So often we hear of mothers losing their self-identity in motherhood. Just the other day I was watching a TikTok during which the mother expressed how she had no clue what she liked to do anymore. I personally have been a stay-at-home mom for almost six years. And like this mother on TikTok, and many others, I have lost quite a bit of myself over the past years. So what can you do to start finding yourself again? Let’s talk about it.
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Step 1: Recognizing the Need to Find Your Self-Identity in Motherhood
The first step to rediscovering your self-identity in motherhood is recognizing that you’ve lost it. Some moms get so caught up in day-to-day life that they don’t even realize that it’s missing. For me, it wasn’t until the past year or so that I started getting that weird feeling. The weird feeling that I’m talking about is the one where you feel like something’s missing, but you have no clue what it is. And then one day out of nowhere you’re like “Oh, I don’t know who I am anymore.”
As disheartening as this moment may be, it is also a great moment. You can’t begin to find yourself without realizing that you’re missing in the first place. After eight years as a mother and almost six years of being at home, I found myself asking “Who on Earth is Meg? What does she want from life? I know she wants more than this.”
Step 2: Coping with the Emotions of Your Realization
It can be a scary and eye-opening moment when you realize that you have in fact lost your self-identity in motherhood. Feelings of all kinds, including depression, guilt, resentment and sadness can occur all at once. You may feel depressed and sad because you are mourning the self that you used to be. You may feel guilt for wanting more than just “motherhood” out of life. It’s also possible that you’ll resent your partner for not recognizing that you have become a totally different person. And while it sucks to feel all of things, it’s totally okay, too.
When I started to realize that I felt lost, I also started to feel depressed and frustrated. I already fight depression and anxiety everyday, but this self-realization made things a bit worse. My motivation to do housewife duties diminished significantly. I was more focused on getting rest, or getting out of the house to do things that made me feel more “validated.” Those things included picking up deliveries for Instacart, and searching for jobs out of the home. Looking back now, I realize that it was more than just me wanting to find a job. It was me trying to find a way to define “Meg” outside of the home.
Step 3: Start Finding that Self-Identity in Motherhood
The biggest and most exciting step in this journey has been this step. It is so important to make time to find yourself again. You will never find that part of self-identity that you lost in motherhood without looking for it. For some women that means getting into therapy. For others it means joining mom groups to find friends. Other moms might start picking up new hobbies, or revisiting the hobbies that they once loved before having kids. As exciting as this step is, it’s also very hard. And so it is important to have a support system in place. You’ll need people cheering you on each step of the way.
Fortunately for myself, I’ve had great people in my corner cheering me on. Both my husband and my kids have been super supportive in my latest adventures. I started first by recognizing my need for a little bit of help. I talked to my doctor, got my meds upped in dosage and jumped head first back into therapy. I’ve also been taking my writing a lot more seriously. Writing was one of those things that I used to love, and then stopped doing when life got crazy. Next on my list? Making a few mom friends here in North Carolina. We’ve only been here since September, and while I’ve met a few amazing ladies, I’ve not really made the effort to really get out there. My list isn’t done being made, but for now this is where I stand.
You Will Find Yourself Again
Yes, you read that right. You will find yourself again. It doesn’t matter if you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working mother. We all lose our self-identity in motherhood at some point. It may take longer for some mothers find themselves again compared to others, but don’t give up. You will be a better mother, partner and person for it. Once you really start to invest and believe in yourself again, you will realize how much you missed that feeling.
Have you had this feeling? What did you do to find yourself again in motherhood? Let me know in the comments below.