When I first got pregnant, I wanted to be a wonderful mother. Who doesn’t? Once you realize that you’re going to have a child to love and raise, I would guess that the majority of women aspire to be a great mother and treat their children well. This can be evidenced by the billions of parenting articles online that explain, discuss, and even argue the best way to parent.
So, we all want to be good parents. But there seems to be an invisible line on either side, and if you cross it, you’re going to be judged. If you’re too bad of a parent, you’ll be called negligent and every other name in the book. And if you’re too good of a parent, you’ll be accused of being fake, sanctimonious, and—worst of all—making your child your identity.
Like I said, I’ve judged many women in this manner. I do believe that it is healthy and normal to maintain your own personal identity after you have kids, and sometimes it frustrates me to see women do quite the opposite. It’s easy to poke fun at sanctimommies that appear utterly obsessed with their kids and make it their life’s goal to raise the most perfect of people.
But recently, I got to thinking. No matter how you slice it, we all have something that defines our identity. If a woman is 100% into her kids and even considers them her identity, who am I to judge? Likewise, who am I to judge a hipster with a typewriter or an intellectual with a PhD or a Real Housewife of Orange County?
The judgy part of me says, Just you wait, sanctimommy… Once your kids leave the house, you’ll be all sad and alone because you never cared for yourself and established your own personal interests. You’ll be creepy and overbearing, and your kids will grow up to hate you.
Well, this may be true, and it may not. I do have separate interests from my children because it makes me feel more well-rounded and balanced. But the more that I think about having an identity as a mother, the more I realize that it’s not much different from drawing your identity from any other source.