Losing your identity to motherhood is something I think nearly every mother walks through for a least a short time during parenthood. It feels like it’s an all-consuming thing you couldn’t escape if you wanted to. We want to invest so much of ourselves into our kids, but it’s easy to cross that blurry line into finding too much of our identity in our mothering.
How To Tell If You Find Your Identity In Your Kids
Here are a few signs you may have started to place your identity in your kids:
You need them to succeed so you feel good about yourself.
If they fail at something or have a hard time with something, you have to help solve it.
If they fail it affects how you feel about yourself.
E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g you do is for them.
Your kids are the number one thing in your life, above yourself, your husband, other family members, and your relationship with God.
You feel guilty doing anything apart from them.
You don’t feel like you have a purpose apart from your kids.
You don’t even remember what you like to do anymore, because everything you do revolves around your kids and what they like to do.
Another sign you’ve put too much of your identity in your children is depression. Depression can be clinical of course, and should be treated carefully by a doctor if needed. Depression can be felt for so many reasons in motherhood, caused by anything from hormones, to intense fatigue, to just being around your kids too much out of necessity. But it can be a sign of finding identity in your kids because you feel like you have no higher purpose other than parenting. You love them more than yourself but they drive you crazier than anyone else. When you feel like you have no greater purpose than raising them it’s easy to feel depressed. When we find our identities in God, we know that our lives have a greater purpose and meaning than disciplining rebellious children all day for the next 18 years. Our children are our greatest meaning here on earth, but they shouldn’t be our number one meaning.
When your identity comes from your kids, you will never feel satisfied because they weren’t created to be your god. God created us to be dependent on Him only. He created our kids for us to enjoy, not to find our identity in. Anything and anyone but Jesus himself will leave us empty.
What is the Remedy For This?
Please don’t think I’m saying this from a place that is far across this bridge. I’m still right on this bridge with you, and it’s probably the one I most struggle with right now. I want to encourage you that if you feel like you’re going through this, know that it’s so common. but not where we’re supposed to find our identities. Finding our identity in something apart from God is something we will all struggle with until heaven. But God has given us himself while we’re here on earth, so we’re no longer slaves to sin. Learning how to put our identities correctly in God is something we’ll continually learn our whole lives, but we can start by putting our priorities in the right order: our relationship with God (including restful time with Him), husbands, then our kids. Examining and reevaluating our priorities realistically will need to be done every day, if not every hour. Studying the Bible and praying are both important to learn how to grow in this area, to learn what God says about both himself and ourselves, and prayer to hear from Him ourselves.