depression

If Becoming a Mom Means Losing My Old Identity, I’m OK With That

I am Iliana’s mom. That is my identity, according to all of her friends.

Am I OK with that? Hell, yeah!

I have heard many times that you lose your identity after having a child, as no one calls you by your given name. You are just “someone’s mom.” But I don’t understand the issue with that. I know who I am and I am not worried that I will lose that knowledge just because a bunch of 4-year-olds call me something else. If anything, it makes me blush.

I am a wife and mother. Being a working mom, I am “Iliana’s mom” at drop-off, but within a few minutes, I am “Risa” at work. This shifts again at the end of the day when I pick up my daughter. In the evenings, I am Iliana’s mommy and Ken’s wife. But the truth is, I am all of these things, all day, every day. I don’t stop being a mother or a wife. I wear many hats but they all sit on the same head. Is there anything negative about that? I don’t think so. Why is it then that so many women have trouble with this label?

I think we are at a time when everything is too fast…technology, schedules, life. We over-schedule ourselves and our kids: karate on Mondays, swimming on Tuesdays, dancing on Wednesdays, etc. It’s out of control. Not only will a mom’s sense of self become disrupted but the child’s identity will, too. And we all know that if mommy is not feeling it on a given day, then her child will pick up on that. If mom is feeling lost and pondering her identity, her child will know that something is wrong, which only creates a bigger burden on the child.

I do see it as a problem when a mom tells me she is “just the chauffeur.” Well, we all are at different times, but what else are you? You do more than just drive your kids around. You are more than just their driver.

As a woman who is a mom and wife and employee, I pride myself on owning all of these identities. I fought for each one: I went on too many first dates to count and was not in the greatest of relationships before I met my husband. Then we had to deal with fertility treatments and most recently I have been struggling with depression, yet another fight for my identity. I fight and feel I am winning these battles. Therefore I am proud of my identity. It is made up of many different parts, but they all complete me as a person.

So, what is your identity?


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Risa Sugarman

Risa is mommy to a fabulous 5-year-old girl and wife to an amazing husband. She has lived in Boston, New York City, and now lives in Central CT. She has an MSW from Fordham University and a BA from Columbia University. She has written for Huffington Post, Psych Central, Keshet and Stigma Fighters and on her own blog, sillyillymama.blogspot.com

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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