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Motherhood the mental battle and identity crisis for a stay at home mom

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I can remember the first time I had to fill out a form and write down the words “Homemaker” under the occupation section.

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I wrote the words and felt a sense of confusion. There was this mental battle going on in my head. It was saying no, you are an educated, career-driven professional!

It was the strangest feeling. I mean, I chose to leave my career to stay home with my kids. I was happy then and still was when I made the decision and so overwhelmed with gratitude.

Then I got to the next part, and it said salary. Yet again, more confusing feelings and thoughts in my head.


As I skipped the entire rest of the section, I signed the form and turned it in.

I had no idea what the heck I was feeling, but it was for sure real.

Over the course of the next year, I would find myself yet again feeling those feelings. Consumed with nursing a new baby and taking care of a pre-teen, life was busy. That first year as a SAHM flew by.

I was enjoying being home and consumed with my homemaking.

Then one day, while visiting family out of state. My cousin, through marriage, asked me how I was adjusting to becoming a stay-at-home mom. I said I loved it, and life was good, but sometimes I have this struggle.

I couldn’t explain to her what the struggle was, and as I fumbled with my words, she said: ” it’s an identity crisis.”

The words stopped me in my tracks. As I sat in deep thought for a second, I said to myself, “that’s exactly it.”

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What is an identity crisis?

The dictionary defines an identity crisis as

a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.

I would be lying to you if I didn’t admit I struggled with losing the career title. Not the career its self. The title and the pay. I had worked hard to climb that corporate ladder.

But let me back up. My dreams were to be a career woman were from a very young age. I worked from the time I was able to at 15. I was not a girl who grew up with a dream of getting married to be a stay-at-home mom.

Needless to say, I never in a million years thought I would be a single mom either.🤷‍♀️

My dream was two career people with children and stable life. At least that was my dream when I was young by definition in my head of a successful woman.

But I soon realized I was living my dreams off of the expectations of society’s perception. What is “deemed” as successful.

So often, when we learn about people for the first time, our society creates this imaginary mind map. There are some deciding factors to determine where you fall in this mind map/ role in society. It depends on your job, your title, and their guess in salary. Sometimes success is based on your possessions or social status.

The weight of each of these categories becomes the sum of a part of your identity.

Now when you compare that to a stay-at-home mom. People go through the checklist again. She has no job, which means no title, she has no salary, she has no career/job title, she pays no taxes the list goes on.

So for some, they cannot classify stay-at-home moms and disqualify them as playing a valid role in society.

This very thought process happens for the stay-at-home mom as well. Her career defines her as a woman and professional. She is deemed valued.

Validating the feelings of career mom who decides to stay home

First off, I am not on either side of the war of who is a better mom {working mom vs. stay-at-home mom}. As a mom, my core belief is that you do what is best for your family, life, morals, goals, and beliefs.

I AM in the line of defense of the war of ending the mom-shaming.

Becoming a stay-at-home mom and going through the mental and emotional changes is a real thing.

I wish someone would have told me there is a brief grief period between the excitement and overjoyed feelings of staying home.

The truth is there is!

You are redefining your identity “notice I didn’t say losing.” Because I am gonna share with you how not to feel like that, I don’t believe there is a loss, only a shift in mindset.

When you choose to become a mom, that mindset shift is something that comes along with it.

I have said before in an Instagram post. Your identity is not what your job title was or the number of possessions you own.

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The best job in the world doesn’t have performance evaluations. The best job in the world doesn’t have a six-figure income. The best job in the world doesn’t have designated PTO time. 👮🏼‍♀️👷🏽‍♀️👩🏽‍⚕️👩🏽‍🍳👩🏽‍💻🧑🏽‍💼 The happiest job isn’t the one sitting at the board meeting with the highest position/title. The happiest job in the world isn’t the one that comes with performance bonuses or on the job perks. 👩🏻‍💼👩🏽‍🔧👩🏽‍🔬👩🏼‍🎨🧑🏼‍🚒👩🏽‍✈️👩🏽‍⚖️ All those things fade, retirement comes, money comes and go. One day you will leave the company and who you once were will be no more. People will replace you. You will grow tire of the workplace drama, deadlines, and expectations. 🦸🏼‍♀️🤰🏽🤱🏻👩‍👦👩‍👧‍👦👩‍👦‍👦👩‍👧‍👧 They only job in the world that can’t replace you is motherhood. The only job in the world that has no equivalent salary is being a mom. The only job in the world with the best benefits on earth is motherhood. The only job in the world that can’t be measured is being a MOM. #motherhoodthebestjobintheworld #momlife💕 #mombloginfluence #momblogs #momlifebestlife #chicagomomblog #bloggermoms

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That was a lesson I had to come to Jesus with. As a Christ-follower first, your identity is found in him. Nothing in life is permanent, so that title and that job will end. But being a mother will never change.

Related: I wish I knew about the Seasons as a Mother

Yet…like anything else in life, when a change happens, there is an adjustment period. But to confirm those career-driven feelings, I needed to speak the truth.

So what is the truth…

Changing the mindset of the woman you once were

The truth is, mama, that many of the fears we face as a woman who leaves her career are that we won’t be able to return to it. That we are wasting our education, that we somehow withdrew ourselves out of the game.

But I am here to tell you, mama, that your mindset needs to see all that you are gaining and not worry about the future. If you want to get your career back, you can. More companies recognize the need to change their hire practices—more offer returnships for parents who decided to leave and then reenter.

Let me be real here. Why do you assume that because you are home now, you can’t still be working or learning and improving who you are? In fact, I call this the redefine. It would help if you were open to all new possibilities.

You will be busy with the kids and the household. But there are many flexible job options if that is what you are looking for. There are online courses you can take. There are community opportunities you can join.

Related: 6 Ways to Stay Motivated As a stay at home mom

And no it won’t be easy.

If you think you are going to be locked up all day with the kids and don’t start to get out and do stuff. Well then, yes, you will see the years slip by.

Steps to help with an identity crisis as a stay at home mom

  1. Journal your feelings to help you process them
  2. Revaluate your goals. What you once thought was important or things you wanted more than likely have changed as a mom.
  3. Create a (flexible plan) deciding to stay home does not mean you can’t have personal goals. You will have to though alone those goals with the new reality of your life. And that is ok.
  4. Find new friends. If you read my blog, you will often hear me say one of the most important things a mom needs to do is find her mom’s village. Read this post on ideas on how to start.
  5. Communicate your goals with your spouse. One mistake many women make. They feel as though they no longer have a say in anything or shouldn’t have desires. No, no, mama, there is a quote that goes like this “the woman you were before kids still matter; she matters.
  6. Give yourself grace – you can’t be as hard on yourself like you were as a working woman. Those little people we create demand a lot of attention, and so your focus will be split. Not an even split either.

So there you have it, mama. Becoming a stay-at-home mom comes with its challenges. But nothing you can’t overcome. Being a stay-at-home mom does not mean you don’t matter. Being a stay-at-home mom does not mean you can’t get your career back or redefine yourself into a new profession.

Embrace the new you, make a plan, give yourself grace; you are not alone. We all go through it, but you don’t have to stay stuck there.

Go through the grief process. Like a butterfly who was once a caterpillar, reemerge into the awesome bad mama Jama you once were!