Defining Myself Beyond Being a Mom

Who are you? The question seems so simple, yet I have found it difficult to answer at times. Who am I? Of course, in defining myself, the common answers come to mind. I am a mother, a spouse, a teacher, a daughter, etc. Many of us have seen shirts worn by people claiming to be the world’s best hockey parent or insert any other sport or activity there. But who are we beyond this? How are we defining ourselves?

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In the past, I frequently referred to myself as kicking into “robot mode.” I went to work, came home to quickly whip something up for supper and shovel it in, rush kids off to music lessons and/ or a sporting event, make lunches for the next day, and so on. The next day played out as if I simply hit a “Rinse and Repeat” button on my life.

woman struggling to define herself

When I did this, I have to admit that I became miserable inside. I just did things because they had to get done, never stopping to acknowledge the importance of defining myself beyond the role I was fulfilling at any given moment. I also never stopped for self-care. In fact, when asked what the latest thing I did for myself was, I struggled to answer.

I know I’m not the only one…

I think a lot of moms lose their definition of self along the way. Recently, I asked a fellow mom what she has done to take care of HERSELF recently. She laughed and responded with, “I just go to work, go home, then drive my kids to their activities.”

Over the past 18 months, I have been working to change my pace even though I still lead a busy life. The harsh reality of my oldest graduating and experiencing how quickly all of this comes to pass is one reason. Another is reflecting upon how my own mother lived as well as on the poor state of health she is in now. She was always so busy taking care of everyone else but neglected to care for herself. Taking care of ourselves was not modeled. Lastly, approaching life in a robotic manner really took a toll on my health. - Best Things to Do Around the World

Why I had to make changes

I was living without meaning. I was defining myself as no more than how I was fulfilling whatever role I was in at the time and how I was of service to those around me. 

The problem with this is I neglected to serve MYSELF. I wasn’t filling my own bucket at all! That, and the fact that I was incredibly short-fused and grouchy! When I only focus on my role as a mom or whatever other roles I am in and not on who I am as a whole, I can easily still become like this.

I recently read a quote by James de la Vega that resonated with me:

Be mindful even if your mind is full. 

I feel happier and like I’m living with purpose when I am mindful and not just fulfilling a role, such as the mom role. Don’t get me wrong… I definitely value this role! I just also need something for ME!

Having fun with my daughter

Parenting at its finest: This is me photobombing one of my daughters.

So who am I today?

Of course, I am still all of those things listed in the first paragraph. However, I feel I am also much more than that. I am creative, unique, grateful, intelligent, helpful, inspiring, enough, and a friend. I am a creator, a teacher, a blogger, and an author. I AM the one and only ME!

Yes, I am extremely grateful for my role of being a mother and spouse. However, I am more than a mom and a wife! I am much happier knowing that these aren’t the only way I am defining myself today. 

Defining Myself Beyond Being a Mom pin

In need of resources?

If you are looking for resources to help you or your children with self-definition and/or positive messages, you may wish to check out any of the resources listed below:

Becoming by Michelle Obama – Imagine if she only defined herself by her roles as mom and wife! 

I Am Affirmations by Arthur Falcone

I Think, I Am: Teaching Kids the Power of Affirmations by Louise Hay

Daily Positive Affirmations for Kids

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You may benefit from a Mom Agenda

What are your definitions of you?

How do you define yourself? Do you feel the need for a definition beyond “mom,” “parent” or other? How do you ensure you take care of yourself while fulfilling multiple roles? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. I love that quote and your second list of who you are. I am not a mom, so sometimes I define myself that way, which is a terrible way to define myself. I am a stepmother and diminish that role, so in a way I can’t win. :-p So here’s a better list: I’m funny, a quick-thinker, a dog lover but not a real animal lover, creative, and independent. At least today.

    1. Thank you for your input, Catherine! Haha, I love when you added “At least today” at the end. I appreciate that our definitions of who we are change over time. 🙂

  2. I once read that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and I find that to be true. It took me a long time to stop feeling guilty about needing me time. I love the books you shared on affirmations, Louise Hay has always been the go to person for me, particularly when I have an illness.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. I can certainly empathize with the time it too often takes to stop feeling guilty about needing me time. I’m glad you are acknowledging its importance in your life today. 🙂

  3. I am with you!! I had an animist experience and literally wrote a book about it. This is such a tangled subject of emotions but doing the work is worth it!! We are meant to love in joy! Fitting into roles and letting them define us can put a wedge between us and joy.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Catia! Doing the work is ongoing and definitely worth it. Congratulations on writing your book! That is a great achievement! 🙂

  4. It’s a wonderful post! And honestly I was just asking myself that a few weeks ago, life is like on a repeat cycle robot mode! I started changing, started writing doing something spontaneous! And I love it! I have been a happier mum and a happier wife! Xx

    1. Yes, it is amazing how doing something for ourselves has the effect of helping us be better in our other roles. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! 🙂

  5. I am a huge fan of the book Only Love Today because it focuses on the tiny moments of our day, and how we view ourselves as mothers. When I switched from being an elementary teacher to my new SAHM role, it was tough because I defined myself as a teacher. After several years, I have come to understand that my feeling of being comes when I am intentional about my relationships with others- my children, husband, friends, and family. I can be a support, and in turn, I have great value in my current role.

    1. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this. I will definitely need to check out Only Love Today as well. It sounds like a book I will benefit from reading! 🙂

  6. I need some work in this department, it seems like this is my only definition as of late. It is so important to not lose sight of yourself because it will only make me a better mom.

    1. Definitely! It is so easy to become consumed by our mom role and lose ourselves in the process. It is an area that us moms really need to support each other in.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. I think a lot of mums go through this, losing their feeling of self. You definitely have to take the time to fill your own cup too. Once I started making the time for my own projects in my day full of mum duties, I realised that I enjoyed my family much more!

    1. Yes, I completely relate to what you are saying. Filling our own cup does allow us to enjoy our family much more! 🙂

  8. Oh this article truly speaks to me! This is so true! You are speaking my mind. It is so easy to forget who we are as people and just do the day to day tasks over and over. Now that I have found a way to get my creative side out I have felt much more fulfilled.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Lauren! I agree that it is so easy to forget who we are as people and become consumed by the daily tasks. I’m glad you have found a way to get your creative side out! 🙂

  9. This is such a great read!! While momming can be so gratifying, it’s easy to lose our true selves. And I love that quote, “be mindful even if your mind is full.” So, so true. Thank you for this!

  10. Love this! So often I am the supply cup filler, diaper changer, and lost shoe finder! Sometimes I can only find me if I wake up at 4 am before the kids but I am much happier if I do!

    1. I can relate! I don’t often wake up before my kids, but find it helps me to stay up for a bit in the evenings after they go to sleep. Thank you for sharing your experience, Stacy!

  11. I can relate to this so much. I’m not a Mom but I’ve worn different hats in the corporate world, so many that I lost sight of myself. I’m getting back or rather I’m deciding who I truly want to be now.

    1. It is of tremendous importance to take a step back and decide who we truly are. Thank you for sharing your experience! 🙂

  12. This is such an important topic. I fell into this trap for the first 10 years of motherhood and had to claw my way out of it and re-learn who I really am. I absolutely love Becoming by Michelle Obama too – one of my favorite books I read last year.

    1. It’s such an easy trap to fall into! I’m glad you have clawed your way out of it. Re-learning who we are is vital! 😀

  13. Wow this is so wonderfully written. We often forget to take care of ourselves and only fulfill our mom role but it is important like you said to acknowledge ourselves more than just a mom.

    1. We all do at times, Danielle. Not to mention the ‘mom guilt’ that we too often feel as it gets placed upon us. Hang in there! We are all doing our best. 🙂

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