Parenting & Identity Loss
Many people experience identity loss when they become parents. And as virtual schooling and working from home become more commonplace, parents may feel this sense of loss has heightened.
We’ve lost connections with our village, we’ve become more isolated and are barely keeping up with housework, school, our jobs and our other responsibilities.
It can be really easy to feel like… “Who am I? I’ve lost myself.”
Identity Loss: What To Do When You Lose Yourself
Let’s discuss what to do when we feel like we’re experiencing identity loss as parents.
Create a meaningful vision for your family.
Amazing family life does not create itself.
Step away from working “in” your family,
and take a moment to work “on” it.
What’s Your Identity?
What do you point to when you think about your identity?
Many times when people are talking about identity, they talk about quite external and superficial factors.
They talk about their gender, their nationality, their religion, their age, their vocation – we think those are what make us who we are.
Losing Your Identity as a Parent
Perhaps you’ve already experienced the feeling of losing your identity. Maybe you used to be a career-focused person but now feel that being a parent is a huge part of your identity.
Maybe now, you identify more as being a peaceful parent, or an attachment parent, or someone who does EC.
The thing is… life changes very quickly.
We adapt, we grow, and sometimes we lose our labels.
Right now you may identify as a peaceful parent of young children but what about when our children fly the coop? What happens to that part of our identity?
Dealing With a Loss of Self Identity
If you’ve felt a loss of self identity on this parenting journey, I want to offer you a deeper way of thinking about identity. A way of looking at who you are that is less changeable and at the mercy of external factors such as…time!
Many of us identify as what we are. For example:
- I am a woman
- I am a lawyer
- I am someone who has diabetes
- I am a dancer
When we identify ourselves by describing what we look like, what we believe in, or what we do, we can get stuck at a superficial level.
We can get attached to our labels and feel a sense of loss when they change.
Also, remember that labels are endlessly open to interpretation. They mean different things to different people.
Personally, I don’t choose to attach my identity to being a woman, mother, parenting coach, yogi, or vegan, because to me, those things less deep and not helpful when it comes to our identities.
How Not to Lose Identity
If we want to learn how not to lose identity in the future, we musn’t identify with what we are or what we do, but with how we show up.
I see identity as not what we are or do, but how we show up.
I think our identity is much more interesting on the internal level – our character, our energy, our personality and the choices that we make.
Maybe you could call it our mindset, our vibration or our frequency.
It’s the how.
How Do We Show Up?
How do we show up to parenting young children? And then how do we show up when those young children grow up?
If we think about the how, and we think about certain values that we want to embody such as being kind, compassionate, calm, empathic, strong, etc…
We realize different values that we might hold about how we want to live our lives.
We might realize, “I want to live my life humbly,” or “I want to live it sustainably.” There are endless words that you might choose to describe yourself.
You Choose Your Identity
Focusing on how we show up to life is an interesting way for us to decode our identities because we can show up with those energies to anything.
You can show up with those energies to the ups to the downs of life, to the failures, to the mistakes, to the losses, to the ever changing aspects of your personality.
For example, If I decide that kindness is a big part of my identity, then maybe I can show up with kindness to any scenario – to my religion, to my political opinions, or to my community.
If I identify as a homeschooler, then as soon as I’m not a homeschooler (because my child decides they prefer going to school, or because I need to work out of the home, etc.) it can be very hard for me to replace that part of my identity that I’m very attached to.
If instead, I decide I am a curious person or I’m a lifelong learner, or I’m someone who thinks outside the box, then it might manifest in homeschooling right now and it might manifest in a completely different way in the future.
I’m not attached to the particular “what” I do but I am attached to the “how” – to the energy with which I do it.
How We Show Up Is Our Identity
Let’s raise ourselves and raise our children to start to tap into how we show up to the meal, to the washing the dishes, to the change of plans, to the year, to the conflict.
How we show up – the energy that we want to bring, the type of person that we want to be, the you that you want to be – let’s make that more about your internal energy that radiates outward, what you shine out into the world, rather than the particular descriptions of what you are or what you do.
How would that influence us as parents?
How would that influence the sense that we lost part of our identity?
Not “What,” But “How?”
How do you identify right now, during this pandemic? How we show up to quarantine, isolation, changes of plans, overwhelm, illness, tragedy, and loss – how we show up to these things might be something that we can attach to more right now.
That way, whatever happens, wherever we land, we always have our internal energy of how we want to approach things and the energy that we want to bring.
Parenting & Identity Loss
If learning about parenting and identity loss was helpful for you, then maybe you might want to share it with a friend – I would be so grateful if you do.
Remember to head on over to check out our Create Vision package and work towards finding your identity as a visionary leader for your family. One that creates a meaningful vision – a compelling gameplan that gets you up each morning.