Finding Me In Motherhood

I don’t remember the first time I realized my mother was a woman outside of the label of “my mom.” I do remember a time, when my daughter was about two or three months old, when it hit me that my mother must have gone through this same thing—the sleepless nights, the wondering when it will get easier, the figuring it out as you go. That she was a woman who became a mother. That she has an identity that exists outside of me and my two sisters.

As my children get older, I’m taking this opportunity to make sure I always know who I am, outside of my role as their mother. People often ask me, “How are you doing?” And nine times out of ten I will respond by telling them something about my kids. Or, if someone asks me what I like to do for fun and it takes me 20 minutes to come up with an answer. “Um…Netflix?”


I can’t tell you how many variations of this topic I’ve written about over the years. Check out this one from all the way back in 2009 (!!!):

My family deserves more than this. My kids deserve to have a mom who isn’t so wiped out that she can’t manage a weak smile as they spin around showing off their dance moves. My husband deserves a wife who doesn’t snap at him every time he opens his mouth. But most importantly, I deserve more. Writing used to be my outlet, my way to be someone other than Mommy and Mrs. Jefferson. But now, it’s become an extension of those two personas, since all I do is write about my role as a wife and mother.

I need to train for a marathon. Take some cooking classes. Do martial arts. A pottery course. SOMETHING to find who I am again. What makes ME happy.

I’ve lost myself. But I’ll be damned if I stay lost.

Remaining in touch with the woman I was before I had kids (or rather, discovering the new me that came with the shift in title) is one accomplishment I can’t say I’ve earned yet. For the past eight years, my life has been alllll about my children. And for good reason, because they needed me to be on my A-game and to feel secure in my mommying.

Before, I would always have an excuse for not focusing on myself. But now that they are a little older (they’re almost my height now), it’s time for me to carve out space to be Tara. To have moments in the day where I am painting my toes or trying new makeup or reading a new book. Or, something spicier, like pole dancing.

It’s important that I do that for myself. To check in and make sure I’m not lost under all the obligations and pressure to be everything to everybody else. Because if I get lost, I’m the only one who can save me.



  1. I’m with you 100% on this! I have been a mom for almost seven years and as my daughter gets older I realize more and more that one day she won’t need me and she does now…but I will need me. So, I’m going to find out who I am outside of Mom and I’m excited about ?the journey

  2. Mrs. Prince Bryant says:

    Last year everything seemed to be falling apart in my life. I was unhappy, my husband was unhappy and the kids were slowly becoming disengaged. I saw a counselor and she asked me what was I doing for myself. *crickets* I was doing NOTHING. I was rushing home from work to help with homework, cook and make sure that I spent time with my husband. The counselor gave me a homework assignment. Do one thing for yourself each week. *crickets* Hmm…I’ve never had a manicure so let’s see how that works out. Once a month I go get a manicure but each week I change the color. It’s nothing big and it doesn’t require a lot of time but it’s something for Shannette. I’ll go to the nail salon for 1 1/2. Not because it takes that long but because I need to make sure my nails are dry and I like to browse the magazines (something that I wouldn’t normally do.)
    It’s never too late…my son is 12 and I just figured this out when he was 11. :)