Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Defines You?

This is a personal journey that I have been on...unknowingly, for almost my whole life.  I have struggled with this for a long time, the "Who am I"...not just - mom, wife, support worker, etc...but me, Ruth...

Who am I?

I know that I can't be the only woman out there who reaches this point.  There are all kinds of jokes about midlife crises, and while I am not saying that I am having one (don't worry, not going to do anything stupid here, or blow a lot of money on some stupid purchase) I am realizing that I have been alive for 35 years and I really don't know who I am.

It all sounds so cliche, "I need to find myself" and yet, I don't feel like I am lost, or that I need to find myself...I just need some clarification.

This post is a very personal post.  Do with it what you will.  I have decided that no matter what response I get, I really don't care.  This is for me, I need to have an outlet and this is how I am choosing to work it out this way...

I also want to say that I, in no way, regret the place that I am at in my life.  I love the life I have.  I love my husband, my kids, my job.  I feel comfortable where I am and I am glad that this is the route my life took.

What I want to talk about is how, after 35 years, 16 of them married with kids, do I remember who I am.  When I thought about this and talked with my bff, I realized that I have really never known who I am.  I have always been a follower of many people.

Whomever was in my circle at the time, is who I became.  It was like being a chameleon.  Is it the right way to behave? No...but it got me through my childhood and teen years.  Whether I want to admit it or not, it has played a huge role in who I have become. 

I reminisce a lot.  I love to listen to the music I listened to as a teen, which varied from Bon Jovi (Livin' On A Prayer:-), to Pearl Jam (Alive...) to SNAP (Rhythm is a Dancer), The Eagles (Hotel California) and The Ramones (I Wanna Be Sedated) and Sex Pistols (Anarchy in the UK).  And then there was my Christian music which consisted of One Bad Pig and Petra.

See, I could go on and on...I changed what I liked and who I was whenever my circle of friends changed.  I was a follower.  And that was ok then.  Like I said, it got me through.  I never really had much self-esteem and I didn't really like myself.

I made choices that I didn't like and I made mistakes.  None of them were ever that bad, and I did learn my lesson from them. 
Fast Forward:  I am married, for 16 years.  I have 6 kids, 1 in Heaven.  I have a job.  We have a house, 2 vehicles and a dog.  We have it all.  We have amazing friends who are more like family, we have family that we still like...You could say that we have it all!!  And as I said, I am thankful for where I am.

I am now 35, I am not having any more kids.  I am struggling with who I am and I am starting to think it is important for me to have some ME time.  You know, where I do things for myself.  

This time doesn't replace my family time, my time with my husband, or my job.  It is extra.  It is for me to be who I am and to become more confident in who I am. 


When I take time for myself, I feel guilty.  Like I shouldn't be having fun without my kids or my husband.  Like if I have extra time I should be doing something cooking or cleaning (which I hate to do). 

When my husband and I went to Cuba we had a blast.  We got to know each other again and we enjoyed the kidless time...we plan to do this every year from now on, we have realized how important it is for us to do that and to connect without kids around.

We took a family vacation last year and it is the first one that was really enjoyable.  We saw things and went places that the kids talk about to this day.  We realized that we need to do this more often, so are planning our next family vacation this year (and even the next one after this year) is important for us to enjoy this time with our kids while we can.  Soon they will be grown and gone and will have families of their own...time flies!!

And while all of this was very satisfying and things that we will do again and again and again...I need to do something for me.  Not just going out for apps, or going to a chick flick with the ladies...(which is all fun).  But somewhere where I don't have to be "MOMMY" (that is my kid screaming;-) or have to worry about the cleaning or cooking (which I have to credit my husband and kids for doing alot of...), where I don't have to remember medication or be on the lookout for seizures.

But to have time to hang out with ladies, with girlfriends.  To build that bond and that relationship.  To be who I am and to define myself as a person who can be free of "titles"...

Does any of this make sense?  Am I just going through a mid-life crisis?  Am I crazy!? 

Do any other ladies feel like they have lost their identity?  What are some realistic ways that you have to deal with hit it head on and bring yourself to a place where you are confident in who you are that it makes you a BETTER MOM and WIFE? 

What is the secret that I haven't found yet???


  1. I think all moms go through that Ruth- I know I do!

  2. I'm right there with ya. I think asking the questions and having self awareness is SO important. There's really never a time when we just "coast" in life. We're always growing, thinking, changing, pondering. I don't have any slick answers for your questions...cause as I said, I'm there too! But...I KNOW you're not alone xoxoxo

  3. Ruth,, totally 100% normal, and I only have 1 kid... so, you are going through what I am going through x6! WOW!

    Somedays I wonder, what the heck am I doing? How did i get here?!?

    so yes, totally normal, and don't forget to take time to yourself - LOTS of time if you need it. You will be a better wife and mother if you are feeling good about yourself too :)

  4. Great post and 100% true. I think about this often too. In fact, when faced with the question - besides motherhood, wife etc - what is your greatest accomplishment....
    I am stumped - I have no idea.
    Who am I?
    Besides motherhood, what have I done?
    Really - I am at a loss of anything...and just like you, this bothers me.
    Thing is, when I take time away from the kids and family, I find I do what I do every other day - worry about them.
    I don't know what to tell you, sorry.

    BUT, when we all get together for Blissdom, without kids, home, family etc...well, it's a great time to figure it out. Last year I was so inspired, finding my own happiness, purpose - Bliss. Somewhere in this last year I lost it...but now that I know how important it is, I'm ready for the inspiration again.

    Anyway, great post - sending HUGS!!!


  5. Ruth, I really resonate with what you said about feeling guilty about finding 'me' time. I KNOW I need it, but I always feel like I should be doing 'more important' things, like you said - cooking or cleaning. I hate cleaning, and knowing that makes the guilt even worse!

    We do need to know who we are as people, women, not just wives and moms.

    I really do agree with this post. I know you feel like You've stuck your neck out to write it - that's kinda how I have felt with a couple of my last posts, especially my latest poem. But it IS good to talk about it, and it IS good to find out you're not the only one, and that we're all trying to figure it out. I wish I had more answers for you, but you're totally on the right track. Vacays with hubby and girlfriend retreats are SUPER important (I'm talking to myself here....)

    Luv ya girlie! Thanks for sharing your heart!

    ~ Raylene

  6. You are so Not alone! I have been a SAHM for the past 4 years. (3 kids)and my life has completely been determined by them, and my husband's shift schedule. Plus, until recently, we only had 1 if he was at work, I was literally "Stuck" at home. I moved away from my hometown when I got married, and even though I love our little town, sometimes I just feel....lost. The park is lovely..but it's not the park of my childhood. The people we have met are lovely, but there is not the same history. I feel adrift somedays. And there is so little time for building those bonds, when you are trying to watch 3 young kids AND have some kind of meaningful conversation. I was slowly becoming grumpy mommy.
    This year I turned 40. And there gonna be some changes peeps! My blog is called Time Out For Mom....and heck - I'd better live up to it, or else change the name. So this is my year of re-discovering myself. I have never been much of a follower, but how do I define myself now, beyond the roles of wife and mom? I don't know. But maybe while I am pounding the treadmill, or tending the weeds in my garden, or having coffee with a friend (sans enfants!), I will find that answer.
    You just gotta try...because you are worth it. And your kids deserve to see a mommy who is a whole person.
    thanks for sharing what was in your heart!