Avoid This Identity Crisis!

When I was twenty-five years old, I was newly married and I had started a new career as a recruiter. I found it super fascinating to interview all of these totally different types of people, with different career backgrounds and career paths, job titles I’d never heard of before, their crazy personality types sometimes, and then personal stories.  

The personal stories that I remembered and resonated so well with the twenty-five year old that I was were when most often I was interviewing another woman who had quit her full-time career to be a full-time stay at home mom. And now she’s sitting across the desk from me, about 20 or so years later, her kids are grown, off to college or work, and her husband has left her. She is looking at me trying to understand, what is her identity now?

Everything she had known, 20 plus years as being a wife and a mom, are now suddenly gone from her, and she’s realizing she has no identity for herself! Even though I always knew I wanted to be like my mom, who was a full-time working mom, I saw right then and there across the desk from me, how important it was to keep my identity.  

There’s oftentimes guilt for working parents, feeling like they aren’t there to support their family or be there with their kids as often as possible. But I often share that I believe…

My number one job as a parent, outside of keeping my kids safe, is to raise them to become independent adults.

And if I’m doing my job as a parent correctly, that means at some point my children are leaving me. So it’s important for me to know who I am after they’ve left. In fact, I need to know who I am while they are still with me. I need to have a strong personal identity.

And I believe that the stronger my personal identity is, the more in tune I am with myself, the better it will serve those around me, including my children.  

The guilt subsides when I know I am giving myself and my children a positive role model. That the choices I’m making – for work, my values, my beliefs, my passions, my desires — they are serving my kids so that they can see how to be a strong, independent, self-identified adult when they get older.

I invite you today to start to push any of that guilt aside that you may have, and realize the benefit for yourself and for those around you of having your own identity. And that’s for today and the future.  

How do you identify yourself? If you were to strip away the other responsibilities, who are you as a human being? I would love to hear from you.

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