Reverse Identity Crisis

Caryn: Wow. Feels like we’ve been a bit neglectful of our Revolution! Good to be back writing here. My excuse is that I’ve just gone through perhaps the crazy-busiest month of my life. Normally I enjoy my nice little homebody, introverted life, spending my days mommy-ing the kids while ducking back often to check email or get some work done. But for the past month (six weeks, actually)—since the release of my book, Mama’s Got a Fake I.D.I’ve spent tons of time on the road. Traveling to conferences, driving to speaking gigs, even driving to one place to be on a little TV show. That was fun (I’ll get a link up to it one of these days!).

Of course, I loved all of it. But then something weird happened, just after I finished taping that TV show last week. I had been away from home for yet another overnight and as exciting as it had all been at first, I was seriously getting tired of this “life on the road” (you know, the road ain’t no place to start—or raise—a family).

It hit me in the South Bend, Indiana, Target. I had stopped there quick before getting back on the road home for two reasons: 1. I wanted chai and oatmeal. 2. I felt guilty for leaving my kids so much and wanted to get them something. (Okay. One more: 3. Because the only other things to get them in South Bend are Fightin’ Irish things and I just can’t do that. Sorry.)

So anyway, while at Target at 10:30 am on a Monday morning, you see lots of moms and kids. Granted, I’m usually beyond annoyed when I have my kids with me at the big T (though, as we’ve noted before, it’s better than when we’re at the big W-M!), but seeing those moms and kids made me miss mine like mad! I got teary-eyed at Target!

So I grabbed some non-Irish souveniers, got my chai and oatmeal, and nearly ran to my car.

Here’s the weird part. It was in that same car—outside a different Starbucks!—six-and-a-half years ago that I had my first identity crisis after realizing how much like myself I felt after a brainstorming meeting with Dave Goetz (all detailed in the book!). This time, I sat in that car having a reverse identity crisis realizing how much I needed to get home to my kids to feel like myself again. Crazy, huh?

But since I’ve gotten to a better place, I realize this reverse ID crisis just supports my contentions about the “integrated life” we need to strive for. We need to have things in our lives that are just for us—that are ours. We need to do things and be things that God made us to do and be. We can’t deny who we are once we become moms. But, I think once we are moms, our mommy roles and resposibilities become so intertwined with who we are, that we can’t deny the ways that makes us more “ourselves” either. We need it all—meshed or intertwined or mashed up or whatever word suits you—to feel like and to be the real us.

I’m not saying we should have our kids at our sides at every waking moment or that time away from any one facet of our identities can’t be really good for us, but I’d love to hear about ways women have been successful at integrating their lives in the day to day.

Carla: A: We have been on a Journey kick at our house of late and I love the shout-out to the fabulous Steve Perry. B. You are so dead on with this.

No single part of our lives represents the whole of who we are, no matter how great or fulfilling or miserable it is. There is such a temptation to talk about life, ourselves, motherhood as a single entity, as something that stands alone. It’s certainly easier to give advice and make decisions and write articles and preach sermons when we distill something to a single point, but that doesn’t reflect the true integration and complexity of real life.

This is true for what’s best in us and what’s not. We can be a combination of success and failure, confidence and uncertainty, strength and weakness. That’s the beauty of being human.

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