I am thinking a great deal about the idea of motherhood and self-identity. The weather’s cloudy and just perfect for deeper reflections, like asking, "Who am I?"
Maybe, like me, you’ve shed and shouldered a few tears in wrestling with these thoughts. I think we mull this one over as mothers because of the immense sacrifice we make, the image we see in the mirror, and, maybe, for the loss or understanding of who we were before motherhood.
Let me tell you a little about my story, so far…
At the age of 18, I listed an entire page under the header, “I AM.” I was just peeling away at my internal compass one day, and wrote everything down. I remember the final line in my positive self-declarations:
"I AM ME AND ANYTHING I WANT TO BE!"
A few years later, in college, I was required to create a self-declaring "life mission statement.” I dreaded the definitive nature of the assignment -- I was a work in progress (still am). At that stage in my life, I was single and making $4.25 per hour. I was a total mess because I was really confident and really insecure about really everything.
The opening line in my life mission statement hung like a sign in a well watered garden: "It is not what I am doing that is important, it is what I am BECOMING!"
As my career blossomed, crashed, and blossomed over the next several years, I found myself being asked once again to complete the exercise, t write a life mission statement, during a workshop at the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center. Reluctantly, I obliged.
I reasoned that "I know who I am" and "I already have a life mission statement" and "God's in control anyway." In getting past my bad attitude, and feeling like I would be boxed inside a paragraph of words forever if I wrote anything down, I tried to do the assignment over again.
At that stage in my life, I was a newlywed who had lived through a few crisis. For example, after a couple of months of being married, I discovered my hubby’s mega debt -- we owed $60K combined! This challenge, along with my husband's pursuit of his dream golf career (it required a lot of traveling), led me to set aside some of my own dreams.
I remember being overtaken with tender and tearful emotions during the writing exercise. I felt immensely blessed, yet knew I was missing the mark in my beautiful navy suit. The first line expressed my heart’s core desire: Motherhood! That day, I wrote a beautiful poem titled “IF," reflecting my deeper desires about a life well lived.
Here’s what I wrote: