Struggling with who you are as a Parent

New parents, especially the parent who is the primary care giver, often struggle with identity issues. I struggled with this and can say, it gets better as they get older.

Here is a complaint from one of my online mom friends: “Am I just a boob? Why can’t I sleep when I want to? Why do I get resentful when my significant other sleeps! Seriously – when did I start thinking sleep time was something that has to be monitored?!?”

I hear you. Parenthood, especially in the first few years is all consuming. First, you gotta keep the kid alive. Turns out that requires some 24/7 monitoring. Or what feels like 24/7 monitoring. Next, they need you emotionally. If they are awake, you have to be awake too. You don’t get to sleep in anymore. Can’t go out unless you make arrangements. Heck, you can’t even use the bathroom without them for a while.

I remember when my son was nursing, the first month, he never looked at me. I was literally a boob. He didn’t look at me until he was over 2 months old. I was so relieved. All the books said – it’s bonding. They look at you. Mine didn’t. I was literally just a warm comfy boob to him.

It gets better. As you child gets older and more independent the constant need for you to be present for them ebbs. By the time they start going to school, you start getting time to yourself again and with that comes time to  reconnect with the fact, you are an independent human being with your own interests and needs.

The first few years are tough. And you do lose your identity for a bit. But you get it back. And then, you can actually reinvent yourself if you want to.

So hang in there. Try not to take yourself too seriously. Ask your partner to give you time off so that you remain sane. And you have my sympathies. Just know if others were able to get through those years and re-establish themselves as independent autonomous individuals, you can too. Good luck.

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