Help! I am a recent stay-at-home mom and don't know who I am anymore!
Submitted by: Jen
Answered by: Lisa
Help is on the way. You are experiencing a classic “Identity Crisis.” Oh yes, just like when you were a teen-ager. Do you remember? Or would you rather forget. Peers, parents, media - everyone expecting something different from you. Pressure to conform. Pressure not to conform. Which group should you belong to? What role is really you? “For heaven’s sake, how should I wear my hair?” Your sense of self felt more like a bowl of Jell-o than anything solid you could hang your hat on.
As we mature, significant events like having a child and becoming a stay-at-home mom or losing a parent can cause us to go through a crisis of identity yet again.
The great news, you get to redefine yourself. Oh yes. It’s like remodeling your home. You can decide right now to be whoever you want to be. Because most people want a little continuity of self, I always suggest you look within to find something solid and familiar to begin the remodeling with.
How about your core values? These are the principles that are most important to you and that really describe your most authentic self, the person you were before you stayed-at-home and the one you still are now.
Try this exercise:
- What is most important to you in you life right now? List the people, the things, the activities.
- What are the positive benefits you get from these things, people and activities? For example, if your child is most important, as it likely will be, why? Does your child give you a sense of purpose? What about a feeling of excitement? Then purpose and excitement are values.
- Uncover the benefits with lots of different and important things that are going on in your life right now. You will probably find that your list of values would have been pretty much the same before you stayed at home or had children. What will be different is usually their priority. When you finish this exercise, you will discover that you are the same person you were before this significant event.
- Now you need to plan some activities that honor your values. If excitement is a value, plan something exciting. If purpose is a value, what activities give you that sense of purpose? Do you need to start organizing a mother’s group who will work on giving back to the community?
As disorienting as it feels to jump into being a stay-at-home mother, you really have taken the core of who you are with you into this new role. Use your values to give you a stronger sense of self and by the way, that will totally turn you into a Mother on Fire. Welcome.