Mothers are encouraged to retain their pre-parent identities. After all, our teen and early adult years are spent figuring out who we are, what we want in life, and what dreams we will follow. So many articles speak to the importance of realizing we are more than just mothers. They inspire us not to lose ourselves while we are busy mothering our children.

But being a mother is all I know.

Before I was able to figure out who I was or where I wanted to go, I became a mother. My firstborn arrived when I was a child myself. Becoming a mother didn’t destroy my identity. It gave me one. It’s an identity I am proud of. There is no former version of myself I miss. There is no resentment for being just a mother. Because being a mother is the best identity I could ever dream of.

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Fifteen years have since passed, and my identity has remained. And as I discovered more aspects of myself, they remained secondary to being a mother. I’m not a businesswoman. I’m a mother who works to give her children a good life. I’m not a bookworm. I’m a mother who enjoys reading to her children. I’m not a coffee snob. I’m a mother who needs caffeine to keep up with the demands that come with being a parent.

Jobs change, interests evolve, but being a mother is constant.

There can never be an identity crisis. I will never question who I am. To me, that’s what an identity is. It doesn’t change with each year. It’s not a personality trait or a college degree. It’s permanent, and it is true to the deepest depths of the soul. It remains even when we are gone from this world. It is what we are remembered for. 

RELATED: I’m Not Putting My Dreams On Hold—I’m Holding My Dreams

So when someone asks me who I am, I respond “I am a mother.”

And that is OK. It is OK to be just a mother. It’s an identity that brings pride and happiness. It’s an identity that lasts forever. Because when your children are grown and have left the nest, you will still be their mother. It’s not just a job or a temporary arrangement. Being a mother is for life. For me, it is life. And I won’t apologize for that.

It doesn’t make me less of a woman. It makes me the woman I want to be. It’s all I’ve ever been, and I never want to be anyone else.

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Katelyn Washington

Katelyn is a writer, editor, and parent to three wonderful children. She is passionate about environmental issues and human rights.

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