When Betty, a good friend of my father's, asked me at a family wedding, "So what are you doing now?" I completely froze. I had no clue what to say. I was six months pregnant with my second child and had been out of the workforce for two years. I had chosen, for better or worse, to be a stay-at-home mom.
Fortunately for me, Betty sensed my discomfort and chose to rephrase her question, "What would you like to be doing?" Much to my surprise, bells went off in my head and I started rattling off a "to do" list.
After that encounter, it became clear to me that my identity had always been tied into my career. Without it, I didn't know who I was. I was a mother, but who was I really?
Making the Transition to Motherhood
While many women thrive on their motherhood status and are content with it, others feel a strong need to have a personal identity beyond their roles as moms and struggle with the change to parenthood. It's sometimes hard to remember that aside from our roles as mothers, we are individuals with interests, passions, and desires—and we must be able to fulfill those needs to be the best mothers—and people—possible.
"Becoming a mother is a huge life transition," says Gail Kauranen Jones, author of To Hell and Back . . . Healing Your Way Through Transition. "A typical adult transition takes between one and three years before one fully assimilates a new identity. It's perfectly normal to grieve the life before children and to miss parts of it. And it's perfectly normal not to be totally fulfilled by one's children. All of us have a purpose for being here. Motherhood may only be part of our purpose and that is okay."