Karyn Cole Karyn Cole is the lucky mom of 2-year-old girl/boy twins, Mia and Miles. After teaching elementary school for over 15 years, she now spends her days trying to enrich her class of two and organizing the chaos that is her household. After bedtime, she enjoys baking, crafting, and watching bad reality TV.

Is motherhood my purpose, my identity, or both?

purpose (noun) something that one hopes or intends to accomplish

identity (noun) the distinguishing character or personality of an individual

I read a lot of self-help books in January.  The books I read were geared for women like me – those in the throes of motherhood – and gave advice on how to be a better wife, mother, family member, and friend.  Let me first say, we aren’t at any sort of crisis point here.  I simply wanted to become my best self as the new year began.  

As I read, one concept really took hold in my mind.  Over and over authors kept mentioning how it important it was for women, particularly mothers, to have an identity of their own.

What is my identity?  I hadn’t really given self-identity any thought in, well, over four years.  Even before my twins Mia and Miles were born, their needs consumed my daily life.  I left my teaching job to be a stay-at-home mom.  Get togethers with coworkers or friends became less frequent.  I was blessed to find a tribe of peers who I’m now lucky enough to call friends, but our conversations revolved around our little ones.  We discussed sleeping schedules and meal tips, potty training strategies and the merits of local preschool programs.  We didn’t talk about current events, blockbuster movies, or bestsellers.  None of us had time to read an article in the newspaper most days, much less a novel.  

Now, my babies are about to turn four, and we are finally starting to settle into a groove that goes beyond day-to-day survival.  I’m finding pockets of time when I can be me again – a separate entity from just “Mom.” But who am I now?  I’m certainly not the same person I was before kids.  Motherhood changes you in ways that are difficult to put in to words.

Having a family of my own was all I ever wanted.  I couldn’t imagine my life without my husband or my children.  I know I am living my purpose.  But I am less sure of my identity.

For now I am taking some time to discover me again.  I have found fulfillment in writing, something that is new for me.  I am reading more and exploring new hobbies, nurturing relationships that took that back burner during the difficult years.  I’m looking ahead to the years when my kids will be in school and planning for what I want my life to look like in this new stage.  It’s exciting and a little scary, but I know I can both fulfill my purpose and have my own identity, I don’t have to choose!

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