In the realm of self-discovery, we all run into the big question. No, not vanilla or chocolate chip! Something a little more complex…
Who Am I?
Please don’t think you’re alone, because everyone struggles with this fundamental question. I see it day in and day out in my coaching practice as my clients sit in our sessions and desperately try to figure out who they really are.
And because I work with moms of A-Typical children, the “Who Am I?” question is particularly loaded. At first glace, the answer seems simple: I’m a mother, a caretaker and an advocate. At times I’m a teacher, a disciplinarian, a therapist, a behavioral specialist, and a speech and occupational expert. And the list goes on and on.
Are you sacrificing who you are for your A-Typical child?
I get it – we moms wear many hats! We fulfill multiple roles, and because we do so with such a fierce love, loyalty and devotion, we often end up losing ourselves in the process. The truth is motherhood is so entwined with our identity that we think of who we are at the core in terms of these roles.
But think about it: mother, caretaker, advocate, and therapist – these are roles, not who you are. I ask you: who were you before you became a mother? Did you not exist then? Were you born the moment your child came into this world? I think not. Who is the person you always were and always will be, outside of your current experience?
By examining your identity from this perspective you will get back in touch with who you are beyond motherhood. And when you do, you’ll probably realize that it’s been a long while since you spent quality time with the woman you used to be. You may have even forgotten her, or lost her in the overwhelming, all-encompassing role of mom.
I am bold enough to proclaim that you will never fulfill your life’s purpose until you get to know YOU again. Everyone’s true purpose in life is to extend love to the people in their world. This includes the snippy woman at Olive Garden who advised you that your child just needs a good “whippin”. It includes the kids on the playground who call your beautiful, perfect child names we will not repeat here. And it includes the one person we all forget to love: ourselves.
Total self-love means getting to know yourself, spending time in self-discovery and doing things that nurture and support YOU. It means not hiding behind a mask or veil, or believing you need to be funnier, smarter or more or less anything. Complete self-love means treating yourself with the same reverence and respect you use when you deal with others. It means no more perpetual self-sacrifice and no more negative and debilitating internal smack talk. Total self-love means saying YES to putting yourself back on the agenda, living a varied and balanced life, demanding the respect you are due, and weighing your needs equally with the other members of the family.
I’ve shared a lot of opinion in this article, but please don’t stone me for it. Pick and choose what floats your boat, but if there’s one thing I’m completely certain of it’s this: Vanilla wins hands down!