6 Ways to Find Your Identity Outside of Being a Mom
- Becky Beresford Author. Speaker. Dreamer.
- 2020 2 Oct
When I got married, I thought I had faced the hardest transition in my life thus far. Merging two lives into one is guaranteed to be a messy but beautiful business. But God had another change in store that was far harder than I ever thought it would be. I became a mom.
Being a wife meant I could still have my own work, interests and passions. In our marriage we supported each other as a team, but there were aspects of our lives that still remained separate.
We were partners but individuals. Together but different. Connected but distinct.
The day I became a mom, the line between my world and my son’s instantly blurred. My heart shifted toward solely thinking about him. He was relying on me for everything, including food, sleep and other basic needs.
As I poured my entire being into making sure he was taken care of, I subconsciously put myself at the bottom of the priority list--so much so, that it swallowed me whole.
In the process of loving my boy, I forgot who I was before I had kids.
Day after day, I made being a good mama my goal. In exchange, I struggled with placing my relationship with Jesus and my husband above the calling of being a parent. I let go of things that made me come alive before children. I buried desires I thought I had to put on hold while raising babies.
I let my identity get washed away in a sea of diapers and dirty laundry, when my heart needed to remember Whose I was.
It’s a common tale told in the realm of motherhood. 10 years and two more little boys later, and I am just getting a solid handle on my identity as a child of God outside of parenting.
Staying True to Our First Calling
We are called many things throughout life. Wife. Mom. Sister. Friend. Neighbor. Colleague. But the very first name you were ever called was Daughter. The Creator of the universe looked at you after forming you in wonder and perfection, and He called you His. He chose you to be a Daughter of God--an adopted child of the Most High King.
It’s the most important name you can ever be given and the most sacred calling you will ever have. Nothing matters more.
It’s true God made His girls to be multi-faceted, but we must ground ourselves in this first holy title before we pour ourselves into anything else. Otherwise, we may be persuaded to find our worth in the other roles God grants us, instead of the relationship we have with our Father as His girl.
Once this truth is under our belt, it’s good to look at various ways we can find life and identity outside of motherhood. (And P.S. You don’t need to feel bad for doing so!)
Here are 6 ways to find life and identity outside of motherhood:
Photo Credit: ©Getty/West-End61
1. Put Time into Being a Disciple of Jesus
Women have been walking by the Messiah’s side since His beginning days of ministry, regardless of their status as a mother or not.
We were made to follow Him and be transformed by His truth and love. And the best way to do this is to be with Him. Spend time in His Word, in prayer, in music, in creation.
Anything that connects you to God, no matter how little time you have, spend some of it with your Savior. Daily restoration of your soul is time well invested.
As mamas, we have the privilege of discipling our kids too, but discipleship does not (and should not) end there. We can disciple our neighbors, community, family and friends. The gospel message has the power to change our lives and in turn, we get to help transform the entire world.
All women, mamas or not, are part of God’s Kingdom work now.
2. Regularly Date your Husband
Before there were any babies, many of us were brides. Those babies will grow up and leave, so it’s important to make sure our relationships with our spouses have been nurtured as well.
I once heard we should strive to be continual students of our spouses. We need to make sure to are still getting to know each other more. Listening, open communication, supporting what matters to each other, spending quality together away from the kids… all of these are crucial to cultivating a relationship that doesn’t just survive parenthood.
It thrives in it.
3. Do Things That Make You Smile
What is something you miss doing that you did before having children? For me, I was artsy with my journals and used to make collages on every one of them. Now and then I try to do things that tap into my creative outlet--things that remind me I am a woman who has hobbies of her own.
It doesn’t have to be all the time, but making sure to invest in your interests will help you develop the art of practicing joy.
4. Make Sure to Pursue Your God-Given Dreams
Similar to our interests, our dreams should not be buried so deep inside, we forget we have them. It’s true that some seasons in parenthood are not the right time to run hard after our passions, but we should still water what God has planted.
The Creator has made you with a unique set of giftings and desires He has placed in you. God put those specific hungers in your soul because He wants to move in you and show His power through you! We shouldn’t ignore the sacred tugging on our hearts.
Instead, with open hands, we need to ask Jesus what He wants us to do with the dreams He has given us. Then, we trust Him to make a way for His plans to come to pass.
5. Spend Time with Your Girl Tribe Sans Kids
There are few things as refreshing as spending time with people who get you. God created us for community on purpose. When we connect with others who love us right where we are and want to walk with us through our trials, it is a true gift from heaven.
Fellowship is doing life together and holding each other up when someone else is feeling weighed down. It’s also just great to have fun! Schedule in regular time with your girls, without kids if possible. Playdates are good too, but deeper conversations and adult talk is easier to have when you aren’t interrupted 100 times. True Story.
Remember, you were a friend before you were a mama too.
6. Practice Self-Care God’s Way
First off, as God’s Daughter, you are worthy of being taken care of, and this includes you taking care of yourself. Second, it’s important to model biblical self-care to your kids.
They will see that loving and serving others does not mean you neglect showing love to yourself and the temple God has given you.
Jesus is the perfect example of practicing self-care in a way that honors God and others. He took the time to be with His Father. He put up boundaries when needed. He took naps in the middle of storms and made sure people ate!
God wants us to have our sabbaths as a way to let go and rely on Him. It’s okay to take care of yourself and entrust your concerns to your King. When you feel burn out, do something that refreshes and revives you. Think about what makes your soul feel at rest in God.
Then make the conscious effort to pursue it often as a routine in life.
Motherhood is a blessing and children are the best treasures. But modeling an understanding our of identity to our kids not only sets a good example, it sets us free to live as God’s beloved in all our diverse roles.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Natalia Figueredo
Becky Beresford lives in Huntley, IL and is happily outnumbered by her husband and three wild boys. She is a writer and speaker with a Master’s Certificate in Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary. Becky loves encouraging God’s Daughters to embrace their truest selves in Christ and walk out the gospel truths empowered by God. She would love to connect with you online at BeckyBeresford.com, where you can grab a FREE copy of the Brave Woman Manifesto: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Feel free to follow her and the weekly Brave Women Series on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.