mom,” may say a lot about your values, but it does little to describe who you actually are.
And that’s okay! Many moms find that the rewards of staying at home outweigh the prestige of a high-powered career; but do you ever feel like your identity—the things that make you you—are slipping away as you constantly respond to the name “Mom”? Because your job goes on 24/7, how do you maintain your own unique identity? Here are a few ideas.
Find a creative outlet
What did you spend your time doing, before you became a mom? Were you an athlete, an artist, a dancer? Make time to pursue your passions. This could mean asking Dad, grandparents, or the 14-year-old next door to watch your kids for an hour, or two, now and then. Or it could mean waking early, for some “me-time.” It could even mean giving up other activities that aren’t as worthwhile (TV, surfing the web, etc.).
Not interested in pursuing old passions? Or, maybe you already are, but still don’t feel fulfilled. Learn something new! Check out your city’s website for recreational classes and activities. If your budget doesn’t allow for that, a quick Google search can provide free instructions on just about everything, from crocheting to yoga to ballroom dancing.
Share with your family
As you expand your horizons, share what you’re learning and doing with your family. Teach your children the skills you’re developing. Let them know what is important to you.
Share your history as well. If you have a scrapbook or family movie from “back in the day,” share it with your children. This gives them a sense of where you came from and also who you are, passing along a legacy.
Make time for a social life
A social life can take many different forms—and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Go on dates with your hubby or significant other. Try a weekly, or monthly, or even quarterly Ladies’ Night. It doesn’t need to include a lot of people and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time (an hour or two of conversation with another adult is sometimes all it takes to rejuvenate you).
Try not to feel guilty as you pursue interests other than your children. You’re a mother, and your children are your priority, but you’re still an individual. Getting in touch with that individual can actually make you a better parent. You’ll know who you are, and so will your kids. They’ll understand you better and emulate you. You can set an example and recharge your batteries at the same time!
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