Since becoming a mother and leaving my teaching career, my identity has been in flux. A huge part of how I defined myself was “teacher” and with that gone, I struggle with feeling like I am no longer interesting. Dramatic, but it’s how I feel. My days consist of diaper changes, sleep schedules, and mealtimes. In the classroom I felt purposeful, as a stay at home mom, I feel a bit directionless. Not because the work isn’t important, but because the schedule is so loose, the work goes unseen and my mind is often unstimulated.
Motherhood has become my identity. I love being a mom but I also want to love being Chelsea. Nate and I went skiing recently, something I’ve never done and never really desired to do. On our first run down the mountain after a long lesson with an instructor, I felt confident in my abilities and just went for it. Against the instructions of our teacher, I just took off. When Nate finally caught up to me (and I mean fi-nal-ly), he repeatedly asked, “Did you really do that on purpose? Was that an accident? Did you actually mean to do that?” And I did. I forgot that I had an adventurous, fun-seeking side to myself (and so did he). I want to get a bit of that girl back. I want Everly to see her as she grows up. I don’t have to be a martyr to motherhood. Nate has goals, hobbies, and passions he pursues and I should too.
I realized that motherhood was previously an end goal and I hadn’t dreamt much beyond that. For so long, the goal was to get married and have kids. Now that I’ve “accomplished” those things, I’m kind of scratching my head wondering, “now what?” Obviously, continue to strengthen my marriage and raise my child but I mean in addition to those important roles.
I hadn’t thought much past this point in my life until recently. I was painting at my parents’ new farmhouse while listening to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast called “For the Love.” She was interviewing Rachel Hollis, author of “Girl, Wash Your Face” and her words resonated with me.
She said, “Part of the problem is that women in so many cultures are raised to be the best that they can be for someone else. Meaning, be the best mom for your children. Be the best wife for your partner. Be the best sister. Be the best daughter. So that your identity is fully wrapped up in who you are for other people. It’s no wonder that women–especially mommas who, when you’re five years into being a mom or ten years into being a mom or you’re an empty nester–and you’re like, “I have no idea who I am. I haven’t done a thing for myself.”
I don’t want to wait till my kids are in school or out of the house to invest in myself. I want to find purpose and passion both inside my family and out.
Rachel talked about encouraging women to have dreams and at that moment I thought about a specific passion I have that I’d like to cultivate into something bigger. I didn’t realize how much I wanted to make this passion into something more meaningful until I was “given permission” to want more for myself. Obviously, I didn’t need Rachel to tell me it’s ok to dream, I guess I just realized that I wasn’t. I was watching my husband dream and vision cast and not doing any of it for myself.
That’s changing now.