30 December 2012

identity crisis

So we are nearing a new year, and the time when Theo turns two (sorry what?) and I've been thinking. I've been thinking about the last two years since Theo has been here, the future and what it holds for me and us, and thinking about some resolutions. 

But firstly I wanted to talk about me. About motherhood and all that comes with it. As many of you know the decision to become parents wasn't a planned one for us, and we had a short space of time to get our heads around the fact that in a few short months our lives would change forever. I knew life would be different, everyone tells you so. You won't get a full nights sleep EVER again, you won't go out, you won't have any spare time blah blah, and I sort of anticipated that. The books you read when you are pregnant tell you what to expect from pregnancy and the first few months and how to 'deal' with a new born. They tell you the physical changes and few obvious hints that things may be a little tougher, and that your relationship with your partner may change, but what they never tell you is that your relationship with yourself will change too, and that you will question who you are on a daily basis.

I never even thought that having a baby would lead to losing your identity. It may not happen to everyone, some people are probably a little bit better retaining some of their former selves post baby. But not me. It all happened too quickly, the change from being a student in my early twenties to being a mother less than a year later. Not that I regret the decision we made, because I don't, obviously. But I just wish I knew, but then again perhaps its a journey you have to go through? For the first 6 months it's not really apparent as you are so absorbed in caring and nurturing this little being and that's all you have space for. But then they get older and more independent, and you have a little more time to think and ponder on what your life used to be like and how the hell you ended up here. I just find myself questioning what I used to be like, what I used to talk about and what I used to be interested in. When I see old friends I get glimmers of what it used to be, but it still doesn't feel 100% natural, like somethings shifted and changed. Which of course it has, my whole life has changed and even though changes seem to happen to everyone else around me, perhaps they are more subtle, or perhaps I just don't have the time to notice them as much, selfishly. But that's the point, you become so absorbed in this little world that you created and nothing for a while seems to be able to penetrate it. And it's only now, that the haze begins to clear a little that you realise that other peoples lives are still going on, it's just that you are not as sure where you fit into them anymore. 

I find that I can't open up as much as I used to, and it takes a while (and quite a few drinks) for me to be able to relax and feel like I don't have to assume the role of 'mother' to feel normal. Maybe I should just drink all the time? Good idea? No! But really I do need to find some other outlet and someway of being able to feel comfortable out of my safety zone of being a mum. But the safety zone of motherhood isn't always much fun, I have definitely taken it upon myself to be the serious, cautious parent where Rob gets to be the fun one. I hate that this has happened, I can feel myself doing it, getting uptight and saying "oh be careful, don't do that..." rather than just relaxing and joining in myself. I know I used to be fun, and silly and dare I say it even funny in social situations, but now? It takes a few drinks....So why do I find it hard to be fun and relaxed as a mum too? I don't want to just end up a grumpy and bitter hag, so I'd better start thinking about how to change it sharpish! 

So the solution? Who knows? But I do know that I need to start thinking a little bit more about ME. Now that Theo is (nearly) two, and I've stayed at home with him without distraction for the first two years of his life, I feel like I can finally start branching out and doing things for me. I've been thinking about next year and the need to really start building a pushing my tipi business, and also hopefully something new and exciting starting, just for me. Hopefully if I can have a little time to myself to be in a new environment, meeting new people and being able to present myself just as me, things will fall into place a little better. I can start remembering what I used to be interested in and inspired by, how I used to be with friends and hopefully I can relax and become a little bit more like the mother I want to be...and that is with lots of sillyness! 

So my new year resolutions:

relax, be brave, be silly, be open and have fun. 

and yours?

8 comments :

  1. Well I fear i can't post my draft blog post about this now because I write EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS! Well not quite as Amelie is only 8 months and I am older than you (sob) but other than that... identical. Which makes me think there must be so many other mothers out there feeling the same way. Every day I read about a mama feeling lost or unsure or low and I wonder how this has all happened, how did it get to the stage that blogs are really our only support network. In the case of identity and motherhood I really really think if our bloody society valued what we stay at home (and working) mothers did we wouldn't have such crises often. I mean you don't get teachers and lawyers having identity struggles in the same way as mothers. And that's partly because that kind of work is valued whereas despite being in the 21st century, mothers are still kind of viewed as being at the bottom of the pile.

    Sorry, rant over. I completely empathise but also get so annoyed because I think we partly feel this way because we don't quite know our roles. Obviously we know what mama means to us, but in the bigger picture. I've had more identity struggles in the past 8 months than I did working at a waiter or a bar girl when I had a degree. This is somehow harder! I shall stop clogging up your comments here and simply say, you are awesome and whatever you decide to do will be too I am sure.

    Enjoy the me time, you deserve it :) xx

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    Replies
    1. Me too! I feel exactly the same!

      I have nothing more to add really, though I do often wonder why our mothers don't talk about this. Did they not have the same identity crisis?

      Love your resolutions, I want to do something similar xx

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    2. My mother always claims she never, which baffles me at times...however, it is only now, when I am 25 and my sister 33, that she feels 'lost'. She has struggled in later years with lack of identity, low self esteem etc and suffers badly with depression. When we were children she was very heavy on telling us to go out, be our own person and depend on no-one...perhaps that is telling enough in itself.

      This was advice my sister heeded; graduating, becoming a teacher, buying a house, getting married...yet she is yet to have the family she desperately longs for which makes her miserable and she feels her identity isn't full without it. Then there is me, 25, two children, rented house, a politics degree that thus far has only be used to work in temporary retail and be diplomatic with the under 5's and yet I have the same identity crisis!

      Perhaps we all have our crises kids or no kids...I do worry though having watched my mum. To me it seems she kept a lid on her feelings. At least we have the bonus of the issue not being so taboo. We are powerful in knowing we can talk about it and be accepted and understood. xx

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    3. thanks for all your replies, I definitely feel like there are so many of us who feel like this, and agree that perhaps it is because like josie said, stay at home mothers just aren't valued anymore in society. And I totally agree that this feeling of being lost doesn't just end with mothers either, I have handful of friends, most of whom went to university, have traveled and are working, but have no idea what they want to 'do' in their lives. maybe its just a problem of our modern day society? there is so much pressure to achieve and make something out of your life, and if you don't instantly know what it is, you're failing. Or that being a mother just simply sin't enough anymore?

      or like alice said, is that people have always felt like this, but it's only now we are a little free-er to talk about it? it's such an interesting subject and debate, and it almost makes me want to do a sociological study on it!

      this will keep my thinking for a long while i think!

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  2. I relate entirely, I also had my daughter just less than year after I graduated from University. you are much more eloquent than me and your post has just summed up everything I was attempting to say in mine...enjoy the new year! xxx

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  3. just bee yourself my darling girl,i am so proud of all my girls.Life is like the old Carol King song-Tapestry.Sometimes rich in gold and sometime blue.I know what path you take you will do well, and i will always be there for you.Looking forward to2013,follow your dreams.Lots of love to you all,Mama

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  4. Have you read the book "what mothers do" by Naomi Stadlen? Touches on a few subjects as well as the identity crisis... Certainly helped me get my head round most of the surprising elements of motherhood..

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