Go Ahead, Let Motherhood Re-Define You

Photo by Paras

Have you heard of a young woman who shudders at the thought of becoming a mother because of fear that it will somehow rob her of identity, opportunities, and success?

I have, and it makes me sad.

But what is even sadder, is that I find myself still wrestling with these fears. And I am already a mother.

The truth is, motherhood has the potential for the opposite. It may actually be a hidden passageway to our true identity, rich opportunities and meaningful success. If we let it.

True Identity
Before I became a wife and a mother, I truly thought I was a patient person. I didn’t have any visible anger issues. In fact, I was great with people (and if you knew me in that time period and thought the opposite, please just let me live with the illusion, ok?) But over the past three years that I’ve been married and now almost two years that I’ve been a mom, I discovered I wasn’t that patient person I thought I was. Oh-no-sir. Even worse, I suddenly became a person with an anger problem. Over the smallest things.

The thing is, with our relationships with other people, it feels infinitely easier to let go of stuff. We hang out with friends for an hour, or maybe even a day, and then we say good-be. There’s a lot of breathing space to process, to let the Green Hulk go back to the nice Mr. Banner that he is, and remain the best of friends.

But at home, it’s a different story. You go to bed and wake up with the same people. And the worst of you feels very comfortable showing up pretty much whenever it feels like it, especially on sleep-deprived gloomy rainy Seattle days.

Because let’s face it, we can only discover who we are in the context of our everyday relationships. And as wives and mothers, we have the rich fertile soil we call family in which our true self can emerge. The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.

But it is in this background that we can begin to embrace any good in us while consequently working on those potentially damaging quirks. A gift in disguise so we can be a closer reflection of the Beauty we are made for.

Photo By CW Ye

Rich Opportunities
When we think of rich opportunities, we don’t really think about the domestic life now do we? But the domestic life offers, what I think, is the richest of opportunities towards simplicity, creativity, and generosity. Especially with children.

  • Simplicity: As a new mother, you quickly learn that you must simplify your life in order to thrive. You quickly learn to that you must figure out the basic purpose of your day to day existence, the meaning behind your domestic duties, the Core of what your family life is about. It just forces you to go back to the simple and the true. There is no other way.
  • Creativity: Our children come into this world with a great enthusiasm and capacity for learning. And they make wonderful teachers and inspirations to see the world in a whole new light. Our children draw us back into the world of stories, songs, movements, color, and so much more. They call us to rediscover childhood, innocence and wonder. We learn to create once again, and our hands are lovelier and we are all the better for it.
  • Generosity: Having children magically expands our soul to fit all the children of the world into our heart. If we are passionate over our children’s health, we have the opportunity to also be as passionate over the health of the children in the most unfortunate parts of the world. Children no longer become a nuisance, but the potential world changers we can influence and guide with our own life. We give ourselves away not to a cause, but to the small people of the world who are every bit as important and precious.

Meaningful Success
Personal success is highly overrated. Bill Gates figured that out. I don’t know if it was fatherhood that changed him. But his efforts in the world of education and diseases go so much more beyond thinking of his personal fulfillment. I’m not saying you have to be a parent to go that route. Nor am I saying that only fathers and mothers think beyond their personal success. I’m saying, motherhood can reroute our energies of personal happiness into something more grounded, more eternal, more supernatural.

Meaningful success is always rooted in relationships. Our relationship to those we love, to humankind, to all of creation, to the Creator. Somehow, family life can bring that into clarity. For example, instead of seeing our kitchen as just a place to cook dinner, we can view it as a place where we nourish our family with lovingly prepared meals, a place where we vote with our dollars towards food that is in right relationship with everything that exists, a place where we extend hospitality to those who could use something to eat, a place where we practice creativity by learning what ingredients go best with what, and how. Our success in the kitchen is transformed into something grander, and bigger than ourselves.

So Go Ahead
Let Motherhood redefine you. It’s a good thing.

This post is part of Steady Mom’s 30 Minute Challenge.

If you liked this article, would you kindly pass it along to others? And I’d love to hear what you think! All the best! ~ Vina

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m with you! I also thought I was a very laid back, relaxed, patient person….turns out I’m not so much…just ask my husband. I think it was a bit of a shock to him:)

  2. says

    I know-I was super patient with everyone before they were MINE to deal with day in & day out! Slowly-I am learning how important my patient approach to life is.

  3. says

    Ha! I laughed out loud at the comment about thinking you were a patient person before you had kids. I have felt the exact same way! I often tell people that before I had children, I could have convinced myself that I was a pretty good person. Of course, I like the person I am now much better, largely because I think I am more truly myself than before I had kids.

    I am glad to have discovered your blog through Steady Mom.

  4. says

    I agree with you. Motherhood can be the “rock tumbler” in which you are polished to become a precious gem. I think through raising my children, I’ve learned more about who I am — strengths, weaknesses, and everything inbetween. I am so grateful for that, even when my patience is gone and my nerves are raw.

  5. says

    Oh I just love your rich opportunities… I thought I knew everything!!! Then I had kids… then I thought I knew nothing… now my kids are preteens and about to break forward into teens… I am grasping for knowledge as fast as I can!!! And aren’t they great teachers!!! Fantastic 30 minute post!!!

  6. says

    Hi Marianne,

    Welcome! LIke you, I think I am liking myself more as well, my children and my husband truly make me a better person…most of the time. :)

  7. says

    “motherhood can reroute our energies of personal happiness into something more grounded, more eternal, more supernatural. ” Wow. Really, just wow. I had to go back and read that sentence again. Yes, you are so right: let it transform you – let it take you to those places, the ups and the downs, and embrace it!

    Lovely post! (these 30 minute posts around the blogging world are quickly becoming my favorites – this “raw” writing is wonderful!)

    Best Wishes!

  8. Melissai says

    I am so grateful for this post. Everything it talks about really resonates with me at the moment. My daughter now 18months is the bestthing that has ever happened to me. Being a mum has opened so many doors for myself that I never new exsisted. I thought I knew the person I was before being a mum, but boy was I wrong. The person that I’m becoming now is such a surprise to me – I am so much more grounded, whole and happy with myself. I know I was definatley made to be a mother. It has really made me aware of who I really am and the person I want to be. I thank God for giving me such a wonderful blessing. And to sum up motherhood has definatley redefined me!

  9. says

    Yes, when you get married, you not only learn a lot about your spouse but even more about yourself. Then you learn even more as you add and grow with your littles.

    I enjoyed your post and hope that we all allow ourselves to fully embrace our rolls!

  10. says

    What a wonderful post. I am constantly amazed by what effort it takes just to have day after day after go NORMALLY! It is a rigorous practice :)

  11. says

    is it bad that your “I became a person with an anger problem” made me laugh? and feel relieved. finally someone else said that. geez. sometimes I think I am really messing up my son’s life…I can go from angry to happy in a minute with a toddler. and all I can say to him is “sorry. ” today he was really good at the library reading time. then we went outside and he ran away and told me to SHUT UP when I asked him to get in the car after giving him 10 minutes of roaming time. I was tempted to leave him, if just for a minute.

  12. says

    How I often think to myself that I am messing up my daughter in some way or another too! Sometimes I literally feel the anger rise in my throat and that’s when I know it’s almost Friday and that I badly need a break. And then of course I feel very very very bad about it.

  13. says

    This concept of rediscovering myself is something I’ve thought about constantly since discovering I was pregnant, and more recently blogged about. I think many women fear motherhood because they fear losing themselves, their sense of self-identity, and becoming instead a taxi driver/paint canvas/personal chef/mrs. clean. I was afraid of what it would be like to have a baby, and worried that my likes and passions would cease to be once my son was born.

    The trick is, as you said so aptly, prioritizing our time and effort for what is truly important. There were some hobbies and likes of mine that were lost in the transition to motherhood. I don’t miss them. There were so many new duties and delights to take their place. But there were also a few things that are important to me, that are a part of who I am, music being one of them. I found ways to continue to do those things, to continue to grow in myself and expand my abilities, while giving my time, love, and effort to my little one. It is possible to be fulfilled in your passions and dreams in the midst of motherhood. I am still me!

  14. says

    Gabriela, I listened to your music on your website, and I am so glad you continued to pour yourself into your music while being a mother because it is beautiful! Thank you for sharing, I love the honesty and am blessed with your story.

  15. says

    God blessed me with three boys to raise. The tempers, the testosterone…I still don’t know where I fit into that equation or what my role will be in their lives as they grow older. My grown daughter is my best friend…I don’t know what my relationships with my sons will look like. Mothering them has definitely changed how I view myself as a person.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Sibling Rivalry and How to Prevent It =-.

  16. Vina Barham says

    Hi Rachel, Thanks for sharing! I only have one daughter, and I hope I can say have the same close relationship you have with her. As for boys, I don’t really have any experience. I am curious how sons and daughters have a way of changing us in different ways. Any thoughts?

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