The Identity of a Mother Runner
Motherhood changes things.
Many people think that they won't be different as parents, but for me, a new component of my identity has emerged. Or perhaps, a part of my identity that has been dormant. Either way, the new role I play has created major shifts from the previous roles I had.
Concretely, I am home. While I'm working as a coach from home, I'm no longer journeying to an institution to do my work. I am no longer working as an art therapist and I am no longer working in a prison. These are enormous shifts. While my training and experience as an art therapist continues to inform my life, the way I interact with others, the way I coach, this is a role that I no longer get to claim I do (at least for the time being).
Beyond the tangible, there has absolutely been a mourning process for me once I became a mother. Mourning the loss of my old self, my old lifestyle, the way things used to be. Not to imply that a new version of me has completely killed off the pre-motherhood version, because I am still me. But I'm also different. The Tetris pieces that make up the whole of who I am include some different shapes and colors now.
The biggest thing that reminds me of who I am, what I am capable of accomplishing, the drive and motivation within me to move forward; is running. The term "Mother Runner," is so much more than a hashtag to me. It is the balance of soft and strong, determined and patient, flexible and firm, relentless and calm. Both of those words, "mother," and "runner," can be individually described using any combination of these words, they are almost interchangeable. But putting them together encompasses the identity that is forming within me more and more each day. A constant juggling and balancing act of opposing yet supporting traits. I love being a mother. And I also love being a million other things, too.
Maybe I am alone in this experience, but the traction of the mother runner says otherwise. To me, it says that many of us believe ourselves to be multifaceted...because we are. And it's okay to want to be a mother and have a career, and have hobbies, and work towards big goals outside of all that.