Motherhood can be isolating, lonely, and thankless. Beyond PPD and the constant anxiety, there are many incredibly challenging phases of motherhood. Many days, I’m merely surviving raising teens and not even close to thriving. My own mother had hobbies, activities, and friends. I threw myself into motherhood and completely lost my identity as a human being. Eleven years after I became a mom, my marriage crumbled under the weight of complex emotions, lies, and disconnection.

I gained the courage to date and it consumed every ounce of my emotional energy to sit across from a stranger in a restaurant. My date asked me what I enjoyed doing for fun. I honestly had no idea. I discussed activities I did with my three children, but couldn’t think of a single thing I enjoyed doing on my own. I thought back to my marriage before children and I remembered I played tennis, took pottery and painting classes, went to Zumba sessions, museums, educational lectures, and I wrote. I spent hours cooking new recipes, went out with my friends, and enjoyed being with my husband.

I had become a shell of a person: a woman whose sole enjoyment came from her children’s smiles. It was traumatizing to realize and felt impossible to remedy. I didn’t know where to begin. I felt trapped in a mommy matrix. I took baby steps to remember what I enjoyed and to discover new passions. I don’t know who decided that mothers should give up their identities and personalities. Rest assured, it’s wrong and crazy-making.

If you lost yourself, please know I’m on the journey too. We don’t need to surrender our sense of self to be a great parent. I regret relinquishing my identity in a futile attempt to be a perfect mother.  I was anxious, burned out, and sad. I’m slowly rediscovering myself and vow to never lose me again.

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