On your OWN identity… October 29, 2018 by Amy YoungWhat identity? I’m a mom! When I got married all I wanted was to have babies and stay home with them. My husband made decent money and it seemed like the safe thing to do. It’s what my mom had done and what my Granny and Great-Granny had done. My Granny West had even told me before she passed to be sure to be the mom who gave all my attention to my family. It was my calling. My two boys were 5 months old and 3 when we moved to Virginia onboard the military base. I was doing all the things I needed to make a house a home and pretend like I had my life together. I made sure everyone was clean, fed, diapered, napped, played with, exercised, payed attention to and loved. I poured into my little family like it was my life’s purpose. And it was. I was happy but I was always exhausted and worn down. I said no to any and all invitations to socialize because I didn’t want to ask anyone to watch my boys. Besides, I was a perfectionist mother who needed things done my way. I was angry a lot because I felt like I could not catch a break. My husband was always gone with work and I had no support system due to family not being in the same state and I was going bananas trying to catch my breath. “It’s the season” people would say. “Enjoy every minute as it goes by fast” they would say. One particularly nice day I took my boys outside and ran into the attractive athletic neighbor. Same age as me but no kids and seemed to have a lot of time to do things like cook and run and attend bunko in the neighborhood. She invited me to join her on a run and I told her I couldn’t. She continued to ask me to join her on runs when before I could say my routine “no thank you” she asked me a question. “Amy, what do you do for yourself?” And I was silent. I then replied “Well I’m a mom, I don’t get to do for me.” And she said “Well that’s where you’re wrong!” And she took off on her run. And I realized right then that I didn’t have an identity besides MOM. Before I became a mom I had many interests and was super social. I was a makeup artist, singer and someone who was interested in philanthropy with my sorority and a person who loved to travel. I was into crafting and scrapbooking. I was someone who didn’t just cater to everyone else. Where would I even begin to find who I am now? This took a while to work through but what I learned was that it’s ok to make time for yourself. I had always wanted to run like the neighbor. To focus on my health and fitness. But I was too scared to start working on me. Things I worried about were- – Is that selfish? – How will I find time? – What if I fail? – What if I miss something with the boys? – What about our tight schedule? All excuses of course. Fast forward and I realized that- – my boys will be ok – It’s ok to give up control – It’s not selfish to take care of yourself – It’s necessary to put yourself first – It teaches your boys that mom has a life too – It’s modeling self care – No one will die because I want to do something for me So I started making time to run. Saying yes to invitations. Making plans around my family plans. Asking for help. I started running races which turned into me saying “I’m a runner.” Which turned into “I’m a fitness instructor” which turned into “I’m my own boss of a health and wellness company.” I had found my identity. And while my boys are 10 and 12 now and I am not diapering and lacking sleep and running nap schedules anymore, I am a taxi for these these boys activities, running a homework and chore schedule and parenting still. I now get up before the sun and I workout, touch my business and focus on me. I’m the mom who makes time to focus on the parts of me that make me happy. It’s still not easy and I don’t have life figured out but I have realized that having balance between being a Mom and being Amy are critical. One day these boys will be grown and off living their life and I will still be Amy.