Finding My Mom-entity | My Story on Identity Crisis

Growing up, I had so many wonderful Mothers in my life. My mother, of course, was my largest influence. She does everything with a sense of perfection. My Grammy, who is a German immigrant, taught me the importance of class. My Me-Ma, a southern woman, taught me the importance of shopping and how to keep a home. My fun-loving aunts are each unique in their parenting styles and interactions with kids. Not to mention family-friend moms who ranged from hands-off to Pinterest Mom’s (before there was such a thing!). I never really knew what kind of mother I would be, but thought it would come easy to me being the oldest of 4 children, oldest grandchild, and being around so many great mothers. Boy was I wrong!!

Parenting is the hardest thing I have every have ever undertaken. Not just the parenting, but also the loss of myself. Parenting requires selflessness. Giving yourself completely to another in order for them to survive and navigate life. I never understood this concept as I watched my mother seamlessly care for me and my brothers. Practice, concerts, schoolwork, discipline, etc. all seemed to generally not affect her and come naturally. I never thought of my mother as anything other than just that – a mom, and more specifically my mom. But she is far more than that, with her own identity and interests beyond serving the needs of her children. What a conundrum, to try and fulfill all aspects!

1509684_10201007405620802_105360229_n {Picture of Lauren Cop and her Mom circa 1985}

Before my children, I was confident in who I was as a person. It had taken a while to balance it all out, especially in my angry teenage years. I was a teacher who was passionate about human rights, farm-to-table concepts, Clemson, sports, music, and travel. I wasn’t afraid of confrontation, or really anything. I worked hard and was always looking to improve upon my surroundings! I had a supportive family, fun friends, and the perfect partner. Most of my major problems were meeting district deadlines, not having time off for concerts, and bills of course. I so looked forward to being a Mom – remember, I thought it would be easy!

DSC_8234 {Picture of Me in Barcelona taken by Drew Carlisle circa 2011}

I remember the day I became a mother like it was yesterday. I was excited, scared, so in-love, and sore! I couldn’t wait to show my sweet little girl the world and experience things through her eyes. I wanted to help her learn, cope, and be a strong independent woman of her own. Things quickly became difficult for us in the beginning. We struggled with breastfeeding (a goal I really wanted to meet) and Viv wouldn’t stop losing weight. She had doctor’s appointments and lactation meetings almost daily. She was at one point considered failure to thrive – it was absolutely heartbreaking! I felt like I was a failure as a mother. My husband was also starting to work at a new company and had to start traveling. Which brought along its own set of stress. Friends stopped calling and I felt excluded. When I finally felt like things were starting to settle down, I realized I didn’t know who I was anymore. Not to mention the drastic changes going on with my body – I mean gaining 80+ lbs (between 2 pregnancies) can make anyone feel fat and ugly! I felt weak, isolated, and scared. All things I had never fully experienced before.

20140606_095014 {Picture of Me and Noli taken by Drew Carlisle circa 2014}

When I became pregnant with Noli I started to focus more on my kids but I really didn’t feel any better. In some cases I felt worse. My husband started traveling more than ever and I really felt alone. It wasn’t until Noli turned a year old that I decided to make a major change. I needed a new identity. I was sick of feeling depressed and ignored. I wanted to feel like me again – confident in who I was as a woman not just a Mom. I started small like making daily goals of laundry and cleaning. Than increased it to creating activities for the kids. I continued to coach which was a wonderful outlet and some alone time for me. I went back to book club, which provided some adult social time. I started going to the gym, eating right, and writing for theoliveshoe.com. I made my husband start to commit to date night – not just talk about it. In the end, I even got a job working at a high-end restaurant – which has probably done the most improvement for my confidence. Are things perfect now? Absolutely not – far from it! But I finally see the light and feel like I am getting there. My goal weight is within reach. I am starting to feel more confident. I have gained new friendships and renewed old ones. I see purpose in my life outside of the home and it gives me a renewed spirit daily.

12509104_10102383766918908_4021912737881914306_n {Picture and Me and my girls taken by Drew Carlisle}

As you can see, I took lots of baby steps to improve my self-worth. Some worked way better than others – but here were the ones I felt were invaluable.

  1. Health – first and foremost, you need to be eating right and exercising regularly. There is nothing like endorphins and a fully-fueled body to make you feel like you can conquer anything!
  2. Start small with daily goals. Even something as small as putting on real clothes and make up can really change your outlook on the day.
  3. Do things to make yourself feel good. Get your haircut, nails done, or a massage. Feel like a woman again!
  4. Create!! I think this helped me the most. It started with projects for the girls, than escalated to The Olive Shoe and ultimately getting a new job. Being able to be creative and successful will not only be a great release, but also show you what you can accomplish even when feeling blue.
  5. Cut yourself some slack. Being a parent is hard! It is a sacrifice and isn’t meant for the faint of heart!

I know this is not the typical Olive Shoe post from me – but I wanted to share a little more of my story with you all in the hopes of helping others. Especially now that I am in a place where I feel more like a person and less like a shell. I have a long way to go – but I feel it is important that we as mothers accept that it isn’t easy, stand together, and help each other improve. I hope that my story can help another that is struggling and feeling alone. If you see a mother today struggling – give her a hug, offer her a hand, and give her a break! Trust me – she will need it even if she doesn’t ask!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins by day and coaches ciao_laurencop_sig-01
Volleyball and Track in her “me time”. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow herTwitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Advertisements

One thought on “Finding My Mom-entity | My Story on Identity Crisis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s