Finding Yourself in Parenthood by CTWorkingMoms.com
Led in a discussion by its founder Michelle Noehren, the contributors of CTWorkingMoms.com, an award-winning online community for women balancing work and family life in Connecticut, comment on how they have come to define themselves within parenthood and beyond.
Becoming a parent is such a wonderful (and challenging) experience. In those early days it’s hard to think about anything other than parenting because becoming a mom or dad can be very intense. It is so easy to lose ourselves in our roles as parents and many of us find ourselves struggling to maintain a separate identity.
In my life, I have always looked up to my sister-in-law Angela. Way before I had kids I always thought it was unique and wonderful that whenever we talked by phone she never really brought up her kids unless I asked about them. I don’t mean to imply that we should stop talking about our kids but it struck me how this one small thing changed how I thought about motherhood. She showed me that just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you can’t still be an individual apart from your kids. I’ve taken that lesson to heart now that I’m a mom to the most adorable and loving 2-year-old you’ll ever meet.
I think, in a way, it’s easier to keep your identity separate from your kids when you work outside of the home, as I do. You have your work, a separate space and people you interact with about non-parenting related things all the time. Moms who stay-at-home likely find it more challenging to create a sense of balance where their needs and their child’s needs are both met. Personally I think the key is having outside interests and activities that remind you of the person you were pre-baby and keeps things interesting.
- “I have been lucky to have experienced mothers around me that I respect who have all stated the same warning – ‘Do not forget to take care of yourself and do not forget yourself either!’” – Katie Schunk, mom of one
- “My parenting motto is to lead by example. If I expect my daughters to be well adjusted and balanced individuals, it is my responsibility to show them how to do it. I maintain my sense of self by doing several things including finding time for myself and enjoying the things that I did before becoming a parent. I go out with my girlfriends and find time to fit running into my schedule.” – Sarah Bourne, mom of three
- “The day will come when my children will fly the nest (go off to college, begin a career, get married) and I do not want to find myself thinking, ‘What am I supposed to do now?’ I truly feel that it is important to remember that although being a mom is a very important job, it is certainly not all that defines you.” – Carly Corrigan, mom of two
- “I’m more the mom I want to be to my girls when I’ve gotten a bit of time to remember who I am as a person. I’m a better wife, friend and sister. And perhaps most importantly, I like me more.” – Stephanie Wright, mom of two
Being a parent is so special and the love we have for our children can’t adequately be described in words. But it’s important that we remember ourselves too and make an extra effort to participate in activities that remind us of who we are. When we have a more solid sense of self we feel happier and more confident and in the end, that leads to even better parenting. – Michelle Noehren, founder of CTWorkingMoms.com
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