Who am I? I ask myself.
It is a big question to ponder.
“I am a mum.” is my immediate answer to the question, as I’m occupied with my role as a mother for my two beautiful children at this very point in my life.
But am I really “just” a mum?
I am also a partner.
I am also a sister.
I am also a daughter.
I am also a friend.
I am also a writer.
I am also a reader.
I am also a citizen.
I am also a woman.
I am also a human being.
The list can go on and on.
However, I know I am a “free spirit” capable of being whatever I choose to be – also known as – all the above.
We carry multiple titles to identify ourselves in various contexts. We often label ourselves and other people so much so that it became second nature to us.
But in reality, a lot of people struggle to answer to the big question “Who am I?”.
Self-identity is an interesting yet challenging concept to fully grasp, since it is always evolving. It can be a combination of what we do for a living and for hobbies, what we have become and what we are working towards becoming. It reflects our current values, priorities and circumstances.
Since the birth of my first child, my sense of identity has shifted tremendously and almost been consolidated to one title – a mother. And, unlike any job title, it is now permanently who I am and who I will always be, no matter how old my children are.
This is all great. But this wonderful title “mother” (or whatever it may be) often comes with many expectations placed upon us by ourselves as well as our well-meaning society. For example, a mother should be loving and nurturing at all times, a mother should stay at home with children, a mother should be there for the family 24/7, etc.
These rigid ideas and expectations on motherhood often leave many mothers feeling confused, lost and even inadequate. I certainly felt that way in the first vulnerable few months of motherhood. It took me a while to overcome the idea that I should be “more like this”, and “less like this”, in order to fit into the stereotypical idea of motherhood. After all, no two mothers are alike.
After reflecting on my self-identity and motherhood for quite some time, I had a realisation our titles and labels are “socially constructed” at the end of the day – which can be limiting when it comes to understanding and expressing the true essence/nature of our being. This was a huge paradigm shift.
In my conscious effort to give myself freedom to be whoever I choose to be, I decided to change my answer to the big question “who am I?” from “I am a mother” to “I am also known as a mother”.
Who are you also known as?