December 30, 2016

Who Am I? Finding Your Identity After Becoming A Mom

I remember being in high school and wondering, who am I? What do I stand for, what traits do I indulge, and of course, who do I want to be when I grow up?

For as much as we are born a certain way, and our personalities, talents and interests are shaped along the way, we decide the road we want to travel, the passions we want to pursue, how we want to grow.  I’m reading an interesting book that talks about how our brain is constantly evolving.  Each action and each decision we make strengthens the neural pathways in our brain, making it more likely that we will make the same decision again.

So if you respond to chaos in your home with yelling, you are more likely to do it again in the future.  But YOU can shape how you CHOOSE to act.  And each change slowly strengthens your brain to make that new, better decision in the future.

I know I got a bit sciency on you, but it’s for a purpose.  Basically I want you to know that you are always growing, changing and evolving.  At times it seems like we devote SO much time to our children, that we ourselves are neglected.  Life gets in the way, between grocery shopping, cleaning, family, friends, our jobs, husbands and kids.

But that doesn’t mean that once you become a mom, that alone is your identity.  You are so many other things, and I want you to find some time to take to devote to yourself.  To your interests, your passions, the things that feed your soul or nourish you.  This includes things you can do with your kids, say cooking, and on your own, say self-care like manicures, spa days, or nights out with girlfriends.

I remember when my son was a newborn, leaving the house without him and feeling kind of naked.  Part of my identity was missing.  How could someone not know I was a mom as I stood there in line at Starbucks, looking a little disheveled and not in perfect LA body shape?  My child had become part of my identity, and explained why I carried a giant bag that maybe wasn’t super fashion-forward, helped people understand why my roots were grown out, and how I had strayed so far from the person I was before kids.

When you are with your kids, everyone looks at them, oohing and aahing, and you kind of get a pass because people understand.  But who is this person, this woman, who lead such a full, interesting life before becoming a mom?  What do you stand for? What are your interests? Who do you want to be NOW?!

It can be so frustrating to come full circle and be questioning again, who am I, as you think you have this figured out.  But part of growing up, and really becoming an adult, means you don’t have easy answers.  Things are no longer black and white, there is a flow to life where things can pivot and evolve almost without you even noticing it, as you aren’t given the luxury of afternoons filled with pondering life’s great mysteries.  You are on auto-pilot and just going.

I want you to stop.

Stop what you are doing, set up your child with an activity or snack, and take some time to think about what YOU need as a person.  Who you want to be right now.  What you want to devote your time to, what matters to you most, and also, the things that you need to add back into your life that may be missing.

Perhaps it’s cooking large meals, taking baths, going for a manicure and pedicure.  Maybe it’s taking a cooking class or flower decor class, doing some solor crafts, something that really nourishes your soul.

Spending time on self-care isn’t selfish, rather you are nourishing yourself, just as you nourish your child (and husband / partner!).  You sign them up for ballet, but what about things you have always wanted to learn?

One of the things I love about my husband is that he always encourages me to go out with my friends, like my girl’s night with Abigail from The Chic Mamas at another friend Breegan’s restaurant Leona in Venice (if you are in LA, go eat there! It’s absolutely divine).  It was just 2.5 hours, but he watched the kids while I took a bath, put on makeup, got all dolled up, and ate, drank rose and laughed with a friend.

I came home with Pinkberry for the family, and a full heart.  Try it, it just might make you a better mom!

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