It’s a question that comes up once we become Mums. We are struggling to find ourselves in our new role and we get asked what kind of mum we want to be as a way to create focus. Well meaning friends and family ask this thinking it’ll give us direction towards feeling better. However, when I am asked this questions I freeze. My mind goes into overdrive. I feel I need to give an answer that fits a stereotype eg. working mum, stay at home mum, breastfeeding mum, fit mum etc. I feel it opens us up to judgement and that choosing a certain path, comes with criticism. We can’t win.
Often when I’m asked, I think well I just get up and do what needs to be done as a Mum. If my baby cries in the middle of the night, I wake up and feed him. If my older son needs a cuddle from a bad dream I get up. If my son needs to be picked up from school, I go. If we need food, I shop… However stressful that is with 2 kids. The reality of Motherhood is that we do what needs to be done and our own identity is lost.
I have been out at night a few times since having my baby. Each time I was congratulated or celebrated for leaving the house. I was told stories of other women taking 6 months to leave the house with a baby for an event. I was told I deserved it or how great it was that I was out of the house. I have not been housebound at all since having baby and most second time mums know that this choice isn’t possible. I went out because I am a woman that loves socialising, getting dressed up and feeling good about myself.
What I would prefer women to ask themselves after baby is, what kind of WOMAN do you want to be? This covers all roles. As a Mum, as a wife, as a friend, in your work.
We can then stay true to our own values, make decisions that fit our circumstances and fit into a life we want to create as a Woman. Not just have the identity of Mum, but can explore all areas of life. Balance between mum life, being a wife and in our work is important to make us whole.
So when I think about the kind of woman I want to be, I can answer like this:
- I want to be a woman who follows through and keeps her word.
- I want to be a woman that people trust and can share their worries with.
- I want to be strong, confident and happy because if I am, I can give more to others.
All of these apply to me as a Mum and in my other roles in life. So let’s change the conversation, making women feel they have to be a certain kind of Mum. Focus on her as a person, a woman with needs, a woman with passion and love to give. Treat her with respect and give her power. When she is loved, respected and empowered she can do amazing things for her family, in her working life and beyond.