one’s conception of oneself or of one’s role
the way you think about yourself and your abilities or appearance
One of the key things I’ve discovered since my Son went off to college is the fact that my self-image is very much tied to being a Mom.
Not that there’s anything wrong with this. Being a parent is at the same time one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs anyone can take on.
As a parent you’re responsible for molding a little human. For me I prayed every day I was making the right decisions in guiding my Son on the right path to become a competent and compassionate human being, capable of standing on his own two feet.
I put my heart and soul into being a Mom, working tirelessly day and night never looking for anything more than a hug or an “I love you.”
My life revolved around my Son’s needs. I took a back seat.
Who I was before having my Son became a distant image in the rear view mirror of my life.
BUT, what happens to me when my position as Mom is downsized because my Son went off to college?
It’s back to being about me, but who am I outside of being a Mom?
How do I even begin to see myself as something more than my Son’s Mom?
How do I rewire my brain?
Becoming a Mom was a dream I had all but given up on, so when I became one at 38, nothing else in the world mattered.
By that point in my life, I had done a lot of self-discovery, so “Mom” became just one more facet of me. A facet I was thrilled to explore. And one that quickly took over and became the primary facet, which I was content with.
I absolutely love being a Mom, but I see now more than ever, I’ve also attached my purpose and self-worth to this one role.
AND, with my Son off learning to make his own mark on the world, I’m feeling a bit lost. I feel as though I’ve lost my purpose. I’m not quite sure who I am any more. Am I still truly valued?
I realize my Son does still need me and I retain the title of “Mom” but it’s only part-time, so I have to figure out just “who” I really am beyond being a Mom.
The “me” before becoming a Mom has faded away over the years, and now that I’m older, I’m not sure that “me” is still valid.
I have to find the new “My Kid is in College Woman.”
And, I have to find a way to blend both the “Part-Time Mom” and the “My Kid is in College Woman” into one complete “me.”
I figured once my nest was empty the rediscovery process would just come naturally, but I’ve found over the course of my Son’s Freshman year this has not been the case.
After the first few months I thought I had reached a point where I was past the lost feeling and would be able to jump that hurdle, but last month kicked me in the butt. I lost all momentum and feel like I’m back at square one.
Just when I start to allow myself to tap into the “who” I am beyond being a Mom, my Son is either home on break, or has an issue at school that requires my attention.
In a few weeks my Son’s Freshman year of college will be completed and he’ll be home for the Summer.
What happens then?
Do I put my whole rediscovery journey on hold?
That would certainly be the easy route, the avoiding the growth route. BUT it would also be a disservice to both my Son and I.
My Son needs to see a Mom who is a healthy, happy and vital woman. He needs to see me as more than just Mom. This way he knows Mom will be fine when the day comes for him to officially go off to start a life of his own.
AND, I know for my own wellbeing; emotionally, mentally and physically; I need to push myself to grow beyond seeing myself as just a Mom.
They say the first step to change is acknowledging you need to change. So, at least I’ve gotten to that point during my Son’s first year of college.
I know I have a long way to go, but once I peel back the first layer of soul searching the real adventure will begin.
In so doing I’m quite sure I will find a new direction/purpose and finally begin to feel whole again.
Let’s just hope I can stand my ground once my Son is back in the nest for the Summer. In all honesty that will probably be my biggest test.
I’ll keep you posted.
© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Woman, 2019. All rights reserved.
Goddess Masthead © Pamela Danko-Stout and Waking the Woman, 2019. All rights reserved.
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