Thursday, January 3, 2008

Identity

There are benefits to having a baby "later" in life. Such as, while not rich by any stretch of the imagination, we do have enough money saved up that we didn't have to live on ramen noodles during my 6-month maternity leave. And, since a bunch of my friends are pretty much done having kids already, we inherited a lot of free baby gear.

However, there are also drawbacks to having a baby when you're 30, instead of at 22. For example, I like to sleep. I'm past the age when I enjoy staying up all night with friends or being out late for much of any reason at all (late is now defined as anything after dark, which occurs at 4 PM in Seattle in the winter). And I've grown accustomed to spending my money on makeup from Sephora, and it's hard to watch it all be diverted to medical bills and diapers.

And then there's the biggest challenge of all. The identity crisis. I've talked about this before. I suspected that this was going to be my big issue for the early stages of motherhood, and so far it has been. It's hard to take what I was before, an identity that I was happy in and comfortable with, and suddenly rearrange all the pieces. I know that daughter of God needs to come first (I'm working on remembering that), but where do wife, mother, toxicologist, daughter, church member, friend all fit in. In what order? And does it need to be something that is fluid, that changes as the requirements of the day change?

Sometimes it's so hard to get past other people's disapproval of things in my life. Past the need to be a good friend or daughter or whatever it is right now that has become so overwhelming. Because focusing on these things makes the other pieces of my life suffer. And that's not right. My goal for this year is to spend more time focusing on who God wants me to be and who He tells me to be, and less time on obsessing over my weaknesses in other areas in life. Part of me is a little glad for the current struggle that I'm having, because it's forcing me out of my laziness, making me spend more time in prayer and reading my Bible and less on watching the Real Housewives of Orange County. I know that when I focus on Him, He'll give me the wisdom to see where the other pieces fit. I just hope that I can actually remember that for more than 5 minutes at a time.

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