how do you retain your identity? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 01-03-2006, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i am a first time mom and a sahm. i just realized today that in the six mos. since ds was born i have only been away from him once, for one hour, to run to the grocery. and i don't even want to leave him. but i am finding myself a boring person these days - i only think about ds and only talk about him. i spend all of my time with him.

i need to do something to become a more well-rounded person. i need to start making myself get out. i would like to take a class, but dh work schedule is too unpredictable right now for me to be able to rely on him to take care of ds with any kind of certainty. now, dh doesn't mind at all staying with ds any time he has the chance, so i can do things if i want to. but i don't seem to want to.

anyway, how do you retain your identity? what do you do to make yourself get out of the house? is this what is called the babymoon? will i eventually come out of this or do i need to force myself out? before i became a sahm mom i had a job i loved, interests and hobbies and was pretty into current events. now i exist for this incredible little guy.
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#2 of 25 Old 01-03-2006, 07:34 PM
 
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Go get out of the house every chance you can get but count on the fact that as they become more independent so will you and you will find youself again. You sort of loose yourself to the mommy-child creature that subsumes you both...but then they turn two and you both find yourselves again.
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#3 of 25 Old 01-03-2006, 07:58 PM
 
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Here's what worked for me. I was a SAHM and I didn't have a driver's license, and at the time we lived in a rural area (ironically, we're back in that same neighborhood now but I have a license! ). I was reading about breastfeeding and discovered ProMoM was just getting started and looking for volunteers. I signed up. I volunteered with them for three years, and served on their board for one year- all from home. Since then I have volunteered with CAPPA, Northwest Attachment Parenting, and the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

This has been very helpful to help me retain my value as a person in the world, my individuality, my feeling of participating in community- and I have been able to do it from home.

There are SO many great organizations out there who are looking for people to help- sometimes it's making phone calls, writing newsletters, data entry, editing, etc etc - I would suggest figuring out what you have to offer and finding an organization to whom you would feel good about donating your time.

The other aspect of this which has been extremely beneficial is the fact that it builds my resume! IT shows that even tho I am a SAHM I am still keeping my skills sharp and staying in the 'work force', even if I'm not being paid for it. And if you start out as a volunteer and end up being asked to join the board- keep track of all of that! IT looks fantastic on a resume to show that you have been a board member.

Kristina in Kitsap County, WA
Doula, Student Midwife, Mama, Wife & More
http://redspiral.blogspot.com
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#4 of 25 Old 01-03-2006, 07:58 PM
 
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boring to who? well-rounded for who?

It doesn't really sound like you have a problem that needs fixed. If YOU were bored; if YOU felt unrounded and unfullfilled, I'd say try to do something about it. But it doesn't sound like you are bored or unfulfilled right now.
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#5 of 25 Old 01-03-2006, 08:14 PM
 
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i think if you weren't bored or felt like you needed some non-mommy-related stimulation you would not have posted.

for me the 6 mo mark was too early to leave baby for very long; i worked up to that when baby seemed to prefer papa or grandma. just wait until 18mo--that to me is such a huge milestone, where your baby can communicate verbally and has mastered motor skills, and all signs of baby start to fade away. that is when I felt comfortable enough to be gone for hours and take a class. i took a cultural geography class and it was amazing!! suddenly i had knowledge and opinions about key world issues and everything I heard on NPR made more sense!

for now my simple suggestion is to read about something other than mothering related topics (GASP!)-- i found all that i checked out or bought book wise was parenting and birth, etc. Are there any book groups in your area? at that age you could probably bring baby.....

any of that helpful?
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#6 of 25 Old 01-03-2006, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mama_nomad
for now my simple suggestion is to read about something other than mothering related topics (GASP!)--
you mean there are other subjects out there that aren't mothering related? i laughed when i read your post because it made me realize that i do exactly that.

thanks for all the suggestions. so, to start i am going to 1) start reading some other stuff and 2) look for some kind of volunteer work and 3) not sweat my seemingly normal love obsession

dh doesn't even mind any of this but lately when talking to friends i hear myself and i am thinking "talk about something else for even just five minutes..."

i do agree that ds is too young for me to leave him for very long (not to mention my own personal twitches when i even think about leaving him), but i am thinking even a run to the grocery store once a week might be a good thing.
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#7 of 25 Old 01-03-2006, 08:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuzzyOne

dh doesn't even mind any of this but lately when talking to friends i hear myself and i am thinking "talk about something else for even just five minutes..."

yeah, but also when i hear other people talking about non-mothering things I get a little ZZZZZZZZZ , or everything they say I relate to childbirth or breastfeeding!!

really, things change and before you know it you'll wonder where your baby went....sigh. i also think about what it'll be like when dh and i retire 20-30 years from now. we'll be playing canasta and cribbage and be totally boring!
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#8 of 25 Old 01-03-2006, 10:20 PM
 
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One thing I'm thinking about is an on-line course or book discussion group through the barnes and noble web site. They are free and some are led by the authors themselves. I have no prior experience with anything like this- but it sure sounds convenient!
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#9 of 25 Old 01-04-2006, 03:26 PM
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I can relate. When my little one was a newborn, joined a newborn and mom group. You might try to find one in your area. But, as the babes grew and started preschool, the groups stopped getting together due to differing preschool schedules. So, I joined the moms club and holistic moms network. HMN was not a good fit for me (I wanted more social stuff and they were more education oriented) but moms club international has been great. They have a monthly book club and weekly play dates by age group and other monthly events. My dh works long and odd hours but I book his babysitting services in advance so I can get out a couple of times a month with just my friends. It has worked out well.

Here are weblinks so you can figure out if there are chapters near you. If not, you can start one!

http://www.momsclub.org/

http://www.holisticmoms.org/

Also, you could do a yahoo groups search for parenting groups in your city and you might find others to meet with that way. The important thing is to get out and socialize, even if you have to take the babe with you. It will boost your self esteem and help you feel better.

You might also try your local community college and see if they have coop preschools in your area. That is what I have been doing with my dd since she was 11 months old. That has been good for both of us.

As for retaining my identity, well my identity was never based on my career outside of the home. It took a while for me to convince my husband that staying at home with a baby is a 24 hour a day job (it helped to get him to watch the babe a few hours a week) but after a few months he was good with that. I am a strong, independent woman and staying at home with a baby did not change that at all.

Kathy
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#10 of 25 Old 01-04-2006, 04:43 PM
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Well, I think identities change for everyone. None of us are the same after our children are born, and that's natural. I know I was shocked when I was totally consumed in my love for my baby. At first I wanted to forget everything that happened in my life before ds was born, but when my son was 6 months old, I craved a connection to my pre-baby self. I volunteered to teach an adult-ed class in my field of specialty, just once a week at a time when I knew DH would not have to work. Teaching that class was a wonderful source of rejuvenation for me, but outside of those 2 hours on Saturday morning, I was all mommy, all the time. Maybe you have something you can offer your community, an adult-ed class or a "Mommy and Me" class for babies right around the age of your ds. I also used to volunteer at a nursing home with ds, which was a wonderful experience for us both -- everyone in the nursing home lit up at the sight of ds. Consider volunteer opportunities in your local school system -- some teachers have new moms visit the class with a baby and talk about infant care/behavior, childbirth, etc. Look around for activities for very young children...You may even be able to find something like a mom-baby postnatal yoga class.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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#11 of 25 Old 01-04-2006, 04:50 PM
 
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It is so hard.

I find a lot of satisfaction in my volunteer job as a bf support person.

Jam 7, Peanut Butter 5, and Bread 2.

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#12 of 25 Old 01-04-2006, 05:02 PM
 
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I wouldn't make it a goal to "retain" your identity. Let it change and evolve based on the new love of your life

I agree that reading is great for giving yourself a chance to expand without taking time away

I also agree that I sometimes find myself bored with peoples non-baby talk (I have a couple of childless friends that can go on and on about work ) but it is nice to try to listen to the peaks and valleys in other peoples lives even it might not be an area where I have much to say these days....much of the time people really just want to talk about their stuff anyway

BJ
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#13 of 25 Old 01-05-2006, 06:09 AM
 
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I'm in that same place!
DD is 2mo; and for the last 11mo, I have read nothing but pregnancy/childbirth/breastfeeding books!
Do you mean to tell me there is something else out there? LOL!
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#14 of 25 Old 01-05-2006, 06:14 AM
 
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forgot to add...
My 2 closest (and childless) friends seem to only talk about babies with me.
I wonder how much is real interest?
I can't seem to think of anything else to talk about, though!
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#15 of 25 Old 01-05-2006, 11:43 AM
 
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After getting off the computer yesterday I thought of something funny as a result of this post...

When ds was about 6 months old, dh & I were on the way over to visit some friends who didn't (and still don't) have kids. On the way there we came up with 3 things that we could talk about if we started talking about ds One of them was a current affairs sort of event and dh actually caught me up on it on the way there!

I also sometimes check a People magazine out of the library it obviously isn't all that mentally stimulating, but it does catch you up on the stupid sort of goings on that you seem to just pick up from being in a work environment (hot bands, celbrity couples of the day, what new movies are coming out)

BJ
Barney & Ben
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#16 of 25 Old 01-06-2006, 05:58 AM
 
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At this point in my life being a mama is my identity. I belong to an AP group with like minded mamas and we get together for play groups, I go to LLL, and we have the occasional craft night.

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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#17 of 25 Old 01-09-2006, 02:41 AM
 
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I got into sewing and knitting directly as a result of this sort of thing.

I love my DS very much and he is what I'm most interested in. But, I think the more things I'm interested in and learn about, the more he will experience vicariously through me... whether it's seeing me knit, going with me to the yarn store, or whatever. I think it's really healthy for me to have my own stuff, KWIM?

So, if you don't have time right now, don't worry about it (my DS is 2 so I have it a little easier probably) but as you started to have more time, maybe you can think of some things you would find interesting (that will work around having children).

But everyone is different, so do what seems to work for you.
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#18 of 25 Old 01-09-2006, 10:09 AM
 
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#19 of 25 Old 01-09-2006, 01:41 PM
 
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I think six months is early to worry about not having a non-baby identity. I think the first year is just so consuming that there isn't much room for other things. Now at eight months I am noticing that I am able to start thinking about other things more. Don't sweat it, you won't become a mommy-zombie for life. I'm just trying to relax and enjoy my baby. He won't be little forever and I have the rest of my life to focus on my identity.

homebirthing organic mama to three crazy boys very blessed!!
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#20 of 25 Old 01-09-2006, 06:48 PM
 
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I wouldn't make it a goal to "retain" your identity. Let it change and evolve based on the new love of your life
Well said! or you could change it slightly to say: Let it change and evolve based on each new phase of your life".

I really struggled with that too but I came to realize that our identities are always changing as we go through our lives. Why do people (those around us) expect us to "get on with it" or "get over it" so quickly? I think part of that is our society's cruddy outlook on children.

I know friends who obsess about their wedding for years, their job, the house they're building, their new pet, on and on and on. Why should I find their constant chatter about those things more interesting than what I have to say about my little family?? Why do people think it's okay for our identity to be based on our job but not our family??

That said, like previous posters mentioned, there are little things you can do to feel more "with it" and up on current events. I love the librabry! Especially if your library allows you to browse books and magazines and put them on hold online. Then you just have to drop by and pick them up!
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#21 of 25 Old 01-09-2006, 06:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkprincess

I know friends who obsess about their wedding for years, their job, the house they're building, their new pet, on and on and on. Why should I find their constant chatter about those things more interesting than what I have to say about my little family?? Why do people think it's okay for our identity to be based on our job but not our family??
good point. why is it socially acceptable for my best friend to blabber on and on about her jerk boyfriend but if I talk about my child for longer than three sentences I feel as if I'm being boring? I literally force myself not to talk about the baby to my friends unless they specifically ask. oh well.

I feel as if I lost my pre-mom identity too. I used to feel....different. It's like ever since I started showing in pregnancy I've felt my sexuality pretty much melt away. So one thing I did to help was instead of taking quick, utilitarian showers, was to find and actually USE all those spa product type thingys people have given me over the years. now I do the pumice stone on the dry areas on my feet, use some nice good smelling shower gel stuff with a body brush, and moisturizer after. it takes an extra 10 minutes but makes me feel better suprisingly.

I can't make myself leave my baby just to be independent though and I don't think anyone should. besides they are only little once

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#22 of 25 Old 01-09-2006, 07:03 PM
 
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I figure when I talk about my baby I am talking about my job, my love and my hobby. Of course I have other loves (dh) and other hobbies too but my neediest hobby and love are the baby right now Certainly my husband has yet to spit up all over me at the grocery store and make a really good story to tell
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#23 of 25 Old 01-17-2006, 02:01 AM
 
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I haven't read through all the posts, but being a mom is my identity at this point.

There will be many years ahead to do other things.
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#24 of 25 Old 01-17-2006, 02:20 AM
 
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I struggled with this too when dd was about 6 mos. Face it, everything that we do is for them. Every thought and gesture is for them. We do it without even thinking about it. It usually happens from the moment we know we're pregnant. Our life as we knew it instantly changed.

I guess the key is balance. I needed to remember to leave a little for myself. Something that's just for me as a woman and not as a Mother. I make an effort (even if it's just once or twice a month) to go have some tea in a cafe with a good book or take a walk by myself.

It was also critical for me to connect with other Mamas in IRL. Playgroups, playgrounds, anywhere another Mama would be.

FWIW, it gets easier. DD just turned 2 a week and a half ago. She's developing independence. It's bitter sweet. Time flies and before you know it...well, you know the rest.

As for your question, I believe my identity has changed my whole life and will change again. Being a Mama is just adding to my list of things that are a part of that identity.

Hang in there, Mama. You sound like you're doing an awesome job.
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#25 of 25 Old 01-17-2006, 04:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jasmyn's Mum
Face it, everything that we do is for them. Every thought and gesture is for them. We do it without even thinking about it. It usually happens from the moment we know we're pregnant. Our life as we knew it instantly changed.
Well said. I agree with you there. This fact is actually harder for my husband to understand sometimes. I am constantly talking about baby baby baby and how wonderful he is and omg he made the cutest sound yesterday etc etc... It feels like I never talk to my girlfriends anymore, or rather we have nothing in common to talk about. That was when I realized my life has revolved around baby.
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