Identity Crisis: Mom or Self?


lex maui 2011

A couple years ago my family and I went to the beautiful island of Maui to celebrate a year of accomplishments in my job. I was excited to be winning an award in sales that year and proud to be bringing my husband and my then 18-month old daughter along for the ride.

While in Maui, we soaked up the sun by the pool and beach and mingled with several hotel guests. One guest in particular happened to be a fellow colleague of mine. I didn’t know her previously but she took a special liking to my daughter. We hung around each other for a few days talking, playing with my daughter, but still not knowing her personally, just that she worked at the same comapany.

As the week’s festivities came to an end, my husband and I got ready to attend my awards ceremony. I sat in the audience, so excited to be called up on stage as my husband watched. I was so proud that I was able to juggle both my career and being a new mommy because the juggle was not an easy one for me, that was for sure! (You can read more about my post-partum struggles here).

Finally, I hear, “Jenn Delekta!

I walked to stage to receive my award in front of hundreds of people. And there it was, all my hard work, struggle and “managing it all” were being rewarded. At that exact moment, my life felt full. I had a happy marriage, an amazing daughter and a successful career. I thought I did it!  I thought I was on top of the world, me… Jenn Delekta!

After the ceremony, everyone continued to mingle as I continued to bask in my accomplishments. Then the lovely woman from the pool that I had been friendly with all week, came up to me and said, “Congratulations! I saw you up on stage and I told my husband, ‘Look there is Allex’s mom.’ So, where is your daughter?” I smiled and told her she was back in the hotel room, and thanked her. But as she left my side I was thinking, “WHAT? There is Allex’s mom? Allex didn’t win this award, I did! Did you not hear my name, it’s Jenn Delekta, not Allex’ mom! So now, I am just Allex’s mom? But in that moment of confusion, my heart started to smile with joy. Ahhhh, yes, that woman on stage was Allex’s mom and that’s a name I am now proud to be called.

There it was, for the first time in my life, I realized that I am more than the girl I used to be. I am more than my work ackomplishments, more than a wife, more than my sales numbers, more than just Jenn Delekta, I AM A MOM and that was exactly what I wanted to be. It was a very moving point in my life. Maybe to some of you reading this, it may seem anticlimactic- but for me, it was huge. To be identifiled as someone other then who you thought you were for years, was life-changing.

There is something about being a working woman in a job and holding up the image of a strong, independent, “do it all” woman that seems not to mix with the stereotypical mother’s image of the soft, caring, nurturing (and strong) woman. But it’s okay that work and motherhood intersected and YES, I can be strong, confident, successful and at the same time be a soft, nurturing and caring mother.

Do you struggle with an identify crisis as a mom? Or hold many different roles/positions that cause havoc on your self identity? How do you manage?