identity crisis after becoming a mom
I think I had an identity crisis for the first year of motherhood. I am not trying to make a joke of my life but really I had completely lost who I am, both mentally and in my career. I have always been VERY career driven. My entire life, I always studied extremely hard, had straight A’s, and knew very early on I wanted to go to law school. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, criminal specifically. I studied my ass off, finished my degree in Criminology, took the LSAT, and applied to law school. Yet here we are, funny how things change. Although I always wanted a career, I also always knew I wanted to be a mom. I have been clucky since forever and grew up with a big family, so it was never a question of having kids.
My mom was a stay at home mom (“SAHM”) for most of my life, and I always saw how hard she worked to feed us, get us to and from our million different extracurriculars but I always wanted to work. I never once thought to myself “I am going to work my ass off, get my degree then become a SAHM”. Even when I was actually pregnant, I was certain I would take the 12 months of maternity leave and return to work like it was no issue. Just hand him off to my sister (who is a nanny) and get back to work.
Unfortunately for me, that all changed the SECOND I held my son for the first time. I looked at my husband and said “I’m sorry, but I am not returning to work…” he looked at me and I could tell in that instant he started to stress. Stress because our financial situation would have to seriously change before I could even consider not working a 9-5 job. His job at the time didn’t pay nearly enough to support us and all of our bills. As the months drew on, my maternity leave coming to an end, I was either looking at 1. seriously honing in on our budgeting or 2. working from home… which became impossible. We were very fortunate that my husband changed his job and can keep us on our feet, although he works 60 hours a week, sometimes more. He stresses alot, misses alot of time with our boys but he makes it work.
This is when I started to realize I had NO clue what I wanted to do anymore… I realized I 100% did not want to become a lawyer (working as a legal assistant for 6 years certainly put that into perspective for me). I thought well maybe I could work as a legal assistant part-time from home until I figured out what next, but alas, that didn’t happen either.
I started panicking because for the first time in my life I didn’t know what I wanted to do career-wise. I would literally just sit there and dwell on the fact I went into serious student loan debt for what seems like nothing now… because I wasn’t working in my field anymore, I actually didn’t want to work in my field anymore and now to top it all off, I had no job that was generating any income for our family. That was daunting. It also spiraled my negative thinking out of control. It put a strain on my ability to be a mom, strain on my ability to be a wife, and strain on my ability to be myself.
Who am I? What am I doing? On and on I would just sit here dwelling on the fact I wasn’t working and dwelling on the fact I didn’t know what kind of work I would or could even do. “At home” jobs are far few in between right now, and I was very certain I wanted nothing to do with direct sales or telemarketing. I had attempted direct sales previously and it got me nowhere. I also didn’t want to sit on the phone all day pressuring people to buy stuff they didn’t need. It’s just not who I am.
I don’t think my identity crisis has anything to do with the fact I am a SAHM, I think it is more geared towards the fact I have ALWAYS known where my life should be heading and now I just don’t. It has been an extremely difficult pill to swallow. I am super type A, and also pretty controlling so for me not having a plan has really thrown me for a loop.
To be honest, by the time I was 9 months pregnant I knew in my heart I was over my work but couldn’t admit it. It was doing absolutely nothing for me. I was getting shit on by lawyers on a daily, getting absolute shit pay, and doing the exact same thing over and over again every single day. It brought no happiness and no joy to my life anymore… it was a paycheque. That’s it. I waited until 10 months into my maternity leave (just in case I needed to return) then I just quit, and I haven’t looked back since.
Being a SAHM is bloody hard. I work my ass off, with little to no sleep, little to no energy, and absolutely zero financial pay… but I love it. I can 100% say that being a SAHM is by far more challenging than my office job was on so many levels. I love being at home with my guys. I love seeing them learn and smile, and curiosity shine through in everything they do. With my first born, I very quickly realized in no way was I going to work for 8 hours a day and maybe see him for 45 minutes before bed. There was no way I would let anyone else parent my children, and teach them how to become a person. No one will parent like me, no one will teach our sons like me. I think it is extremely important to guide a child on how to be a person, to dream and to grow but also to imagine. The world scares me… kids are addicted to technology and no longer exploring outside, creativity or their imagination. I am determined to give my sons the opportunity to be kids like I was growing up… inventing games and using their imaginations to the fullest.
I am still very much in an identity crisis, but I think I am slowly, VERY slowly coming to realize that my greater purpose in life is to guide my children. I didn’t lose myself… I am merely just evolving and adapting to my current chaos and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do have a job, it’s just a different type of job than I imagined. I need to realize I will not be the same person as I was at 19 because so much has happened in the last 10 years that I literally cannot be that person anymore, and that’s ok. I just need to accept it and move on.
Do any of you have or have had this identity crisis when you became a mom? How did you cope?