Whats with the "Identity Crisis"? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am just curious, as I struggle with this too to some extent. But what is with the SAHM identity crisis issue? Is this really an issue, or are we holding some not so true beliefs that are keeping us from fully letting go and enjoying this?
I just find that there is so much time for me to be creative and do things that are nourishing to my spirit being a stay at home mom. More time than I had when I was working any job before kids. Most people in this society identify with thier jobs... it takes up a huge amount of our time.... of course we would. Does it seem that its not all right for a mother to fully identify with her role as a mother? I know people often ask stay at home moms " what are you doing for yourselves?" or "aren't you afraid that you are losing your identity?"
So what is the real issue behind the feeling of having an identity crisis. Is it our ego fighting againstthe permanance of motherhood? Lack of social support? This seems like the greatest job ever (really when you look at it!) but where is this niggling dissatisfaction coming from?

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#2 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 01:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Village Mama
So what is the real issue behind the feeling of having an identity crisis. Is it our ego fighting againstthe permanance of motherhood? Lack of social support? This seems like the greatest job ever (really when you look at it!) but where is this niggling dissatisfaction coming from?
I've wondered this too. I didn't have an identity crisis with the birth of my Dd and have thought that it was because I had had one earlier :LOL . I mean, I was in my mid-thirties when I had my DD. Also, I'd already been a SAHW for 3 years when she was born, so I'd already had an identity shift from working woman to leisure wife. So, having my Dd was actually like getting a job, rather than losing one.

So, for those who have an identity crisis, I think maybe it's age and maybe it's the shift in careers and maybe of how people view you.
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#3 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 01:36 PM
 
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I guess I don't feel like I have an identity crises. I also don't feel like I will be SAHM forever. This is what I am doing NOW. I have been many things over my life: a baby, a child, a student, a teacher, an adventurer, a traveller, an employee, a wife, a friend. I continue to be those things and I am also now a mother and am choosing to do that full time, for now. I want to go back to school eventually and pursue a career in the field I have always worked in, but the time isn't right yet. I will know when it is.

I have never been a person who wanted to "be" one thing. i have always been a generalist and am living my life accordingly. I want to look back at my life in think "Wow, that was really an interesting life. I got to many of the things I wanted to, but not everything." I love the idea that there are tons of things I want to do and am not bothered at all by the fact that there is NO WAY I will get to them all. Mothering fits right into my personality of not wanting to do one thing because it is always changing. My children nourish me as much as I nourish them. I definately have other pursuits I want to get to, but like I said, all in good time.

I think that some of the identity crises comes from underestimating how hard it is to let go of your former self. I am guilty of this too. I was so exstatic to become a parent that I didn't take the time to say good-bye and let go of many aspects of my non-parenting self. I think that if you are still holding onto that self, it is hard to feel comfortable in your SAHM role. It helps to give voice to those feelings, which is what I think is going on here. I'm not sure it is an identity crises so much as an excercise in letting go of our non-mothering selves that you are seeing on the boards.

Or I could be totally off base. :LOL Wouldn't be the first time.
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#4 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 02:49 PM
 
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No identity crisis here. Like the pp said, this is what I'm doing for now. I will not be a SAHM forever. Ds will grow up. Childhood is really such a short period of time. I am perfectly happy doing what I am doing. I have had others express their opinions that I am wasting my education (my dear mother) and question why I am not working more to help out financially (my dear sister.) I can see how being questioned like this might cause some to suffer a bit of an identity crisis, or feel as though they are doing the wrong thing or not doing enough. Luckily for me, I have complete confidence in what I'm doing so it doesn't faze me.
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#5 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 05:02 PM
 
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I've been a SAHM for 9 years and plan to continue being a SAHM for the foreseeable future. I love being with my kids and I know that I will never regret this decision. None the less, every once in a while I flake out and have mini-indentity crises -- most often after talking to someone from my pre-mommy days. When I hear about what my old friends are up to I sometime feel like I don't have anything interesting to say and it makes me wonder about how I've turned out in life.

This week I've been feel low because my DH is on a business trip in Europe. I used to travel internationally with my job as well. But now, instead of going on adventures in foreign lands, I'm taking my kids to art class and the library and then cleaning the hair balls up off the floor (we have too many pets). Art class and the library are wonderful, but I thought my life was going to be a little more exciting. I guess I saw my identity as a bit more wild and radical and adventurous, and now I'm spending time planning Girl Scout meetings, and sometimes it just seems...... a little absurd that this is what I'm doing with my life :

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 08:04 PM
 
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I guess there are times when I feel an identity twinge- not a full blown crises really. I do enjoy being a SAHM. However, being a mom isn't something I had planned to do. When I became pregnant I had to accept a very different life path in a short amount of time. I try very hard to be a good parent and I am mostly happy with my life but some days it feels like I'm wearing clothes that don't quite fit.
I will be a SAHM until my dd is older. I think my major crises will be then. I'm concerned sometimes about that day that dd doesn't need a SAHM and I need to re-create myself again. The things I was doing with my life pre-dd, I no longer want to do. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up anymore.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#7 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 09:00 PM
 
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I can't say that I had an identity crisis, but I definately had a problem with what I felt to be a loss of control. I am a SAHM because my son needs me here right now, but I know I will go back to work. I don't feel complete and we are seriously broke. Not only do we need my income but I want to help provide for my family.

Vanessa belly.gif, wife to Kev , mama to Byron (5) wild.gif and Billie (2) and  due in June
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#8 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 10:19 PM
 
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I wouldn't say I have had an actual identity crisis - I am comfortable with being a mom and LOVE sah, but I think some of my struggles with finding a "mom identity" come from how quickly parenting changes...one minute you are the mom of an infant and you think you have a system figured out and then your baby is a toddler and then you start experiencing things like preschool and activities and going through different behavioral phases and being a parent just changes so much that a parenting identity is a moving target. I currently have one child in kindergarten and my little guy at home all day just the two of us, after two years of doing daytime activities with the three of us and it has really changes all of our lives, ykwim?

The other reason that I think sah can jump start identity issues is because I spend so much time at mommy & me activities talking to moms who just make me bragging about letting their kids CIO or chatting about smacking them or something other awful parenting perspective (not to mention the nuggets of homophobic/racist elitist comments I have encountered on the "sahm scene") that are just not things that I experienced in my chosen profession --- I worked in advocacy and was really used to spending times with people who I connected with on a political/value level and now that I sah I spend alot of time wondering whether my views are just weird, ykwim? That is my own little introspective identity crisis...does that make any sense

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#9 of 18 Old 10-15-2005, 11:06 PM
 
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I have an identity crisis about once a week, because my kids are very little and both still need me almost 24/7. So there's zero time for me, and I almost never get a chance to be by myself. I know this will change as the kids get older, but in the moment it's difficult to remember that the intense neediness will eventually pass.
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#10 of 18 Old 10-16-2005, 12:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildmonkeys
I wouldn't say I have had an actual identity crisis - I am comfortable with being a mom and LOVE sah, but. . .I think sah can jump start identity issues because I spend so much time at mommy & me activities talking to moms who just make me bragging about letting their kids CIO or chatting about smacking them or something other awful parenting perspective (not to mention the nuggets of homophobic/racist elitist comments I have encountered on the "sahm scene") that are just not things that I experienced in my chosen profession. . . I spend alot of time wondering whether my views are just weird, ykwim?

Oh gosh, I so totally agree with you about this. After I got over the initial shock of new motherhood (hormonally , baby blues, what the heck just happened to my LIFE?) ,this is exactly my experience. I am weirdly allied with other moms simply because we're all moms of little , and yet I have absolutely nothing else in common with them. It's very disorienting, as in "how did ***I*** get HERE?."
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#11 of 18 Old 10-16-2005, 02:56 AM
 
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I've had nothing but positive feedback for my choice to stay home. I don't feel that I'm losing my idenity at all, and yes, I actually have WAY more time to myself than I ever did when I was working. I think if anything I have the freedom now to be who I am as I don't have to fit into what society thinks I should be.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#12 of 18 Old 10-16-2005, 12:09 PM
 
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I was really taken by surprise by this as I always thought I had a strong sense of inner identity and have always been very confident. I also changed jobs alot so didn't think I was attached to my job - boy...did I get a shock! For me I think I have a need for approval or acknowledgement - not that I need people to tell me I'm a good person, but perhaps to tell me I'm doing a good job. DH and I have had long (but futile) talks about this as he tends to only point out the negatives - didn't clean up enough, no food on the table, old-fashioned chavanistic stuff like that. Then you go out into 'mommy world' and it seems everyone either has an opinion or a judgement about how you're handling thing, or how things 'should be done' and you easily loose sight of your own intuition. I was surprized how quickly I lost my core sense of self, it was scary (I'm working to get it back!)

I think the other challenge is how totally absorbing, at least for me, mothering became - every tiny little detail was blown into HUGE proportions, its hard to keep perspective when the most important thing on your mind is the number of hours dd has slept, the amount of nutrition you've managed to get into their tiny stomachs, or the amount of attention and stimulation you've managed to provide in any given hour. Its exhausting, and draining, and very tough to keep your own sense of anything in that kind of situation!

But its funny, its such a short time frame really, my kids are getting to pre-school age now and with the extra hours, you sort of 'come back' to yourself with time for thoughts other than children. So I also see it as a great time to maybe 'loose yourself' for awhile and just jump in and take a huge gulp of their lovely little beings!
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#13 of 18 Old 10-16-2005, 04:49 PM
 
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I live in an area with more SAHM's than working moms so I don't see it as much, but I can understand the "shock" of going from a working mom to a SAHM would be for some. Especially if the baby was unplanned (I'm there). It took some getting used to, staying home again, but it's well worth it to me.
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#14 of 18 Old 10-17-2005, 11:16 PM
 
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I don't have a problem with my identity as a SAHM. What I had trouble with was the transition because like someone said working does consume much of your life and people identify with their work - so I was losing some of myself so to speak.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#15 of 18 Old 10-18-2005, 02:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanessagreene
I can't say that I had an identity crisis, but I definately had a problem with what I felt to be a loss of control.
Me too! I do not like being dependant on the income of my husband, especially since he is (we both were) in the instable world of nonprofit organizations. Right now we are expecting the funding for his current position to be cut for next year. The jobs he is qualified for are low-paying, human service type things like domestic violence and crisis work, youth advocacy and other things of that nature. We both feel the need for our ds to have a parent with him full-time, but I work odd jobs here and there, things I can bring ds with me for or do at home, in order to contribute financially to our family economy. I would like to be able to work more (well, to make more money) but since my dh is also a full-time student until December, it is hard to work my schedule around his. What I really wish we had was a grandma or aunt who would take care of him for just a few hours a week so I could earn more income.

Our budget is pretty bare-bones, we have no health insurance, disability insurance, or savings for the future. We have no cushion at all. This is what the nagging feeling about SAH is all about for me. I feel like I swapped meeting what I feel my ds's needs are now for what they might be in the future. My sister on the other hand has a dh with a very lucrative job and she says she does not have any of these feelings, so for me I think it is about the financial security and plans for the future, not so much the personal identity. But I do feel uneasy about SAH. Of course, if I did WOH I'm sure I'd have different things to feel uneasy about .

I hate to say it, but I think for me it is all about the money issues.

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#16 of 18 Old 10-18-2005, 01:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharlla
I've had nothing but positive feedback for my choice to stay home. I don't feel that I'm losing my idenity at all, and yes, I actually have WAY more time to myself than I ever did when I was working. I think if anything I have the freedom now to be who I am as I don't have to fit into what society thinks I should be.
Very well said! I completely agree with this 110%. I do realize that not everymom feels this way though, and while I think both are completely normal, I also think that mamas w/an "identity crisis" are the majority.
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#17 of 18 Old 10-19-2005, 04:25 AM
 
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I admit, a lot of times I feel like I'm "not good enough" as my peers. Most of my friends are seniors in college and about to get their bachelor degrees and since I got married a year after highschool and then had a child a year after I was married I never went to college. But then again, my son is more fulfilling than college could ever be. I have my days.

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#18 of 18 Old 10-19-2005, 10:15 AM
 
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No identity crisis here. I love being a SAHM, I plan on being one long term. I did have a transition adjusting to being a mother of this screaming baby that I didn't know what to do with. :LOL I wouldn't say that I have more time to myself now then when I was working, I am never childless.

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