Why You're Never 'Just a Mum'.by Claire Chircop
Feeling like you’re just a mum is something that seems to hit all of us at some point on our motherhood journey. The feeling has a negative impact, resulting in a mass amount of mum guilt, self-doubt and feeling as though you’ve lost yourself. I actually hate the term ‘just a mum’, I think it’s one that should be banned & never at all said again but unfortunately, I can’t really get around it for this article.
Today I’m going to be delving into the emotions that come with feeling like you’re just a mum, how they arise and why we feel so negatively about them. And primarily I’m going to be telling you why you’re never just a mum! You were someone before you became their mum, you’re still someone now.
Why do you feel like you’re just a mum?
- Loss of identity.
It sounds dramatic, but I felt like I had to mourn my pre-baby self as the loss of my identity was so impactful & something I didn't really expect. As mums, we fall into a monotonous routine and our lives become dictated by our children. We lose our identities and unfortunately no longer feel like ourselves. Because of this we easily get stuck in a rut & feel like we’re just mums.
- You slow down, but become busier.
A day in the life of a new mum is a repetitive one. Our babies run like clockwork in the sense that they need feeding every three hours, with naps in between and copious amounts of changing as and when. Everything feels so regimented. We slow down because we’re doing the same tasks, but we become busier because it’s an around the clock job.
- You become restricted.
As scary as it sounds you can no longer live your life the way you used to pre-motherhood. Everything we do feels somewhat restricted by our children, whether it’s revolving our day around their nap time or now having to leave the house with five different bags. Unfortunately, as much as we try, we can’t be the pre-mum people we used to be.
- You take second place.
You’re no longer a priority. I’m sorry, but it’s true (you knew that anyway though, right?). We take second place to our babies as they become our priorities leaving us behind, feeling like we’re just a mum. It needs to happen; Our babies need to be our priorities, but there’s no doubting that us taking second place definitely affects the way we view ourselves.
- You’re no longer working
Whether you’re a career girl or not, working becomes a huge part of our lives. Heck, sometimes we’re at work more than we are at home, so when we’re not working it sadly feels as though we don’t quite have that purpose we once used to.
How you can feel like more than just a mum.
- Connect with old friends.
I bet you’re not as social as you once were, right? I’m absolutely the same! My child has become my priority, which of course my friends understand, but I think it’s important to not lose connections. A colleague of mine suggested setting a reminder on my phone every Sunday evening to send out a couple of Whatsapp messages to my friends, just to check in and see how their week has been. It’s beneficial for all parties, both yourselves and your friends. Set yourself that reminder! You won’t regret it.
- Start a new hobby.
I already know what you’re thinking. You’re a busy mum, how on Earth are you going to find the time to start a new hobby. I’m not saying you have to start painting the Mona Lisa, what I’m suggesting is taking ten minutes out of your day to read a couple of pages from your book, get stuck into a crossword puzzle. Paint the Mona Lisa if you like? Just take a few moments to do something that’s purely for you.
- Stop the comparison game.
One of the reasons for feeling like we’re just a mum, is that our brains are constantly in parent mode. We see our child's development and compare it to other children, even though we know it’s the worst thing in the world. Stopping the comparison game can be so, so difficult, but once you’ve achieved it, it’s so beneficial.
- Take time out.
You’re a mum 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week, so having time away from your child to yourself doesn’t make you any less of a parent. You shouldn’t feel guilty about filling your cup back up. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so take care of yourself, take some time out for yourself & give mum guilt the middle finger. You might even parent better because of it.
- Ask for help
Asking for help is something I still struggle so much with now, even two years since having my little girl. If you have the privilege of having a good support network around you, utilise them! Yes our children are ours, but they’re also somebody’s grandchild, niece, nephew or godchild. I bet your support network will enjoy having your child for an hour just as much as you’d enjoy the break. And breaks are good! We shouldn't feel guilty about having them.
Who are you outside of being a mum?
There is so much more to us than being mums. I recently said on my Instagram that being a mum was one of the least interesting things about me & I proceeded to list ten random facts about myself.
So this is my task to you… Who are you outside of motherhood? Can you list ten random facts about yourself that don’t involve parenting or your children?
Here are ten prompts to get you thinking...
1. Are you a wife? How long have you been with your partner?
2. Are you passionate about supporting small businesses?
3. Are you a best friend to somebody?
4. Are you a career-driven gal?
5. Do you like outdoor adventuring?
6. Are you a confidant to others? Or perhaps a shoulder to cry on?
7. Is there a certain book you could read over and over again?
8. Do you play any musical instruments?
9. Are you a whizz in the kitchen?
10. Are you a chocoholic?
If this article has helped you at all in any way, even if it’s just got you thinking about yourself a little differently I’d love to hear from you. Slide into my DM’s at @clairemacblog & tell me why you’re not just a mum.