Not “Just” a Mom

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The other day I was asked if I worked outside of the home. My answer was, “No I am just a stay at home mom.” The lady responded wisely: “Don’t say “just.” It is not “just;” it is a lot.” That was an encouragement to me. Often times, we think of ourselves much lower than we should. We talk down to ourselves. We make ourselves have a low self-esteem because we think the tasks we do aren’t important. Our identity becomes so closely connected to our children and being a parent. In case you need to hear this:

You ARE important and valued. You are not just a mom. You are much more than that.

not just a mom

If you struggle with your identity like I do, I suggest you ask yourself:

  • What did I like to do before I had kids? – Go do that.
  • What gave me joy before I had kids? – Go do that.
  • What gives me the greatest joy now? – Enjoy that thing now.
  • Who did I hang out with before I had kids?  – Hang out with them.
  • What are my roles outside of being a mom? – Put emphasis on ALL of your roles.
  • Do I have a SMART goal? – If not, make one.

I am a work in progress. Sometimes, I am still not 100% sure who I am outside of being a mom. I have tough days; I am not perfect. I struggle to see my other roles. Every day, we are so caught up in our mom duties. We clean, feed, play, change diapers, prepare food/snacks, comfort our babies, and more. But there is more to it than that. You are the world to your child. You mean a lot. You are not “just” a mom.

I suggest you do the following things to be more comfortable with your identity, not just as a mom, but as a person with the many roles and responsibilities that you have.

  1. Talk to someone about yourself.

    It is good to have a close friend or family member to talk about yourself with. It is great when you can find someone who you can share your deepest struggles and feelings with. Even if they are just listening, it helps to just put it out there and get it off your mind.

  2. Have varied relationships and a strong support network.

    It really helped me to have a strong support network. If I struggle, there is always someone to text, call, or meet with to help me out. It helps to have a balance between friends who are single, friends who are married without kids, and friends who are married with kids. Don’t neglect the friends you had before you had kids. Nourish every relationship, even if those people are in a different stage of life than you. I have had some people that were in a completely different stage of life, give me the best advice!

    not just a mom
    Having a strong support network is very imporant
  3. Find professional help

    It is SO important to find a professional, like a therapist, to talk to about your identity and who you are as a person. For me, this has helped tremendously. We dug through my past to see where my low self-esteem comes from. We talked and talked and talked, and most of the time, even the talking was enough to make me feel better. But my therapist suggested that self-care is key, so you take care of you as a person.

  4. Self-care

    Caring for ourselves as moms is more important than you might think. Some self-care activities include (but are not limited to): working-out, taking a shower or bath, making art (like coloring, painting, scrapbooking), reading, writing, singing, doing your hair, makeup, or nails, having your favorite drink, or going outside for some fresh air. Most importantly, do something you enjoy. Do something that treats you, as a person.

  5. Try something new

    It is important to nourish yourself as a person, not just as a mom. What do you like to do? What have you always been wanting to try that you have never tried before? DO IT!
    For me personally, I like to try new fitness classes. So for example, I recently tried a cardio kickboxing class, and I loved it! It was so refreshing. It gave me a good break from being a mom, and a good outlet (think about all those kicks and punches)!

not just a mom
Trying out new exercise classes like this SUP yoga class

All of these things help me feel valued for who I am, as a person, not just as a mom. I am still working on getting to where I don’t feel like “just” a mom, but I hope these tips are helpful to you, and feel free to share any of your own suggestions on here. In the meantime, you should know that you are deeply loved, deeply valued and very important.

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Originally from the Netherlands, Vivian moved to Memphis in 2011. She received a full athletic scholarship to combine her studies with athletics, throwing shot put, discus, and hammer for the University of Memphis. Vivian graduated with a Bachelor’s in Sport & Leisure Management in 2014 and a Master’s in Communication in 2016. After graduating, she started working in education and became a Physical Education Teacher in 2017. She taught at a private school for 3 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl, Nora (September 2019). Vivian met her husband Travis at the University of Memphis, hit it off in Europe, and married on a leap year (February 29, 2016). Together they own a quadplex in the Binghampton community. Vivian loves traveling and exploring new places with her husband and child. She enjoys hanging out with her fellow international friends, trying new exercise classes, and being creative by coloring, painting, or writing.

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