You don't have to give up your identity to become a mom

Sep 27, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Image: Darrya/iStock/360/Getty Images

There is a reason that moms get a bad rap. It's because both you and I know interesting, fun, vivacious, independent women who have turned into "mombies" after having a kid. I am not one of them. I love being a mom, and it is truly the best thing I have done in my life. I also love and appreciate my pre-mom self, and I'm not ready to part with her yet.

You don't have to lose your identity when you become a mom. As a new mom, I know how hard it can be to keep your head above water and preserve your individuality with young children under your roof. You don't have any time for yourself. You don't even get to watch your favorite TV shows anymore — instead, Sesame Street runs on a loop all day long as you stack blocks with your toddler. This was never my idea of a fun Friday night.

I remember my early 20s pre-mom self, and I remember her well. In my 20s, I was wracked with anxiety and insecurity, like most other young women my age. But I still had a great time. I had an active social life while I was working in a restaurant; I partied, I dated and I mostly have no regrets.

Fast-forward just a few years later, and I am really enjoying what motherhood has turned me into. Becoming a mother to two young boys forced me to face my anxieties and come to terms with many things that I don't like about myself. I didn't have to change who I was to tap into this self-acceptance. I just had to be myself.

In her Washington Post piece, Carrington Tarr describes how she gave up her identity to become a mother and doesn't miss the old version of herself. She says, "But it was uncanny how, with no kids to feed, direct and drive around, I was still figuring out a way to be with them anyway... What I hadn't truly appreciated is how my role as a mother isn't merely a role, it's embedded in my being. It's what I do and think about most of the time, directly and indirectly."

I agree with what Tarr is saying in theory — but not entirely. I am a mother to two young children, and I still take time for myself. I go out on dates with my husband, I party with friends sometimes and we plan vacations alone.

Being with my kids is the highlight of my day, and I think about them nonstop when we are apart. But separate identities are good for all of us. My kids thrive when they spend a weekend with Grandma and realize that we will always love them and come back.

I'm a mom now, and it is part of who I am but not my whole identity. I'm still fun, I'm still spontaneous, and I'm still social. The "old me" didn't die when I had kids — she just got better with age.

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