My mum hat is stuck on my head! – losing your identity after having children

Posted Tuesday 23rd October 2012   By Ericka Waller

So I read Story of a Mum’s newsletter about mum-identity. Thinking beyond the realm of motherhood, into who us mums really are – or want to be (In a galaxy far far away…)

That’s a hard one. Being a mum has bled into every pore of my being. Every single part of me slowly rewired to be more “child-friendly” and in doing so, I’ve sort of lost myself (Cue Long Pigs wailing their epic classic)

After Thing 1 was born, I went back to work. This, for me, was a good balance. In the mornings, evenings and at weekends I popped my Mum-hat on, and during the week-days, I wore my Career-hat instead. (Stylishly, like a French beret.)

When I was not at work (in my posh shiny work clothes and French beret), I was happy to slob about in old rags and not fanny about with my hair. Each second with Thing 1 was to be cherished.

Then Thing 2 came along, swiftly followed by Thing 3. My career and time-to-self disappeared, and my Mum-hat has become firmly stuck on my head.

There are brief moments on the treadmill where I have my Running-hat on, but it’s only wedged over my Mum-hat. I am always aware that Thing 3 is in the gym crèche and I could be summoned any second… and I’ve VERY aware of my mummy tummy flopping about all over the place.

I definitely lost my Fashion-hat too. Now it’s all about “Will snot-trails blend in with this colour?” “Will this need ironing?” “Will these jeggings be warm enough for the school run?” 

I look at old clothes in my wardrobe and wonder what on earth I was thinking. Chiffon? Silk? Crazy spendthrift fool.
When 99% of your time is spent actively parenting three-under-five, it’s pretty hard to retain enough energy to clean your teeth, let alone retain your own identity.

So who am I really? When do I truly feel like myself?

Well – when I’m writing blogs like these and remember that, like the Scarecrow from the Wizard-of-oz, I do have a brain after all. I can do more than just sign along with Mr Tumble. I qualified as a journalist, and one day I will “work” again.

Or, when I’m in the car and my Things are all asleep and I’m tapping along to The Pixies. Music takes me back.. Places, boyfriends, jobs, people, gigs. Long long ago, in a galaxy far far away.

But I also feel like me when Thing 1 wakes up and sings along, and then Thing 2 wakes up and we all sing along together – and I realise that who I was and who I am and who they are is all tangled up together.