To the mom who feels she has lost her identity
I see you. Hiding behind your messy bangs. You are wearing that big comfy shirt and some leggings. No worries…you aren’t going anywhere today. You only had enough time this morning to brush your teeth, pull your hair up into a pony tail and throw your bedspread over the sheets on the bed.
Now that it’s “made,” you can dump washed laundry on it to fold after breakfast.
You wake up to calls of “Mommy!” You answer the phone as, “Yes, this is Mrs. (insert your last name).”
You are your husband’s wife. Your children’s mom. The lady with the kids that actually brings them to the grocery store with her.
There is no extra time in your day (or money) for getting a manicure. Forget the gym. Maybe you can do a few jumping jacks at naptime. Or maybe not. Sweeping floors counts as cardio, doesn’t it?
What happened? You remember five years ago (or a decade or two ago) that you answered to your first name. You had shaved legs, a nice haircut with maybe some highlights, a workout regimen that may have included biking or swimming or tennis.
Now look at you. Who are you? No one calls you by your first name anymore. Do you feel lost?
I know. I’ve been there.
I went from working at an awesome job to being the mother of four children in just six short years. The transformation was not gradual, but it kind of hit me in the face. And I thought I would never see that pre-child woman again.
Are you with me?
Well, several years ago, I was sitting in this sort of fog, looking around at my situation and feeling a bit, well, less-than-enthused. It was a morning that I remember vividly because for some strange reason, all my children slept in (and by slept in, I mean sleeping past 6:30AM). I was spending some time reading my Bible and just calling out to the Lord, asking him, “Who am I?” “Is this what I am going to be/do for the rest of eternity?”
Don’t get me wrong. I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, I loved my husband; I loved my children. I just lost sight of the “me” part. It seemed that I was always doing things for everyone else.
As I was praying, I began to realize something. I was praying to a God who SOUGHT ME OUT. He loved me more than I could even comprehend. I was his! And He went on to bless me with so many amazing things: my marriage, my children, my life.
He called me by my name.
He called me….by….my….name.
So why was I feeling lost? Why did I feel like I had no identity?
It was my perspective. So many of my days had been filled with the immediate needs of our household. I had to put some of the previous activities of my life to the side, but I did that for a better occupation!
I realized that the “loss” of those activities I had before marriage and children were not losses at all. They were things I did to fill my days because I had extra time to serve myself. I now had a higher calling. I was privileged to serve my husband and my children.
Now, don't get me wrong (again!). I am not glorifying putting ourselves down and not caring for ourselves. I feel that taking care of ourselves is an important responsibility we have to ourselves and our family. We are charged to maintain good health. So it is important to take time for rest, for exercise, and for that occasional mani/pedi if the opportunity presents itself.
But our FOCUS cannot be on those things. I don’t want my kids to grow up and remember me by saying, “Wow. Mom always had perfect nails, played a mean game of squash, and could carry on a hyper-intelligent conversation.”
I want them to remember me as someone who showed God’s love to them. Who modeled selflessness while realizing her special place as daughter-of-the-King. Who was beautiful inside and out. It is a maturation as we walk through these responsibilities in life. Like the development of a beautiful flower. Small, insignificant, unnoticed at first. Then slowly those brightly colored petals begin to emerge and then fully open to display breath-taking beauty.
Yes, that is who I am.
That is who YOU are.
You have not lost your identity. You may have just misplaced it a bit. If you have given your life to Christ, you know you have the significance of a daughter of the Creator of the Universe and everything else in existence. And you have work to do. Glorious work.
Work that involves growing in wisdom. Work that involves training your children in the Lord’s ways. Work that involves building up your spouse as the two of you walk as one.
It isn’t easy. And some days it is DEFINITELY not glamorous! But it is worthy. YOU are worthy.
The God of all Creation sent His son to die and conquer death for you! That is your amazing identity!
And sometimes that identity comes with a few highlights in your hair and a soak in the tub, and sometimes it doesn’t. Understanding that truth is how we can change our perspective from the day-to-day and move it to the eternal!
Have an extraordinary day!