who am i?

1 02 2010

I attended a ladies’ Bible study last year in my neighbourhood – what a fabulous group of women; we had a great discussion on the book of Romans throughout the year.  At the first meeting, during the obligatory introductions, I was struck by an intense realization.  My identity – at least the one I used to have – had vanished. “Hi, I’m Deirdre.  I’m an Occupational Therapist, and I’m working on my Master in Rehabilitation Science (completed last year before C2’s arrival).  I’m originally from Alberta and have been living in Toronto for almost 10 years.  I love canoe tripping, playing ultimate frisbee, taking adult ballet classes at the National Ballet School, trail racing, and I’ve completed two 1/2 marathons.  I used to weigh over 200 lbs and lost 60 lbs.  I’m a gym rat – you’ll find me lifting weights or on the treadmill at least 4 times a week.  I will always be an Edmonton Oilers fan.  I’m active in the 20-Something group at Rexdale Alliance Church.”  WHOA.  Wait a minute.  That’s not me.  Who am I?

When each of the women in the Bible study group introduced themselves, they listed how many and how old their children were and the names of their spouses.  It was only through getting to know them better over the course of the year that I discovered that among them were a lawyer, an engineer, a Yale graduate and PhD, and a theologian.  Ack!  Those are amazing achievements!!  But, what happens when the achievements and interests of our previous lives, if you will, are consumed by motherhood and buried in the domestic responsibilities of being the homemaker (in particular, those of us who have elected to stay home with our young children)?

Perhaps this isn’t true for everyone – but, for me the impact of losing and subsequently re-inventing my identity have really been at the forefront for the last three years and has represented a perpetual internal struggle, sometimes positive and sometimes not so positive.  It’s part of what makes the shift to motherhood – days that can be filled with mundane tasks, (seemingly) lacking in measurable productivity, loss of personal interests (not because of depression, but re-structured time), and altered and diminished friendships (in some instances, this has been the worst thing) – seem like it’s the toughest place I have ever found myself at in my life.

It began to affect me to the extent that I felt resentful and wistful.  I love my husband and children very much and am so unspeakably proud to be wife and mother in this family.  But, seriously… who am I now?  My identity seems to be wrapped up in who I am in direct relation to three other individuals … and not myself at all.

I believe what has made this shift manageable is the discovery of re-inventing myself.  My creativity is stretched to the maximum — I think that’s just the richest part of all of this.  What a tremendous opportunity and it couldn’t be more timely!

So, today I am 34 (for 6 more days!), a Christ-follower, a stay-at-home mom, super-wife (lol!), OT Reg(Ont.) but not working for pay, MRSc (I have always wanted that title), a huge fan of my oldest son’s artwork, a speech coach, policewoman (in my own home), super-shopper, super-saver, blogger, Wii-er, family photographer, jewelry-maker, librarian, head chef (does that make me a sous?), lead creative director, head janitor, chauffeur, personal assistant to 3 amazing men, treater of booboos, finder of toys, researcher of how to set limits with my strong-willed son (another blog post to stay tuned for)… limitless is who I am… and excited to find out more about who God intends me to be.

To encourage you Moms who may have felt the same way and wrestled with any resentment around your shift in roles… I am right there with you — and we can embrace this re-inventing of ourselves together!

And, speaking of getting creative… check out my shop on Esty: DeirdreSpeak:ArtWorks. It’s cool and I am donating 25% of all sales to relief efforts in Haiti!

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