How to embrace and strengthen your motherhood identity and why it’s so important to block out the noise of society and embrace your true motherhood identity for strong family relationships.
This is a guest post.
Have you ever given any thought to your Motherhood identity, or creating a separate vision of what that would look like for you?
Many times as mothers, we’re often operating from the default vision and identity that society laid out for us.
We’ve been thrust into the routine of what it should look and feel like to be a “good” mom, and without creating our own identity as mothers, we leave ourselves vulnerable to feelings of guilt, shame and overwhelm.
4 areas of awareness to embrace and strengthen your Motherhood identity
1. Identify and choose to define your identity as a Mother.
Motherhood is not about age or biology. It is about identity. It is about how we choose to see ourselves, and the role we have been given by God to lead.
I became a mom at the age of 18 years old when I was in college. It was unplanned and not intentional. At the time, I also had two jobs, one was off-campus in a customer service position, and the other was on campus, actually leading a team of five as a multicultural student consultant.
At the age of 20, I was asked to lead parenting workshops on how to work, attend college and raise a child. But not everyone saw me that way.
At first, I received feedback and comments that because I had a child at 18, my life was somewhat doomed.
They thought I would not finish school and it baffled me because it wasn’t as though I was handicapped.
I simply became a mom. I saw myself as a mother who had professional ambitions and it was that identity that assisted me in navigating parenting choices for my family.
Regardless of what you’ve gone through, you can be intentional in choosing your Motherhood identity.
You do not have to adopt the limiting beliefs or mindset societal structures have set out for you. In the same way, we choose our professional identities, or hobbies we want to pursue, consider choosing with intention the vision for what you want your Motherhood identity to be.
Choosing our Motherhood identity is a process. It requires us to take an honest look at what we do, and why we do it. The second area of awareness is to:
2. Identify and analyze how the beliefs and ideals you hold were formed and how you live those out in day-to-day life.
When I coach moms in my practice in their professional aspirations, many times we uncover ideas and beliefs that were shaped and formed from repeated familial experiences, single encounters, media influences, and/or spirituality.
Have you ever given any thought to how the parenting ideals you have were formed?
For example, who was responsible for making decisions in your home? How were they made? Where did you get the belief about what a mother should do and how she should behave?
In my book, Intentional Motherhood: Who Said it Would be Easy, I share a story about my youngest son and my method of disciplining him. He questioned me about it, and in the process of that conversation, I felt challenged.
After speaking with my therapist, I realized that what I thought was parenting from love, was actually a behavior that was parenting from fear. It was so subtle but gaining that insight and understanding empowered me to make healthier and more connected choices as a mom.
Connected and loving relationships aren’t just about feeling positive. They require us to:
3. Examine how loving relationships with ourselves, children, and partners are formed and nurtured.
How are relationships nurtured and developed? Galatians 5:22-23 gives us great indicators of the fruits of the spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
When we feel heard, acknowledged, and appreciated, relationships tend to become stronger. When we limit the self-expression of ourselves or our children, we weaken the relationship bond.
It may seem simple enough to grasp, but it is often difficult to put into practice without a plan. When we have the awareness and intention, we build loving, supportive connected relationships.
One of the cornerstones of supported relationships is effective communication. It involves being kind, patient, keeping no score of wrongs, being gentle, and exercising self-control.
How can we put this into daily practice?
One practice which is the final area of awareness is to:
4. Set aside time for Intentional Conversations and have the courage to embrace conflict.
When there are so many life demands, it can seem easier to avoid rather than embrace difficult conversations. With this pattern, we pass it on to our kids unknowingly through observation, emotional transfer, and default patterns.
I encourage you to include in your Motherhood identity that you are the type of mother who embraces difficult conversations.
With this mindset as a part of yourself, you begin to move differently as a Mother.
For example, if you consider yourself a baker, you show up as a baker. You purchase products and accessories that bakers tend to use. If you are not a baker yet, but you aspire to be one, you begin to show up as the baker you want to be.
You change your schedule, you incorporate time to bake, you purchase a baker’s hat, or maybe invite your friends to some baked goodies. You begin to embody the mindset and intentional actions as a baker.
As mothers, when we choose our identity, we move toward healthier states of being rather than operating from the default or the norm. We set aside time to embrace those conversations and we extend grace to ourselves in the same way we extend it to others.
I want mothers everywhere to know that you are not your past, culture, title, or status.
You are who you choose to be in your intentional Motherhood identity. My personal experiences, mistakes, and errors as well as the communications expertise I have supporting, training, and coaching women all over the world led me to speak passionately about this topic and develop this book as a resource for you.
Monique Russell is an inspirational teacher, professional speaker, author of, Intentional Motherhood: Who Said it Would Be Easy, and Founder of Clear Communication Solutions, LLC – a global communications training coaching and consulting firm in Atlanta, GA. She teaches women leaders and teams how to turn likes into loves in their business and life with effective communication. She is the host of the Bridge to U podcast, a mother of two boys, and married to her college sweetheart.