I am the cliche – I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. That typical “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question we all heard countless times as kids, never spurred much of a “career” answer for me. My honest answer was “be married and be a mom.”
I now smile at the innocence and sincerity of that answer, and it also makes me happy because the priority of a family was placed on my heart from a young age. Now though of course, a few years into my own motherhood journey, I’ve gotten a good taste of just how simultaneously challenging and wonderful this role of ‘mama’ is.
My first year of motherhood was, overall for me, truly wonderful. I loved it, through and through (other than being severely sleep-deprived). But my sweet baby boy grew and grew and sometime between 12 and 18 months, he didn’t need me on such a survival level anymore. Something about this completely rocked my world, and his second year of life was, in many ways, a confusing, messy struggle of identity for me.
Out of that ‘funk,’ I can now graciously see what happened that caused so much difficultly for me during that time. I made motherhood my idol, and in it, I wrongly placed my identity.
I will be a mom for the rest of my life, and I do not take that for granted. It is a gift, an answer to countless prayers, and one of my highest callings in life. And that’s just it – those key words – one of my callings. It’s not the end-all, be-all. It’s not all that matters, it’s not even the most important thing that matters.
When I was placing my identity so purely in my role as a mother, I would frequently feel failure when my child didn’t do something “just right.” I took it personally when things felt out of my control, particularly challenging, or abnormal in any perceived way. I bore the weight on my shoulders, frequently wasted time over-thinking and second-guessing choices, and I let myself believe that my actions as a mother, and therefore my child’s reactions, defined my identity.
I don’t know how it clicked in my head, but the moment I realized I’d made motherhood into an idol, was the day everything shifted for me.
We, as women in this society, are faced with never-ending, conflicting information about who we are and what we’re “supposed to” be. And I think I can speak for us all when I say that the world tells us a whole lot of garbage (to put it gently) about who we are. Motherhood is important, but my title of mother is not the entirety of who I am.
So mama, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or disappointed in who you are, I want to encourage you to dig deeper. Those stressors that you’re feeling about things of this world? Let. them. go. Few things are as freeing as letting that control go and instantly realizing you never had control of it in the first place. Instead of finding ourselves in what matters a lot, let us find our identity in what matters most.
And it will be in that place – of knowing who we truly are – that we will find hope, confidence, and trust to move forward, knowing our foundation is built on solid ground.