Why I Never Want to Let the Title of “Mom” Define Me

being a mom doesn't define me

I remember the first time our eight-year-old realized I had a name other than “Mama.” And his dad had a name other than “Dadda.” We were sitting at the dinner table and my parents were visiting. Of course, they do not call us “Mama” and “Dadda.”

It was as though a light bulb went off in his growing brain. The fact that we were people before we became parents was new territory to be explored. Questions came pouring faster than he could formulate words.

I smiled, but made sure he knew that to him, my name would always be “Mama.” Or “Mom.” Or some variation of it. But never “Abby.”

I wear the title proudly like a badge because motherhood changes us, doesn’t it? And yet at the same time, I don’t ever want to let it define me.

There are times when I have to remind myself that my identity exists outside of the roles of wife, mother and friend. These different roles shape me and mold me, but they don’t determine who I am.

Some of you reading this might be puzzled so let me explain. My search to discover who I was at a core level began after I became a mom. I remember those first days when I couldn’t get my newborn to stop crying, and I would cry right along with him.

Everything about my supposed birth plan had failed. Instead of forgoing the epidural, excruciating back labor made me decide to take one in the early stages. Instead of delivering naturally, I had an emergency c-section.

I clung to breastfeeding like a lifeline, but when the nurse thought I had a pulmonary embolism a few days after leaving the hospital, I almost had to give it up too.

In the days after family left and my new baby and I were alone, I tried to cling to something stable. I had always clung to labels, but they were eluding me.

Student, worker, daughter, wife, and now mom.

being a mom

I felt like I was failing miserably at the last two, which were both new to me. And because I felt unsuccessful in my roles, I didn’t think my life was worth anything.

To be quite honest, there were times when I thought my new child and husband would be better off without me.

Somewhere in my darkness I sent up a simple prayer: “Help.” And because God doesn’t care about the eloquence of our words but the heart behind them, I got my answer. Not in one lightning bolt of truth but in a slow, constant rhythm.

Although I couldn’t see them at the time, his answers were like fingerprints on the story of my life.

Over time, He showed me I would never know who I was until I learned who He was. And the more I learned about Him, his love and unchanging character, the more I discovered my own unique identity.

I learned these different hats I wore- mom, wife, friend, employee- were meant to enhance the person I already was, but never define me.

Because if you hang your identity on a finite role, you will never discover who you are as an eternal being.

He created each one of us to leave an eternal mark. And while our families are a huge part of that, they are only one part. It is up to us to discover the distinct gifts he gave each of us, every one given to reflect his glory.

Do I love being a mom? Yes. Over time, I’ve grown to love it more and more.

But when my children are grown and it’s just me and my hubby, I will still be me. And if it takes me a lifetime to discover who that person is, it will be worth it.

 

Linking up with these communities: #ThoughtProvokingThursday

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14 thoughts on “Why I Never Want to Let the Title of “Mom” Define Me

  1. I always thought it was so hard to come up with those little ‘descriptions’ of myself for Twitter, Pinterest, etc. I see the words “wife, mother, teacher…” often on social media and wonder, why do we need to define ourselves to the world? The closer we draw to God, the more we learn about who we are. Amen! You’ve given me lots to think about today, Abby!

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    • Yes, I think about those descriptions too and feel like I need to change some of mine. 😉 We’re always growing and changing aren’t we? Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, friend.

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  2. I love this Abby! So appropriate for me since we put Andres on a plane this morning. I know in the not too distant future Camilla will be gone to. I’m so glad to took time to discover more about myself and God than me being a mom and Him equipping me for that. I still have a long way to grow, and it’s still challenging to think of myself primarily as a mom, but He’s got so much more for us!

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    • I’ve been thinking about you today, Betsy. I know that’s a hard transition but I’m confident that you’ve equipped your kids to go out and make marks in this world for his glory. Blessings and hugs.

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  3. Beautiful and heartfelt post Abby. I celebrate my mother’s birthday today and I am thankful for her investment in God which then trickled down to me. She has always been a beacon of hope for me. Encouraging, loving, and caring for me over the years. I felt her moments of frustration and being overwhelmed but she has always turned to God. We always knew when her bathroom door was locked early in the AM it was her “quiet time” and not to disturb. I did not understand at the time but I’m sure those moments with the Savior gave her the strength and confidence to persevere. You are doing this as well as you utilize your gifts for Christ’s glory. May you be strengthened and encouraged as you seek Him. Have a wonderful weekend and blessings to both you and your family!

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  4. Such a beautiful truth here, Abby. God is showing me, too, that I will never learn who I really am until I learn more deeply who He is. A wife, mom, grandma, sister, and friend are roles I’m given, but they don’t define me. Who I am in Christ Jesus is what defines me. May we be led ever deeper into this truth. Blessings and hugs to you!

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  5. So true. “Because if you hang your identity on a finite role, you will never discover who you are as an eternal being.” We can enjoy our roles and give God the glory in them, but not let them define us. Great post.

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  6. “I learned these different hats I wore- mom, wife, friend, employee- were meant to enhance the person I already was, but never define me.”

    Wow, needed to hear that. I get very hung up on titles, so when one needs to change or be hung up, even for a season, well, let’s just say it’s not pretty. Thanks for this; its beautiful & needed.

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  7. Truth, Abby. We can get caught up in so many singular roles, then feel wiped out when we don’t meet our own expectations. It’s a beautiful thing to embrace who God has made us to be and not stick a label on it. Love this, friend.

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  8. It’s hard to crawl out from under those titles sometimes…I LOVE being a mom but you are right that my identity has to be rooted deep down in Christ b/c there are days when I fail miserably at mothering and even days I’ve wanted to turn in my mom card altogether! 🙂

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