The Mom Identity

I was talking with a friend yesterday morning and we were discussing how we almost can’t remember who we were before we were moms.  It seems like so much of our identity has been lost to the needs of our very young children.  And for me, this goes a step further.  I am not just a mom; I am a mom of a child with special needs.  Sometimes, it seems that 99% of my time, my thoughts, and my efforts go toward my children.  Semmes, my typical 13-month-old is in the throes of separation anxiety; not even my husband can make him happy much of the time.  He needs his mommy ALL THE TIME.  I know that this is a short season of his life and in some ways it does make me pretty happy, especially when he sees me across the room, throws his hands up in the air, and moves as fast as his little legs will let him go toward me (I would say run, but that would esteem the movement). I am conflicted with my emotions, to say the least. And with Cooper, my 3-year-old with special needs, it seems like there is always a doctor’s appointment, or a medicine to give, or his oxygen levels need to be monitored, or he’s crying for absolutely no reason, or he’s overwhelmed and needs to go off by himself and lay down.  You know, things that normally aren’t on the mind of a mom of a three and half-year-old. In many ways, being a mom will always be a big part of my identity.  Obviously.  But as my children get older and need me less and go off to school and become their own little selves, I will be less needed and will less identify that way.  Except for Cooper, who at three is the developmental equivalent of a 9-month-old, who will never be potty trained, who is tube fed. I will always be needed with Cooper.  And I will always be a mom of a special needs child as much as I am right now. And some days, this is a hard, daunting reality to face. And some days, I wouldn’t change it for the world. At book club last night, we were talking about how strange it is for us to realize that our parents were PEOPLE before they were parents.  They had relationships, opinions, lives.  And I think it takes having a child of your own to really realize that.  Because you know that you were a person before you were a mom and you know that being a mom isn’t 100% of you.  But when your children are young, it’s hard to remember that.  Some days it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. I’ve realized how important mom relationships are. Finding people who are supportive, who go on playdates, who sit with your special needs child while you change your typical child. I’ve become more choosy, but this choosiness has made the relationships with my friends more substantial. Sometimes, they’re the only way I get through a day and sometimes I’m the only reason they do. submitted by Crady Schneider

One thought on “The Mom Identity

  1. Yes! I found that when our daughter was diagnosed and life got real, some friends just didn’t understand. One girlfriend even complained that I wasn’t fun anymore. Honestly. As a result, I had to let some of those relationships go. Three cheers for friends who actually “get it” and are there for us through it all. : )

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