I’ve written before on the subject of Identity and there is SO. Much. More I want to write on it.
It’s been difficult trying to work out exactly what, because there are so many aspects. Do I do an horrendously long post? A series of posts? Random posts when I remember?
Who knows? It is a complex and highly subjective topic with a range of beliefs as unique as the mothers who believe them.
There is nothing wrong with doing things the way we think are ‘right’, so long as no one is being hurt or traumatised or dead by it. The issue does lie in with forcing beliefs onto others.
But choosing your belief and living by it, that is super cool.
Which is where Identity comes in, because it is shaped by your beliefs and your values. It is also shaped by who you are, innately.
There is a lot of talk about kids taking our identity.
I, personally, don’t view it that way, although I do very much see how this myth comes about.
It’s society that takes our identity from us.
When we have kids, that taking of who we are is thrust to the fore.
We blame the kids, and there is good reason why. I mean, there they are, totally independent on you and your ability to feed them and change their nappies, cuddle them and calm them, and whom are totally reliant on you for survival.
This is a massive responsibility, thrust upon those who have around bugger all experience in actually having a child that you have to be responsible for, not just within working hours, but all the bloody time.
In which case, you may be required to curb a multitude of your activities. Going out clubbing till 3.00 a.m. and coming home blotto is not terribly conducive to practical parenting. Just saying.
Do you need to give up on You, though?
You see, when we have kids, and because it’s an entirely new area for many of us, and we’re dealing with a whole range of things, from the practical to the emotional, that we have never, ever experienced before, we tend to turn to those we respect, admire, or whom present themselves as experts in the field of parenting (mostly because they have an awesome marketing and or PR firm behind them who know the right things to say to get people to listen).
They’re full of all kinds of useful advice about what you should and should not do, much of which is totally conflicting, and so you get chatting to other mums, and watch them and how they do stuff.
And they’re all in the same boat as you and reading stuff, and researching stuff and watching what others do.
In order to fit in you start to conform to whatever the latest rant in the paper is, or whatever is in the news, and you find that you’re not allowed to have an opinion that is accepting of something that is not currently in vogue, or that is empathetic towards both ‘sides’ of a particular argument.
Oh, and you must never, ever, ever joke about anything relating to children. Especially your own.
In fact, lose your sense of humour entirely, for it is forbidden to have one, and terribly non-politically correct.
It is … Bad Mothering.
Bits of you, the bits that make you, you fall to the wayside, because what society expects of mothers is the good mother you want to be.
You must do craft activities, you must not sky dive.
You must create food that resembles art, and you must not leave your child with their father or a babysitter so you can go to the gym.
You must do this, and you must not do that … the list goes on.
I think we spend so much time worrying about how we ‘should’ be as a mother, that we forget who we are.
It’s not our kids that take it from us, because kids will adapt to what is ‘normal’ within their own family.
It is society who places expectations upon us when we have kids, and the subsequent desire for us to be accepted into that society.
Me? I really do not enjoy craft activities. I do enjoy skydiving.
I enjoy beaches, and running around like an idiot, and eating delicious food.
I am, by my very nature, irreverent and facetious, bursting with humour and the love of walking, reading, and dancing around in my pyjamas.
I like cooking, but I don’t particularly enjoy preparing anything too complex, with too many ingredients, or anything that takes too long. Unless I am eating it, then it is perfectly okay.
I like climbing rocks, and climbing trees, walking through the bush, and swimming in natural waterways, like rivers and the ocean.
I do cartwheels, although society tells me it is not becoming of mothers, or, indeed, women of ‘my age’ to be doing cartwheels. I do them because I can and they are FUN!
It is these things that I have been able to incorporate into my family life, these things that are special to me, that I love and enjoy doing.
I also love to write, and it is not something I’ve been able to incorporate as a Family activity.
I have, however, made provisions that enable me to do the things I love.
Quite remarkably, whilst all the new mothers around me were losing their identities, I was slowly finding mine. Finding me.
So, I ask you,
Who the hell ARE you? What’s the one thing you enjoy doing, the thing that makes you happiest?
(and if it IS your kids, then that’s perfectly acceptable, too)