Google+ Mommy Moments with Abby: Mommy identity vs Non-Mommy Identity: How to develop some Mother's Day gift ideas!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mommy identity vs Non-Mommy Identity: How to develop some Mother's Day gift ideas!

So many mommies will be celebrated on Sunday and I thought it would be interesting to look at the dynamics of being a mommy. Once you become a mom, even if you do not maintain custody for whatever reason, you will forever be a mom at least in the physical sense. That said, not everyone who gives birth will take on the mommy identity. Many will, and for those who do, it will forever be what they are known for first. Often people will refer to you as a new mommy, then a toddler mommy, then when kids are older and have more friends you'll be known as (insert child's name here)'s mommy. Your name won't be used as often and while it will still show on your driver’s license and other communications and transactions will essentially not be vocalized toward you for many years. This obviously is not true if you’re a working mom where while at work your name will once again identify you, but you'll become just mommy once you leave that office. This is a very cool thing to me because it shows and respects what I am and who I am. It is my identity as my kids come first and are what I love to live for.

So, how does a mommy answer the question what do you want for mother’s day? Tough one, many of us will answer with something practical that is needed in the house or for the kids because it will take something off our list, those with older kids will cherish something made by the kids, some of us with small non-full night sleeping infants will think of a nap, and when all that is done crossing your mind the mommy will find herself thinking of things that are part of her non-mommy identity. The scary part is that for some the mommy identity has consumed the non-mommy identity where something not involving the kids or maintaining physical health with additional sleep will be the hardest thing to think of to suggest.

I put to you to ponder (if you’re a mom), when you strip out all the mommy related gift idea's what comes to your mind? Is it something simple that is self-indulgence like getting a mani/pedi? Is it something to feed your mind like a book non-family/child/house/or animal related educational topic? Is it something to feed the artistic side of you like time and materials to paint? Who is your non-mommy identity? I don't think it’s bad to have your mommy identity be strong and overwhelmingly present, but it shouldn't completely kill off your non-mommy identity because at some point kids do grow up, move out, and become parents themselves and you'll need to have the non-mommy identity to fill those extra hours.

I do think it’s bad when a person puts a pseudo-mommy identity outward. What I mean by this is they are called mommy by someone and like to show off their kids, but will repeatedly put their own needs and wants ahead of the child. Example: If you buy your child the latest toys, but when the child wants you to play with it you can't because you’re having your hair and nails done while drinking an umbrella drink then you is a pseudo-mommy. If you ask for help or suggestions to help your child, but when presented with an issue the child is facing and needs time and effort by you to correct and your reaction is that you can't because you need your you time to watch your shows or talk to your friends, than your a pseudo-mommy. I'm sure we all know some pseudo-mommies who never seem to know their children and are known not as mommies, but as their non-mommy identity. This doesn't mean a mommy can't have or do it all where they have a job or business that is successful, they are always put together because they have that job or business and need to for financial stability, or they occasionally go out sans children to do something. It means that a pseudo mommy would rather have a drink around the kids, leave to go maintain their physical appearance at the cost of the children’s activities and needs, and work long hours to achieve a personal goal while someone else raises their child when financially it isn't needed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not say us mommies have to look a mess, but you can take care of yourself and the children without sacrificing the children's activities, manners, education, or needs. It only takes a minute to put on some lip gloss and mascara. It takes a few seconds to pick up jeans or pants instead of sweats. Kids love to move so running, or yoga, or a million other work outs can be done with kids to maintain a healthy weight. Until older, kids go to bed early so a late evening/early night outing with a sitter while kids are asleep can still be done and kids may not even realize you weren't there despite being told it would happen. Most of these things though will be part of your non-mommy identity and only you can know who or what that identity is. I suggest you take a moment and think about what things you do during the day that is non-mommy things. Then, you will know what kind of mommy you are and what kind of non-mommy you are and maybe you'll find that there are things or areas of each part of you that you would like to explore or develop. I would venture to guess that any discoveries would lead to some interesting Mommy's Day gift ideas for you to give when someone asks that question.

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