Do we lose our identity when we become mothers?

I will try to make this post in a way that hopefully will not come off as  vapid and insensitive. Even as I write the title, I was wondering whether it sounded a little too Carrie Bradshaw, meaning insufferable and ridiculous. Perhaps, I will even write a complete post about my irrational hatred for “Sex and the City” and how I have seen every episode more than once. My mind has drifted, so let’s get to my original point, a mother’s identity.

When I was in my early twenties, I had the best time in college. I had great friends, lived in the dorm, with my roommate who I love and still am close to today. We did the weekend drinking, campus wandering, frat/sorority party attending. It was fantastic. Now at 26, I still love to see those same friends, and also spend time with ones I have met along the way.

Recently, a really close friend of mine moved away. I just absolutely adored him and our time we spent together, but since I have an unfortunate fate of being stuck in the black hole that is my small town, while the ones I love so dear move onto better things, it bummed me out. Having really good friends is seriously important to maintaining sanity and fighting off depression. My mother lives close to me and visits every day in order to see her grandchildren. When I told her I was upset that I didn’t have anyone to hang out with, she responded with “Well, you’re a mom now that’s who you are, you lose your identity when you become a mother.” I was shocked at such a statement. My mom is not exactly the party animal type, nor was she ever. Being 53 years old has simply made her even less so. The idea that we are no longer ourselves when we have children offended me.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t necessarily want children as young as I had them. I got married when I was 22, rather reluctantly, because I was in love and it didn’t seem like a terrible idea. Immediately my husband wanted a baby. At 24, we had our son. When I was pregnant with our daughter, at the tender age of 25, I decided I wanted a divorce. I won’t divulge at why the divorce was necessary, but we were just way too different. We started dating at 19, and as I matured, he regressed. He also has not seen his children in months, the children he wanted more than anything in this world are not as high of a priority as drugs and his girlfriend.

So here I am, 26 years old with 2 children under the age of 2. Not exactly what I had planned. I figured I would be living in New York City writing for some funky movie or music magazine, living in some hell hole that I couldn’t afford. This all being a stepping stone to a great career as a successful journalist, but alas, my life took a different route.

Don’t think that I don’t love my children more than life itself. They are incredible, sweet, smart and well-behaved. I wanted children some day, it just seems that everything was rushed. But I don’t think that means I should stop being me. It just made me sad for my mother that she thought that having children meant you lose yourself. We all lose parts of us, I no longer wear the shirts I wore in college that were actually from the little boys section. I’ve accepted that I am too old to show off my midriff in a Batman shirt. Instead, I’ve saved these shirts for my son or daughter when they get a little bigger.

But I still like to get drunk with my friends and sit around watching movies or talking for hours about ridiculous things. I also like going to the bar and watching people. I am also single now, something I haven’t been in years. My mother never dated anyone, after she was divorced, the whole time my brother and I were growing up. It’s nice that she focused on us kids, but it’s also sad that she couldn’t do things for herself.

I’m at a point in my life where I am not in a relationship with anyone and I want an occasional random hook-up. Just because I have children doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get laid.

So do we lose our identity when we become mothers? I don’t think we have to. It should be possible to be a great parent while also being a great friend, significant other, lover, laser tag player, dancer, drinker, karaoke singer and anything else that might make us happy. We are moms but we are also people, and the happier we are as unique individuals, the better we can do our job at raising our lovable little brats.

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