Last month I lost my job of 8 years.
8 years of being a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor(BF PC)-a job I loved and was challenged by, a job that was always under budget cuts and grants coming and going until it finally went. I was devastated. I was broken. I felt lost.
My job was my identity
Typically when you meet someone they ask what you do, and I always thought saying I was a BF PC was such a great conversation starter for this introverted mama. Once it was gone I didn’t realize how my job was so ingrained into how I defined myself. I would mindlessly scroll my social media and it would be filled with all the breastfeeding organizations I followed and it made me pause and wonder if it was still important to me. I think breastfeeding is the most amazing and sometimes complicating thing that women can do and so of course it matters-but in the context of a job? There was nowhere else I could go and I felt so lost and empty. I didn’t think my job was tied to my identity but here it was, gone, and I was left with my other part time job of cleaning and I couldn’t match that up with how I define myself.
I’m more than ‘just a mom’
A long time ago I attended a moms group and we each had to talk about what we felt defined us and what our purpose was. I was a new mom and at the time I felt slightly perplexed at each woman who said she was “just a mom”. As a new mom I considered that to be my title but I also still wanted to be me, Laura, and not lose who I was before kids. To be a mom is extremely purposeful, don’t get me wrong, and its an amazing joy filled and full of bumps and hard knocks adventure. As my daughters are in Jr. High and High school, what I have found is that they become extremely independent and have lives and agendas outside of mine. You know that its going to happen but when it does the idea of letting go is almost paralyzing. They grow up and become their own people and while I’m still needed-I’m not needed to the degree I was at the beginning stages of their lives.
So who am I?
I started to think of the things I like to do, the places I like to go and wondered if that defined me? I sat, pitiful and sad unable to think of what defined who I was. Are we or are we not our own worst critics?? I sat and said, well, maybe I’m sort of nice…and then I thought of all the people who don’t like me and would disagree. So in my humanity and failures I wrote the things that I do my best at being, that makes up who I am….
- I am a mom, but one day my kids will have lives of their own and while they will still need me, they won’t need me 100% of the time.
- I am a wife and even though I am not an awesome wife 100% of the time, Josh, you will be stuck with me 100% of the time(which is a promise not a threat)
- I am a hard worker in what ever job I am doing and though my current job is cleaning-it doesn’t make me less of a person because of the kind of work I do.
- I am kind, thoughtful, caring and friendly-even though its hard for me to “people” in my introvertedness(totally a word)I really really care about others and have a strong desire to help however I can.
- I will never be perfect, but I am a work in progress who has things to offer this world and the people in my corner of the world- and that is enough.
So tell me- what defines who YOU are?