Hi, My Name is Kristi, and I’m Having a Post-Baby Identity Crisis

I may be experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. I am a mother, but who else am I? Shouldn’t motherhood be fulfilling enough? Why do I want more?
How I spent my evening last night. Drinking wine in my wine pajamas. It was awesome.

I filled many roles and was so many things before I became a mother: a school psychologist, a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a friend. I spent dreary weekend afternoons reading in the Barnes and Noble Café, playing Scrabble with my husband, dancing around my living room with a pen-microphone in hand, and going to the gym. I fixed my hair daily and put a little thought into my appearance.

Two and a half years into motherhood, I barely recognize the girl I just described—the girl I used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my children, and my husband, but I do miss aspects of my pre-baby self.

Over these last few weeks, I’ve realized that I may be experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. I am a mother, but who else am I? Shouldn’t motherhood be fulfilling enough? Why do I want more?

Cue guilt-trip for wanting more than to take care of my children.

I think my current crisis is due in large part to not working outside the home. Since relocating a few months ago for my husband’s job, I’ve been unable to find work. So, I spend my days caring for my three-month-old and my two-and-a-half-year-old.

My husband works long days, leaving me alone with our children for up to 16 hours a day. They bring smiles to my face, and I am happy to have this time with them, but I’ll tell you what: it’s freaking exhausting.

Our two-year-old has had a rough time adjusting to the new baby; pair that with intense two-year-old tantrums, potty-training (she decided a week after we brought home her brother that she wanted to start using the potty), and phasing out her pacifier, and you have a recipe for one tired mama.

My days are a cacophony of “Hey, Mama!,” “I’m hungry,” new baby gurgles, and cries. When my husband finally gets home from work and tries to offer the assist, both children melt down because they’re so used to me taking care of them they don’t know what to think of good old Dad. It’s difficult for me to justify going out for some “me” time when our newbie cries so hard he begins choking and our toddler clings to my legs, begging me not to leave.

All these changes are compounded by being in a new place, one in which I haven’t made any friends, trying to secure employment, and managing our finances on one income. I’m not one to whine, but I’ll freely admit I’ve had some pretty bad days.

Other than continuing to submit applications and hope for the best, there’s nothing I can do about my employment situation at the moment. As hard as it may be, though, I’ve realized that I need to start doing something, anything, for me, before I find myself in real trouble.

Yesterday, I sent my husband and children to my parents’ house for the afternoon, so I could clean the house. During those few hours, I sang into my broom microphone, engaged in some laundercise (a term I coined for working some of my sweet dance moves into folding/putting away laundry), took an uninterrupted shower, fixed my hair, and put on make-up (the latter, things I haven’t done in a long time).

I realize my life will never be the same as it was before I had children, and I don’t expect or want it to be, but I lived a full life before I had children, and I don’t want to lose that life entirely. I need to make time for things that make me feel happy and fulfilled.

Maybe I’ll get back to my blogging routine. Maybe I’ll take up kickboxing (a way to channel some of the frustration that comes from caring for two very needy little people). Or, maybe I’ll just send my family away once in a while to clean the house, laundercise, shower, and drink wine in my wine pajamas.

Tell me, moms, am I alone in my feelings? How do you manage time/activities for yourself while working and maintaining a household?

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15 thoughts on “Hi, My Name is Kristi, and I’m Having a Post-Baby Identity Crisis

  1. Stephanie Tsales says:

    Kristi I can totally relate to all of this, thanks for sharing. There was one day that my husband told me to take a break and go do something I wanted to do. I looked at him, tears in my eyes, and said “I don’t know what I like to do anymore.” I still haven’t figured it out, but I am at least getting more clarity on what I don’t like to do – and I will say Laundercise is on that list.

    1. Kristi Blust says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read, Stephanie. It’s amazing how quickly and drastically little ones change our lives. I hope we can both come to a different, but happier version of ourselves in time.

    2. I completely understand your feelings of “I don’t know what I like to do anymore”, Stephanie. I, too, am trying to figure that out. Hopefully, we all will soon!

  2. Oh man – I get in most of my ‘alone’ time as soon as Gogo is in bed. I take a bath (EVERY night) – and I savor it like nothing else. You’ve seen my pictures of wine/chips/hummus on her training potty beside the tub? That is essential to my happy life. 🙂

    1. Kristi Blust says:

      A bath sounds so nice, Candace. Note to self: buy house with bigger tub. I feel very shamu every time I get in ours!

  3. Kristi, you must read Overwhelmed. You will identify with it so strongly, I just know it. And also realize you are FAR from alone.

    It is more important than you know to retain your sense of self and pleasure in daily life. Trying to fulfill the “ideal mother” role will drive you insane.

  4. Kristi, it’s definitely a balance, but I do prioritize something that’s just me even though I’m a mom. Because I know that many, many years later, these kids are going to grow up and not need me the way they do now. What then? I don’t want to have an identity crisis then, so I make sure I do plenty now. Little things, like having conversations with friends (even phone convos) about kids but also other things. Having a hobby (like you said, blogging, or reading). Taking a dance class. Stuff like that. My husband does the same. He likes to watch soccer and play guitar and bass.

    That’s also why I like work so much because job identity aside, it’s time away from the kids lol.

  5. erinclifford98 says:

    I can totally relate. 2 years ago I had two under two, new house, temper tantrums and anytime I fed the baby the older one had to go pee. I think it hits you the most when you feel like you have no control over your situation. I would suggest finding one thing you can have control over and enjoy it. As for friends, I think that is the hardest part of being in a new place. I just keep inviting people over for tea. Now that I am back at work it is easier but still not easy.

  6. Thank you for sharing! I am working full-time, and feel exactly the same way. It seems that I don’t have the opportunity to do anything for myself either. My job is very stressful and overwhelming, and I feel like by the time I work all day, come home and give to my boys and husband that I am just a shell of a person by that night. My hair is never “fixed” so to speak. I am lucky to have time to pull it back in a headband or clip in the morning even with the help from my hubby with the boys. Overwhelmed seems to be where I have been for the last year at least. I am having a difficult time figuring out how not to feel like I’m selfish by wanting to do something for myself (if I knew what that something even was). Hopefully, I can eventually figure something out to make me feel that “balance” again.

  7. You are definitely not alone! As a mom of 2 (3 year old and 4 month old) and a working school psychologist (Shout out to you Kristi, another school psychologist 🙂 ) I think most if not all moms have an identity crisis. I completely understand to being at home with two kids (first 2 months after my second during maternity leave) and feeling guilty for “me time” but you need it. Whatever “me time” consists of for you (playing scrabble, or taking a stroll at Barnes at Nobles or having a yummy glass of wine-can you tell I relate most to the last one ;-)), it is needed! I have come to realize that I am best when I can have a little bit of time to myself (currently for me its going to the gym for an hour or painting my nails late at night when everyone else is asleep). When I don’t get the time for myself, I feel overwhelmed and tend to have a shorter temper (specifically lash out on my husband, he also works very long hours-leaving early in the morning and coming home late on night so its a lot on one person). So I try to carve out time during the week and weekend to get that beautiful “me time”. Its great that you have your parents to watch over the children to get that me time, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. The way I manage especially since I am returning to work, is I plan, plan, plan. I was never the organized type before I had children but have learned to be. I set up daily goals for myself such as doing one load of laundry, going to the store, or making sure I set up that appointment I have been putting off, etc. keeping in mind that I will not be able to achieve all the daily goals but I will feel better that I have accomplished a few so it will not leaving me feeling overwhelmed by the latter portion of the week. Hope it helps!

  8. I think this is so relatable to so many moms. Thanks for your transparency. I think you’re exactly right, that you have to work in some ‘me’ time to recharge, refresh, and just refocus so you can take care of your family. Even if that is just cleaning the house for a break.

  9. I find that the easiest time to have alone time is in the evenings after our daughter is in bed. My husband works four, 10 hour shifts a week and I work full time as well. There have been a few evenings where he has gotten home around 6:30, I have our 15 month old daughter fed and ready for bed and all he has to do is play with her and put her in the crib around 8pm. I head out to meet my girlfriends or to run errands. If family and friends offer to help out, take them up on that offer. My mom loves to spend time with my daughter and it’s a great time for me to clean, catch up on laundry or do the shopping. Routines are key to having free time and I know they are tough with a young baby.

    Also remember that the better care you take of yourself, the better of a mom you will be. I found when I was home on maternity leave, that if I showered and got in some jeans while the baby was napping I was more productive than if I stayed in my yoga pants all day.

  10. If you are a stay-at-home-mom you will definitely have these thoughts pass your mind at least once at some point of your life. Many can relate to this post.

  11. This article is very helpful, thank you Kristi for sharing. I struggle with identity crisis since my adorable 5 month old baby daughter was born. I feel like I lost myself and every day I morn the woman I once was. I had a wonderful life and a wonderful relationship with my husband. Between bottles and diapers I don’t feel myself, it’s like I’m somebody else. During the first month I stayed in touch with my co-workers and they all called my crazy for missing my job. My job used to be my normality, my window to the world. I feel guilty for all this feelings I have and I’m affraid to share this others. My husband is the only one who knows about. I don’t want people to throw in my face that I don’t love my child or that I don’t find montherhood fulfilling.

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