I think the twins were 3 months old when I started to ask the question, “Who am I again?”
I remember laying them down for a nap and then walking into the peaceful, dead-silent living room and realizing that I didn’t remember ME anymore. I hadn’t focused on what I liked. I hadn’t thought about my visions or goals in months. I had literally set myself aside to take on this new, humongous role called Mother. Then the tears began to flow and I cried my heart out for a few minutes because I couldn’t remember who I was before I saw the words “Pregnant” pop up on that stupid blue stick.
Who Am I Again? Finding Yourself After Becoming a Mom
As mothers, we are expected to drop everything once a baby comes around. We have to re-shift our goals and visions, put down our dreams, and be a mom. Then, once the kids are off to college, we can pick them all back up after 18 years and try to pursue them. But not too much, because you still have kids to watch out for even though they’re grown.
I know this to be true because my own mother screamed at me, “I’m tired of giving up my dreams for y’all!” when I was 19, as we argued in the car about her wanting to move to another state to pursue a different degree. She was 48 at the time. My mom was very supportive of all of my dreams and goals throughout elementary, middle, and high school. But in this moment of frustration, the true depth and root of the issue manifested; she felt as if her children were the cause of her forfeiting her dreams.
She had fallen into the trap of believing that having children = no more identity. We, as mothers, drop our identity at times when our children enter this world. From the moment we find out that we’re going to give birth to children, we get tunnel vision. We try to do all we can to prepare and sacrifice anything that may be harmful to the upbringing of a child. Sometimes, that can be the risks of pursuing a vision, like starting a business or traveling. We look at our passions and if they don’t align with society’s view on how to raise children, then we push them to the back of the closet and say, “See you in 18 years… maybe more.”
We, as women, have to realize that the old way of doing things is far gone. It isn’t healthy anymore. For us to forget who we are, forget our names, and change it to Mom is a disservice to ourselves, to the woman we were before we were pregnant. The challenge is realizing that the two can coexist, and in reality, the two are the same. There is no difference. It is simply another piece of who we are being revealed in us. Not replacing the totality of who we are.
We have to be careful that we don’t put all of our joy and happiness or achievement into our children, because if they fail at something or decide to give something up, we are angry with them and regret sets in. Living through your children isn’t always dressing them up to look like you or do the things you dreamed of doing. Sometimes living through your children is simply you living off of their joy and their accomplishments because you’ve given up on your own until they’ve left the nest.
So, my friend, it’s time to dream again. It’s time to pull those old passions out, dust them off, and make a plan. You don’t have to wait. It’s time to remember what you love to do again. It’s time for you to be YOU again. Your children won’t suffer for it. In fact, they will benefit from the true joy that exudes from your inner self because you are back to yourself again. They won’t feel the pressure to succeed because YOU need them to succeed. They will have their own successes, and you will now have your own.
Take some time today and answer these questions:
- Describe yourself in a positive way without using your titles, mom, wife, mother, sister, etc.
- If money were no object, what would you go out and do tomorrow?
- B.K. (Before Kids), what were your hobbies? What did you enjoy doing? Do you still do them? Why or why not?
- What are your passions?
Without judging yourself, write down 10 things you would like to achieve in life. I challenge you to pursue one of them this week.
We have to remember that before marriage and before children, there was a YOU. You had dreams. You had goals. You had passions. There is no crime in taking care of yourself and pursuing things that you love to do. If it’s something as simple as playing the guitar, pick it back up! If it’s as complex as creating a business for yourself doing what you love to do, then pull the business plan back out or create it from scratch. Your children will enjoy the ride! They will love being able to watch their mommy flourish, and even better than that, they will want to pursue the same levels of achievement.
You cannot forget about you, my friend. Your life, your love, your peace, your joy, and your sanity are depending on it.
Allyson Robinson had no idea she had twins in her genes until Kayla and Kamilah showed up and changed her life for the better. She and her husband, Quincy, are expat teachers in the UAE. She is the author of “Where Are My Panties? The Truth About the Morning After”, a book on sexual purity. You can follow her adventures on allysonarobinson.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.