What if everything that defined who you are suddenly changed? Today’s topic might strike a chord within you. We are diving into the Stay at Home Mom Identity Crisis.
I’d venture to guess it happens to most stay at home moms.
Most of us never talk about it because it seems ungrateful. As stay at home moms we GET to stay home with our kids. We are thankful, but that doesn’t mean we avoid the hardships of transitioning into a completely new role in life.
Why do Moms Lose their Identity?
Many times, when you become a mother, you have to give up things that made you feel like yourself.
If you are a stay at home mom, you likely gave up a huge part of your identity – your job. Most of us identify largely with what we do. It comes up naturally in conversation when we introduce ourselves to people. It’s hard to go from telling people your career to “I stay at home with the kids.”
There’s also the societal factor. Society looks down upon stay-at-home-moms. It can be really hard to feel disrespected by your decision to stay at home.
Many times we have to give up other things we identify with like extra curricular activities. Sometimes we have to sacrifice hobbies because we simply don’t have the time, the funds, or babysitter.
Losing these little pieces of your identity may not seem like a lot at first, but it starts to take a toll over time.
Personally, I never anticipated losing my identity in motherhood.
I wasn’t forced into the role. I had always wanted to be a stay at home mom.
When my first child was born, I found myself feeling lost. When people asked me what my job was I sheepishly answered “I’m a stay at home mom….but I used to be a teacher.”
I tried to hang onto my pre-motherhood identity as long as possible.
I spent my days taking care of my sweet baby girl and babysitting my niece. There were many blessings in that first year, but often I felt overwhelmed, disrespected for my choice to stay home, and socially awkward in my new role.
I would listen to others talking about work and I felt out of touch because I had nothing to contribute to the conversation.
Overcoming the Identity Crisis
Looking for a creative outlet and something to do besides mothering, I started looking for ways to make money from home.
When my daughter was one, I started a small business making baby gifts to sell at local craft shows. This small venture led to opening an Etsy shop and learning the ins and outs of selling online.
Many years later, I branched out into blogging and learning how to market content. Ever evolving, I recently learned to make and sell digital printables. I opened a second Etsy shop where I put these new skills to use to make a passive income.
It’s not been an easy journey and it’s been hard to adapt to the misconceptions and stereotypes of being a stay at home mom. However, I found that the key thriving in this new phase of life was to dive into reinventing myself.
Over time, it becomes easier to let go of who you were before kids and embrace who you are now. When you finally conquer the identity crisis, you can truly enjoy your journey as a stay at home mom.
How can I be a Mother and not Lose Myself?
If you find yourself facing an identity crisis, try to find something outside of “mothering” that fills your bucket and gives you a sense satisfaction.
Here’s a few ideas:
1) Community Service – Find a cause that you believe in and get involved. You might volunteer regularly at a soup kitchen or a pregnancy crisis center. Organizing events at your church, neighborhood or community might be a great fit for you.
2) Start a new Hobby – Just because you had to give up a hobby, doesn’t mean you can’t start a new one. If your old hobby was expensive or hard to accomplish with a child in tow, you might find something new to enjoy. Taking on a new hobby that is more easily accomplished during nap time may be a better fit than trying to keep an old hobby alive.
3) Learning a New Skill – Pouring yourself into learning is a great way to build a sense of accomplishment and gain a new identity in this journey through parenthood. You could learn to cook, or build upon your cooking skills. You might decide to learn to sew, paint, or try a new craft.
4) Start a Small Business – You might decide to start an Etsy shop or a blog. There’s a whole new world of information and skills to discover about running a successful business, blogging, and marketing.
5) Take on a Part-time Job – Many women decide to take on a part-time job. You might be able to pick up a shift at your old job. Babysitting, walking dogs, or cleaning houses might be the outlet you need. Or, you might rather take on a part time job for a few hours a week at your favorite store or find a side hustle where you can work from home.
The Key to Success
I think the most important part is finding something that is meaningful to you. Choose something that brings you happiness, or challenges you to learn something new, and allows you to use your talents and skills during this season of life.
Over time, these new endeavors will shape who you are and how you perceive yourself. They will challenge you and help you see yourself as not “just a stay at home mom” but help you confidently state, “I stay home with my kids and I also…..”