When we become parents it is common to question what our new identity is and where this new title of “parent” fits. For women especially, our identity can become blurred when we first become parents.
Having been a parent for nearly 45 years now, I don’t remember specifically having an identity challenge when I first became a parent. However, becoming a mother in love (in law) was a totally different story. What’s it like being a mother in law, what’s expected of a mother in law and what was my experience with my mother in law were some of the many questions I asked myself as I added the new title of mother in law to my identity.
As a parent if you don’t know your identity or have a strong sense of self esteem in who you are and what your value is then it is almost impossible to help your children understand their own value and discover their identity. It’s important to have a core identity that remains a key part of who you are and then other elements of your identity can change as you go through life. These can be going from being a person without children to having children, or from a parent to a grandparent.
There are elements of your identity that can change through life and as we mature, but the core of who we are needs to get deeper and deeper and stronger and stronger. So if you don’t have a strong core of your identity, of who you are then you won’t be able to pass that onto your children and it will be difficult for them to have a good self esteem.
The core of my identity is the fact that I am made in the image of God and that he loves me with an everlasting love. This is what gives me strength in knowing who I am. It makes me aware of how valuable I am and how valuable those around me are too.
Children are extremely aware of whether or not we have a strong self identity. I am not talking about an arrogant view of yourself but a genuine and humble knowing of who you are and why you are here on this planet earth.
If you’ve got a really good strong sense of identity and self esteem you will be humble about it. When you have to be arrogant about your identity, you are not very confident in who you are. The more we know ourselves and our own value the more we will begin to understand and value those around us.
My son Ben asked me what encouragement I would give to my younger self about forming identity. So here it is.
Really begin to understand how much you are loved and valued and as you begin to understand this you’ll be able to love yourself and love others.