Motherhood is one of those times in life in which your world either expands or contracts. I’m truly concerned about the motherhood transition, not from a financial or physical perspective, but a mental one. And I’m not talking about Post Natal Depression here. I’m talking identity crisis.
If you truly examine your feelings about being a mother, and just watch your thoughts without judging, you would be amazed at what comes up. It is as if, as women we have been conditioned for most of the roles in our life, but come completely unequipped for the mental conditioning that is required for motherhood.
Speaking from personal experience, motherhood seems to bring to the forefront of your existence many fears that have been lurking in the back of your mind. There’s fear of the loss of your professional status. Fear of becoming a helicopter mum. Fear of not doing a good enough job. Fear of choosing the wrong bloody school. And fear of actually enjoying it.
Yep, come on. Let’s look at that one a little more. What does it mean to enjoy being a mum? Does it mean that you lack career ambition? Does it mean that you are the type that is going to sit at home all day in tracksuit pants and watch Days of Our Lives and Oprah? Will your husband or partner find you less attractive and stimulating as a result? Will you be reduced to only being able to talk about your child’s latest eating and sleeping patterns? Does it mean you are not intelligent if you like to talk about how you finally got your child to eat a ham sandwich because it was in the shape of a car?
Nope. And who said that there is anything wrong with any of the above? It only matters if you think that the statements I just made are negative to you. Things are neither bad nor good. It’s our mind that assigns the label of good or bad.
Motherhood is what you make of it. It requires nothing short of 100% mental focus. It is your grandest “project” that you will ever undertake. It has the potential to bore you, give you great big guilt complexes, frustrate you, give you anxiety attacks, exhaust you, depress you and make you feel as though you are doing it alone in every sense of the word.
It also has the potential to enrich your life beyond your wildest dreams; give you moments of happiness that you could have never imagined; to make you giggle and gasp, and sigh in amazement.
However, it can not be project managed with a spreadsheet. You need to leave those skills behind. These are not anyone’s children we are talking about. These are your children. Be they from your flesh and bone, or adopted or fostered. You are the most important person in their life. They are human, you are human and we all want to be loved and taken care of, not “managed”.
Motherhood isn’t about losing your identity.
We all have multiple facets to our identity and our weird and wonderful personalities. We are not just our career, we are the sum total of all our interests and experiences that have shaped and defined us along our journey to date. Motherhood is so much more than another skill set that we acquire along the way. The only person who can control how it enriches or detracts from your sense of being is you.
Let go, and enjoy the journey for what it is.
Katische Haberfield is a blogger, writer, photographer and a new mother.