Sunday, September 24, 2006

Defining Identity: More Than Just A Mom

A lot of moms define themselves as just that: A Mom, and nothing else.
I’ve seen it, and it disturbs me.

Surely we have interests beyond our children?

Why do some of us drown ourselves in the role of motherhood? How do we come to that spot? How do we lose ourselves? Where do we learn Motherhood Is All That I Am? Why do we think that’s okay?

One reason I started this blog (and worked on Mama Says) is so I wouldn’t lose myself. So I wouldn’t lose other parts of my identity that would surely have gone astray amidst the demands of motherhood.

I am able to write (and vent) on this blog. It has pulled all aspects together, a merging, of the self. I write what I write because I can. Because it’s what I want to write. It pushes me to write more, differently than I have in the past-in journals, poetry, whatever sort of writing I choose to do. It keeps all my identities intact.

Hey, motherhood is demanding and at times overwhelming and all-consuming, but it doesn’t mean you have to give yourself up.

How do you define yourself-Writer, Sister, Humanitarian? Avid Reader? Photographer? Various Activist? Mother...


  1. Funny, but before I "blogged," I might not have understood as well what you mena by defining yourself as a mother, a writer, etc... I was a poet before I was a mommy, an occasional poet while a mommy, but now, with my blog, I write almost every day, I am in the company of other moms, other writers, and when I am asked about my art, I say with no reservations, I am a writer. Somedays, though, when I am being mommy first, I have this urge, this ache, to write. So much more than I did before blogging.

  2. Just droppin in to say hello to a "new" chick.

    Interesting about defining yourself. It especially happens when your kids go to school. You become "somebody's" mother. Name just becomes superflous.

    So, thats a tough one. I'm going to think on it.

    Meanwhile. hello -!

  3. Before I became a mother, I wanted to have kids, but nothing prepared me for how amazing and fierce my love for them would be, or how I would feel a certain fulfillment in my new role.
    That said, I have never thought of myself as just as "mother" or defined myself that way. Even when they were tiny and I stayed home with them, I was still who I was before they were born--writer, reader, editor, wife, friend, sister, daughter, etc. The other parts of my life got less attention for a few years, it's true, but children grow and change and ultimately, don't stay children for all that long. It can be dangerous for a mother--both for herself and for her children--if she defines herself only in relation to her children, I think. Having said that, I don't know how many women actually do truly do that.
    One more thought: In certain Arab cultures, a woman's name changes after she becomes a mother. It becomes Um (name of child) Um means mother. I would be Um Elliot. In some cultures, it changes with the birth of the first son, in others, with the name of any child. What do you think of that? Very strange for Westerners, isn't it?

  4. god, i totally agree. it's been the major struggle of my life post-kid, to continue to define myself outside of the mother role, and continue to evolve into that woman, as well as mother. great post.