My husband and I went to lunch on Friday. We hadn't had a good morning. It started with the alarm not going off and went downhill from there. So we met at Costco and proceeded to spend an hour sitting in the car just talking to each other.
My husband said some things to me that made me think. He pointed out that everything I do is wrapped up in being a mom. There's not much that I do for myself outside of working and occasionally reading a book.
At first, I was mad. He doesn't get it. He doesn't understand how hard it is to juggle everyone's schedule, keep everyone happy and still have any time left over for me to even have interests outside my family.
But then I started thinking about what He said. And I started praying about it. And I realized he was right. Sometime in the past few years, I really have lost my own identity. I love my kids. I love being their mom. I love ministering to other moms. But everything I do is really wrapped up in my mom identity. Somewhere I went from being Lori to being just my kids' mom.
I used to love to bake, scrapbook, do crafts and go out with friends. I can't tell you when the last time I've done any of those things on a regular basis. It takes too much time, effort or money. I used to belong to a book club and take the occasional class. Now, at the end of the day, I really don't want to go anywhere in the evening if we don't have practice.
Losing your own identity in your identity as your kids' mom is dangerous. It's dangerous to your own personal well-being, and it's dangerous to your marriage. When everything you do gets wrapped up in your kids, then your relationships outside your mom role suffer. And when your kids are grown, what's left?
So, how do we maintain our own identity even in the midst of being a mom? How do we keep a healthy focus on our kids without losing key pieces of ourselves? As I'm struggling with this myself, I'm not entirely sure, but here's what I'm doing:
Remember your primary identity is in Christ. We need to remember to identify ourselves first as followers of Jesus. Every other role we hold is secondary to our identity as a child of God. Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Put your marriage before your kids. Children require time and energy, so much so that a lot of times our spouse gets left out in the cold. We have to prioritize our marriages because that's the way God set it up. When the kids are grown, your spouse will still be there. If we lose our relationship with our spouse during our kids' growing up years, then we find ourselves married to a stranger when the kids leave home. Plan date nights, set aside time to talk to each other, laugh together, sit on the couch together. Make time to nurture your marriage.
Pursue some activities that don't include your kids. Find something you love to do and do it without your kids. It may be working on a craft. It may be studying a subject you want to know more about. It may be going out with friends. Whatever it is, do it on a regular basis. Create the time in your schedule to have interests outside of your kids.
I look at these three things and realize that I've not done any of them. Just the thought of trying to find me under all the mommyness is scary. What if I pull those layers back and find there's not much there? But I know that God didn't just intend for me to be only a mom. He intended for me to be His child and a wife to my husband. I can't effectively be either of those things if all of my energy and attention is focused on being a mom.
So, take a close look at your own life today. Are you so wrapped up in being a mom that you've completely lost any other identity? How do you feel about that? How does your spouse feel about that? How can you change that? Take a minute and share with us in the comments how you find time to have interests outside of being a mom. And, remember, being a mom is a calling, but it's not your only calling.