To think that many women lose their identity when they have children.

(117 Posts)
Straycatblue Sat 30-May-15 14:13:07

Obviously your life changes when you have children but why is it that for some women they put their whole life on hold?

For example, one close friend whom I have known since our schooldays will not accept plans to meet up with me unless she can bring her children along, childcare is not an issue, her husband could look after them both in the day or in the evening. I love her children but she is my friend and used to be an individual with her own interests and life. It isnt just with me, she pretty much never socializes apart from with her children. She freely admits that she doesnt do the things she used to love doing.

Yes, put your children first, no-one is arguing that and yes they are an investment of your time and for some people the pinnacle of their lifes desires, but surely its not healthy to actually have no independent life is it so that your complete identity is mum and not a person with their own passions, desires and interests.

ItsTricky Sat 30-May-15 14:17:27

How old are her children? I didn't want to do things without my children when they were very little but now they're older I enjoy time away from them occasionally.

I think you're being a bit unreasonable. Most parents adore their children and it's not wrong to want to spend every minute with them, especially if they work and have forced time apart.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 30-May-15 14:19:39

Agree with your post. In this house, children's NEEDS come first, their WANTS do not, necessarily. Husband and I are a team and neither one is the 'uber' parent nor ever will be.

I think some women don't really identify strongly with their own selves before having children and latch onto motherhood as some sort of replacement for that. It's sad really.

It's not selfish to continue to work on yourself and your plans/hopes/desires and I think it's a very good example for children to see. Parenthood (not 'motherhood') is a job, it's a bloody important one, you're bringing up the next generation of adults and they need to be the best they can be, (and you would want that for them), not some kind of 'crutch' to fulfil needs in the parent that were never met. That is NOT the job of a child.

JaniceJoplin Sat 30-May-15 14:21:20

Some people are just more homely than others.

Gottagetmoving Sat 30-May-15 14:24:21

Your priorities change when you have children and many mums really are not interested in anything else,..it's just the way they feel. Not everyone is like that though and I think it is important not to lose all of yourself in being a mother because eventually you have to let go bit by bit. Having said that,..your children are little for such a short time and it goes so fast, so you want as much of it as you can
I don't think Abu but I don't think your friend is either.

ChablisTyrant Sat 30-May-15 14:29:35

When we have children we feel like they are part of us, not least because we carried them for 9 months. But it is important to gently let go of this idea and shape your own identity because your children will become independent people. The best advice my boss gave me before I went on maternity leave was to always remember that children are simply lent to us for a while.

VillageFete Sat 30-May-15 14:36:45

Chablis That was great advice your boss gave you.

My DD is my world, I love her more than anything, but I firmly believe my needs & wants are still very important. I love socialising with my friends, this will always continue, because one day she'll leave me. Then who have I got? Friendship & hobbies are so important.

I know a girl with 2 boys, she no longer sees her friends much even just for a coffee, she never socialises as in going out for a drink or to the movies with friends. She never goes for dinner or on a date with her Husband, she never wants to be child free. She lives for her boys. Some may think this is sweet, I think it's bloody stupid. She's going to end up very lonely one day when her kids lead lives of their own.

SaggyAndLucy Sat 30-May-15 14:40:43

I think it entirely depends on the individual. This mother chooses not to socialise without her children. Do you know what goes on behind closed doors. Do you know what goes on inside her head? Maybe there's a perfectly good reason why she doesn't want to be away from them. Maybe she just doesn't want to.
As for being sad, that's just your opinion LyingWitch.

How old are her children? Maybe she'll change with time, I've known people like this but they have reverted back to normal once their DCs are older, they have to, but it's a shame if their friends feel neglected and don't stick around. I think they sometimes don't realise this is a risk, or they replace old friends with new mum fridnds who tend to drift when they all start going back to work, leaving them without either set. I found it easy to meet up with friends with DCs in tow (theirs and/or mine) when they were babies and toddlers, it gets harder once they are old enough to follow everything you are talking about.

SaggyAndLucy Sat 30-May-15 14:46:12

surely a friend accepts you for what and who you are?

ItsTricky Sat 30-May-15 14:46:16

Your friend might also be a bit introverted op. Being that way myself, having young children depleted me 'socially' so I found I didn't have much left for anyone else.

Life with kids, jobs, house to run is a constant treadmill. Maybe she gets her kids to bed and just wants recharge on her own.

Hang in there op. If you can keep up the friendship without needing to see her a lot I'm sure she'll be thankful for it.

seaweed123 Sat 30-May-15 14:46:28

I think when you have children you really need to prioritise your time.

I find that I can't do everything that I did previously. Working all week means that weekends are precious, and while I do make time for myself, I have far less of it. In trying to fit in time for DC, time for DH, time for myself, time with both families, remaining time is pretty limited.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 30-May-15 14:48:58

Yes of course it is, Saggy, I'm not going to give somebody else's, am I? It's a parent's job to 'let go' of their children though and, if they selfishly hang on to them for their own reasons, then (imo) they're not doing their job.

mumofthemonsters808 Sat 30-May-15 14:54:28

I agree, I feel like I have lost myself during the last five years. I have turned down so many invitations, people no longer invite me anywhere. I'm a stay at home Mum, so I have no work colleagues to engage with.The only people I speak to are other Mums, so we chat about the one thing we have in commen which are our children. I lost my Mum, so out went the child free activities we enjoyed together. DH is either at work or playing golf, so I am on my own with the children alot. But, I'm slowly getting my act together, I went out with a very old friend last week and we had a ball. I've had a job interview, I did not get the actual job, but I managed to get past the application form stage, hopefully I'll get something soon.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sat 30-May-15 14:56:06

YABU. Maybe their identity changes. People change. Their choice.

littlejohnnydory Sat 30-May-15 15:18:16

I haven't lost my identity but my identity has changed. I have met up with friends without children but can count the number of times on one hand, in the almost eight years I have been a parent. I much prefer the visits where the children are there. I don't want to spend time and money away from my children that could be spent doing lovely things with them. They grow up so quickly and all the time with them is precious. It's a choice and not everyone feels as I do.

karbonfootprint Sat 30-May-15 15:21:28

YABU, it is up to her, isn't it. I don't think it sounds either sad or unhealthy. She doesn't want to miss out on being with her children to be with you, but she has offered to compromise by seeing you WITH them sometimes.

See them altogether sometimes, and find a different friend for your childless times.

Goldenbear Sat 30-May-15 15:48:42

YABU, I think some people are more maternal/paternal than others and it's not so much that they have lost their identity more that it's what they feel a 'natural' at. Some people prefer the identity of parent first and foremost than what was before, it doesn't necessarily mean they had a dull existence prior to children.

LotusLight Sat 30-May-15 15:50:38

Went back to work full time when they were 2 weeks and have always had a happy and lovely life balanced between children (5), a wonderful career and hobbies. People differ however. It would be a boring world were we all the same.

funnyossity Sat 30-May-15 15:58:50

I am a (sociable) introvert so that probably explains it but I loved staying in with my kids and then being quiet after they'd gone to bed. I wasn't sad at all! The worst was having to sort the house and make their evening meal before leaving them with a babysitter to go out - where is the pleasure in that?

Then when the teenager became belligerent I rediscovered the draw of getting out of the house of an evening! (And he cooks for himself now.) Now I'm ready to leave home and live in a college town..

morethanpotatoprints Sat 30-May-15 16:03:17

I don't get this loss of identity thing tbh.
You are who you are, children may change how you feel but you are still the same person.
How do people usually identify themselves? why do you wish to label people with an identity.

TarkaTheOtter Sat 30-May-15 16:04:42

I think some people don't like going out much and children are a good excuse. If you want to continue the friendship maybe see if an evening in would suit her better.

I felt a bit in mum-mode when both mine were under 1 but I think this was mainly lack of sleep meant I didn't really feel like doing anything. In both cases once they started sleeping through I felt like I emerged from it and embraced life outside "family" a bit more.

MrsTedCrilly Sat 30-May-15 16:07:10

I get what you're saying. I have realised this recently for myself.. I have a 1 year old who I totally adore but he is my everything at the moment and haven't had opportunity to do anything without him (no childcare). My partners work hours have changed so I can now take a few hours a few days a week to go to the gym and feel like just 'me' again! I love it when he spends time alone with his dad as they can bond alone smile

Ineedtimeoff Sat 30-May-15 16:27:39

I don't know if I have lost my identity since having DD but I certainly don't go out as much in adult company. In a lot of ways DD is an excuse for not going out. There are also financial costs to going out and to be honest I'd rather spend my money on a day out with DD and a mum friend with a child of the same day. By the end of the day I'm normally knackered and have no energy or money for adult stuff.

There is also the working mum guilt, DD spends so much time in child care that I don't feel it's right to have her spend more time with babysitters so that I can go out.

I really don't see what's wrong with that.

championnibbler Sat 30-May-15 16:41:37

these people are called Zombie Mothers.
i've known a few in my time.

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