“You have the power to change your beliefs about yourself, your identity is not set in stone. You have a choice in every moment. You can choose the identity you want to reinforce today with the habits you choose today.” – James Clear
As we grow up from babies to children to teens to adults, we pick up more and more things that make up our identity. Whether it be things we chose ourselves, things our parents chose for us, or simply the environment or circumstances we grew up in, our identities are constantly being molded throughout our transition to adulthood.
Once we hit adulthood, however, more often than not, we simply solidify the identity we’ve formed. We choose a career path that solidifies the work we want to do, we choose a partner that solidifies the relationship we want to have, and we choose hobbies that solidify the things we enjoy.
Happy days, right? Well, kind of. Happy days until something comes into your life that throws out everything you’ve ever known and makes you wonder what part of your identity still exists. And obviously when I say ‘something,’ I mean motherhood.
Motherhood hits you hard in so many ways, and in doing so, it just about smashes through everything you’ve ever known about yourself and your life thus far.
Personality traits, beliefs, likes and dislikes, abilities, things that motivate you, looks, your moral code, just about everything gets thrown out the window when you become a mother. This is a large part of the reason why in giving birth to another you can often feel like you’ve lost yourself. Then, when in the thick of this loss, it can feel like a new identity is thrust upon you.
An identity that has to love every second with your baby and enjoy every second of motherhood. An identity that wants to have more kids and that wants to stay home and look after the children. An identity that has to sacrifice everything for her kids, that puts her children above all else and that no longer wants things just for herself.
This can feel incredibly debilitating and disempowering, and the reality is, you do not need to accept this identity that society has decided to form for you. The truth is, when you’re ready to rebuild yourself, you can choose what building blocks make up your new identity.
You can once again discover the things that motivate you, your abilities, your likes and dislikes, your unique personality traits. You can once again solidify your moral code, your beliefs and also who you want to show up as in the world.
You’re given a choice, you can simply choose to accept the identity of a mother that society has built for you or you can choose to create what identity you want for yourself as a mother. With the latter, the beauty is that you can also choose what habits you want to keep from pre-motherhood, what habits you want to let go of and also what new habits you want to introduce.
Do you want to be a stay at home mum or a working mum? Or even a mum that runs her own business?
Do you want to be a mom that has hobbies or a mom that exercises? Or both?
Do you want to be a mom that spends all of her time with her family or a mom that has time to herself each week? Or even time to socialize with others?
What you do with your time, your energy, and your effort does not need to be chosen by society simply because you now have a child or children.
Take comfort in the fact that regardless of the fact that you now have another human to care for, this does not mean that you are not still in control of the path that your life is heading towards.
Breathe easy knowing that at any point, you are able to change habits, which can help you form your new identity as a mother and a path in which you’ve chosen.
And go forward with confidence knowing that there are a million ways to be a good mom and that there is not one identity that fits all.
You can be a mom and eat your cake too!