HOW TO SURVIVE A STAY AT HOME MOM IDENTITY CRISIS - REDISCOVERING YOURSELF AS A MOM
It's not uncommon to feel like you lost a part of yourself when you decide to stay at home to raise a family. Your single life is exponentially different from what your family life will demand. From your social circles to your relationships with friends and family there are many reasons you may be experiencing depression and anxiety along with this sense of being lost and having little fulfillment. It's not just you, its common and I'd wager - a very normal experience.
Feeling a loss of identity and lack of fulfillment to motherhood is commonly tied to needing an external source of validation, such as a job. Working women not only get validation from their jobs, but it typically comes with productive feedback, socialization, goals set by a superior and people you can collaborate with to get the job done - then baby comes and its just you, your lovely little one and a mountain of schedules and chores... with no external motivation to keep you going.
And for some of us, an identity crisis can stem from going against boundaries we were raised with or that are predominently within our social circles. When the people that have been in our corners our whole lives won't be supportive of a decision to stay home to nurture your children, or the decisions you make with your family, it can trigger even more self doubt and drain your confidence.
Catching your footing in motherhood, regardless of your pre-baby life can feel like your whole world has been turned upside down. Here are 4 ways you can rediscover and reclaim your new mom identity.
Accept the process
Getting to a place emotionally that you can acknowledge and accept that you're in a transitional space right now and that there has been a major shift in your life. You're not sure what's going to come out the end of this thing for now. You need some space to clear your head and make sense of it all. Don't be afraid to start setting new boundaries if you feel tension and conflict coming from friends and family. Pay attention to what your body and mind needs. Your new changes in behavior and attitude in finding the new you will start to attract new healthier relationships and habits. Understand that the old you is still there and that this may be the start of a longer journey to emotional health and wellbeing and finding out how this is all going to fit the puzzle -be patient with yourself.
Try getting to the root of the problem
The mind works in mysterious ways, identifying where these negative feelings are coming from can help you make a powerful transformation. Is there something you're trying to control? Is there someone that you feel you always need to please? Getting to the root of what is stressing you will help you move on from it by acknowledging the trigger and if needed will help form stronger boundaries. It may not be an easy process, but if this triggers deeper overwhelming emotional pain please reach out to a support group or therapist to get you through this difficult time.
Examine what still makes you happy
We are all totally different people before we settle down and have kids, enjoying our single lives and never giving the trials of motherhood a second thought. Oddly, for some of us, what made us happy then just isn't doing it anymore after baby comes. We can lose a lot drive and interest for the things we did that once boosted our self esteem and confidence. If this is how you are feeling right now then this is a time to start exploring what new things you enjoy doing even if it becomes more of trial and error for a while. Eventually you will hit your stride. When I was single I loved to go dancing and traveling, but, after having a baby going to a club just left me with separation anxiety and traveling felt like I needed a vacation from our vacation - its just not a vacation with 2 toddlers, its the same ol' mom routine with a different view (although I will still take it :) ) now, I look forward to a spa day alone and maybe some light yoga to get my body and mind feeling rejuvenated.
Make time for yourself
That spa day talk brings me to my next point... make time for yourself. There can be so much going on that you may end up in a routine of giving all of yourself to everyone else leaving your needs on the back burner. Moms work 24/7 so taking some time for yourself to re-group your emotions and relieve some anxiety and stress will help you overcome the bigger obstacles you're facing.
Feeling like you've lost you're identity in motherhood can be frustrating and overwhelming - but it's important to know you are not alone. Many women go through this transition in motherhood and I know from my own experience it can be hard to see the bigger picture when you're living in it daily, but this shall pass as your babies move into new phases of their lives. I also want to mention that its okay to change you'r mind, this is your life, and if the decisions you made yesterday don't serve you well today then its only your choice to make a new decision and start a new journey that supports your emotional wellbeing. The most important thing you can do for your children is to make sure you are happy and healthy.