For the past year, I have been actively working on my recovery. Working a 12-step program, seeing counselors, seeking group and individual therapy, working with a mentor, reading self-help and motivational literature, writing—you name it, I was probably willing to try it. It was a no-holds-barred attack on the compulsive thinking that was ruining my life and hurting the ones I loved the most.
At some point I lost the “me” in “Mommy.”
Once I was deep in the self-work, a curious thing happened. This former workaholic lost all interest in working outside the home. I loathed going to my job, even though I loved what I did. All I wanted to do was be at home. I wanted to just be me—specifically, I just wanted to be Mommy. We were due to move in a few months, and as soon as I hired my replacement, I could stop working. I was really looking forward to it.
Work had been my identity, my salvation, one of my drugs—a way to compensate for the ugly stuff inside. This particular job had also led to my “rock-bottom” that catapulted me into recovery work. Being there every day reminded me of the awful things I’d done—something that isn’t so conducive to forgiveness and healing.
Since I was all about self-examination, I wondered if this complete 180 was healthy. Going from obsessive workaholic to dreading the office couldn’t be healthy. I discussed it with my therapist and we agreed that maybe I needed this drastic change. I’d been a pretty shitty wife and mother before working on recovery (my opinion, not hers). Maybe I needed to immerse myself in the other end of the spectrum before I could work my way back to a healthy balance of taking care of my desires while caring for my loved ones. I was satisfied with this and was sure at some point I’d just naturally find “me” again.
Except, I didn’t.
One year later, I don’t really have an identity besides “Mommy.”
My life revolves around my son. I spend my days playing trains, watching PBS Kids, reading Golden Books, working on letters and numbers and making sure he doesn’t put holes in the walls with trucks. I take him to playgroups, tumbling class, museums, zoos, parks and other activities to make sure he has plenty of socialization.
But that’s it. That’s all I do, besides sitting on Facebook in between those activities. I don’t know what Sara is about anymore. I got rid of the yucky stuff, but haven’t filled those gaps with healthy stuff. I feel like I’m floundering. And when I lay in bed at night and feel like a failure as a mommy, I realize that’s saying I’m a failure as a person, since mommy is my only identity.
Something’s gotta give. I can’t be “just” mommy anymore. I need to be me, too.
This post was submitted by an Anonymous Sober Mommy.