Motherhood Matters: Day 3 – Smashing the Identity Crisis

May 5, 2011 by

~by Michelle

Alas, we are a day behind…. Oh, well. Maybe we’ll catch up. (Or maybe we won’t…we’ll see!)

Day 3: Today’s challenge:
Practice answering the question “What do you do?” so you can confidently say “I am a mother.”

This is something that I have struggled with over the years, particularly when people find out I have an MBA. I have done some volunteer work that has given me opportunities to associate with others in the business world, but I do not have any job title to use when people ask this question. Sometimes I’ve felt uncomfortable in such situations. But I have become better about responding with “I’m a mom” with confidence. When I mentor young women in high school and college about their life planning, I also encourage them to be proud of their desire to be a mother, regardless of whether that desire is a current reality or possibility. I don’t think we do enough to celebrate motherhood in the work-a-day world. I like how this community effort is encouraging women to own their role as mothers.

There were some gems in the discussion on today’s topic, including some great advice on how to avoid identity crises when raising one’s own children. Those of us in the throws of motherhood can a lot from the generations before us:

Our mothers and grandmothers got it right. Today, we live in the “me” generation. We are more concerned with asking questions such as: What about me?What about my life, my fulfillment? rather than being concerned about the welfare of others. A truly happy person does not pursue happiness. Rather, happiness is a by-product of their service to others. In the process, you end up finding your best self, because there is more of you to find.

I think if we think less in terms of personal fulfillment and more in terms of service and the significance of motherhod, we will be more prepared to also be wise about how and when to do things that allow us to also be individuals along the way, which they also addressed in this segment.

As a side note, how to balance family needs with personal needs is a topic being discussed in posts this week at Empowering LDS Women (if you aren’t LDS, I think you will still enjoy these posts, including one from a mainstream Christian mom which I think is a must read):

Finding Balance in Motherhood: Celebrating Mother’s Day With a Mini Blog Series

Finding Balance in Motherhood: Pam Shares Two Helpful Principles

Finding Balance in Motherhood: Joni’s Mainstream Christian Perspective on God and Motherhood

Finding Balance in Motherhood: Heather Shares Three Lessons That Helped Her Learn To Find Happiness At Home

Finding Balance in Motherhood: Sara’s Story of Finding Balance as a Widow and Mother to Luke

Speaking of balance, I heard an insightful comment recently that the idea of balance is actually a bit of a myth (even though I think it’s a good word to use because it’s familiar). The idea was that ultimately, we have to decide what matters most and then live accordingly. That has stuck with me.

Video for day 3:



  1. Marsha Keller

    As always Michelle, so very well-said. I loved this: “A truly happy person does not pursue happiness. Rather, happiness is a by-product of their service to others. In the process, you end up finding your best self, because there is more of you to find.”

    I think I’m going to make up a little poster that says that for a reminder.

    I too detest the ‘what do you do’ question. While I do ‘do’ several things, I feel like somehow they are asking me to define myself in a short answer. I’ve taken to just say, “I’m a life and relationship coach” and usually that feels right enough on many levels to make the conversation flow forward.

    I think it is so much less about what we do, an more about who we are at our core, who we want to be, what we want to do, what we want to contribute, that defines us both to ourselves and to others. Perhaps we would all do well to find some little statement that defines our best self, and answer that, instead of our ‘job’ or our ‘role’.

    “I’m a delighted mom and grandmother!”

    “I’m a gourmet cook!”

    “I’m an artist”

    “I’m a. . . ”

    Fill in your own best self description of the moment. Tomorrow, you may be someone/something else!


  2. Ha! I always tell people I’m CEO of my household. I left the workforce a year ago to stay home with my two girls and use my business experience every day. My husband gets to be CFO 🙂

  3. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of serving others when it comes to finding happiness! I always need to improve in that area.

  4. mormonwomen

    Thanks for your comments, ladies. I love hearing your thoughts.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

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