So over the past year I’ve learned so much more than I could ever put into words. But one huge lesson in becoming a mother was in the vast change of my identity. No one could have prepared me for this, but I wouldn’t have been mad if I read about it on one of my “what to expect” apps or books… I would imagine it would be entitled “…a huge kick in your former identity’s face”. So this is my attempt to let other mommas know something I went through and if she’s feeling similarly, you’re not alone.
Motherhood is the most INCREDIBLE job I have ever had. I get to see my beautiful child (miracle, really, is what all children should be called) learn, laugh, everything! I also get to be the one he takes out his teething pain on! I chose to stay home with him, my husband and I decided it made more sense for us. You do whatever works. Had we had family nearby, I would have gone back to full time work most likely, but that’s neither here nor there.
Before I got pregnant, I was a manager, a trainer, an instructor, a wife, and a friend. That was me. My life. My identity I suppose. Husband, work, church, friends. Simple. When people said “so what do you do?”
I said “oh I’m a personal trainer”
It’s what I did- think about it- when someone asks what you do, it’s work that typically defines us, it’s where we spend most of our time. Or you’re a student. But no one really ever says “I am the one at home that cooks dinner” that’s not how you define yourself, right? No man who has a full time job says “I mow the lawn” when asked what he does.
But when someone stays home, for some reason, they often get the “just” put in front of it.
I was chatting with a working mom aquaintence and she told me where she works and I said “oh I stay home with this guy” she said “oh you’re just home with him?”
What an awful word. Yep. Just.
Just home with my child trying to educate, exercise, feed and stimulate him 24/7. Just.
I wonder how she’d feel if her boss lived with her all the time.
My baby boy, I love him, he is the most demanding boss I’ve ever had. I don’t mind it, I chose it, I teach here and there and my husband and I go out on dates when we can, but man, if your boss lived with you, would you tell people you JUST worked a 9-5? No.
So I felt down- that was kind of a put down to someone who’s personal identity had already been dramatically changed overnight to trainer, instructor, wife, friend, AND mom. AND mom guys. Not just mom. You don’t drop the rest of your life and become just mom. You’re all of it. Some days I feel bad that I’m home getting to play with my son all day. Making him giggle and say new words, but other days I would gladly grab a packed lunch and work on a job site with my husband.
But later .. After the just conversation, this sweet event gave me perspective… I was at breakfast in our hometown a while back and ran into a friend of my moms- she hadn’t seen me in a while and I introduced her to my pride and joy. She asked what I was doing and I said “I’m just mom right now”
And she turned to me, with a very serious look and said “you’re not JUST mom, you’re a mom, the most important job you can have.”
She shared with me an anecdote about her re-entering the work force after her babies had gotten older and she used her past job history as “mom” in her interview. She said that as far as she was concerned, when asked by her interviewer, mom was the most challenging job she’s ever had, and she felt she did a darn great job at it. Huh.
So all the moms, the new moms at home who are overwhelmed, the stay at home moms who have a new identity, the working moms who sleep less than everyone else in their workplace and STILL kick butt at what you do, remember you’re AND mom. You’re doing the job that many people can’t and you’re doing the best at it. Don’t ever let someone make you think being JUST MOM is a bad thing. These years will fly by, and when they’re older, you’ll never regret a second you spent being mom.
In the end, what I’m trying to say is: embrace your identity. Sometimes it’s hard to find it, but look to your faith, your family and what you’re devoted to. Rock it and do it well, and don’t let anyone make you think that what you do isn’t enough.