How not to lose yourself...or how to find yourself if you get lost...

09.20.20 01:20 PM Comment(s) By Adrienne Towsen

When you become a  mom, it  quickly becomes your number one identity. As working moms, I think our career is then a very close second, and it certainly can be a challenge to manage at times. This is always a recurring theme as we cover different topics on the blog.  You have a life that may be centered around a career and/or a relationship with a spouse or significant other, but when that baby arrives, he or she is now the main priority. We figure out how to make it work as best we can, and we spend all hours of any given day as mom and many of those hours also as whatever job title you have. I am Danielle and Kayla's mom above all else, but with the nature of my career, I am also always Dr. Towsen. Does that leave any time for me to be Adrienne? I do not have the added title of wife as I have been divorced for 17 years, but for many working moms, being also a wife adds one more layer to this rather complex identity we have. Maintaining your own identity is important as well and will most likely make you a better, mom, career woman, wife, etc.

Dr. Towsen becomes Mom...with Danielle (born in 2000)..I was in my 3rd year of orthopedic surgery residency

And with Kayla (born in 2002)...during my 5th and final year of residency

So how do we do we do it all and not lose ourselves? I am not sure if I have the answer. I think we very willingly and happily focus on our kids and our role as mom which we chose to take on. We love them more than anything and want the best for them always. We know that, in part, our work is a means to provide for this, and it may also be something which helps keep us balanced. If you have a career before kids, then it can be an identity you are proud of and worked hard to achieve. Even if it is not a dream career or job, it is something that we need to do to be fulfilled and provide for our children. If you are a multi-income household, there may be less stress in that regard, or maybe not, but either way it's a responsibility. This can lead to a feeling of being trapped at times and just being the hamster on the wheel day in and day out. We can make time here and there for a spa day or to exercise or grab lunch with a friend, but perhaps all the while thinking "I better make this quick because I have so much else to do".

We can hopefully take some time for vacations and other fun activities, but we are still doing that most of the time as mom and probably wife/significant other as well.  

I think trying to have a hobby or some type of interest which is just for you is so important. I have many shared interests with my daughters and we have had many amazing experiences over the years. As you may have read in my blog 2 weeks ago, I have also always supported their interests, hobbies, sports, etc. I do not feel like I ever truly lost myself as I was so happy being a mom and a surgeon. As kids get older and develop their own lives more, I think that can be the time when you find yourself again. While I never truly felt lost, I think I found myself again just over 2 years ago when I started ballroom dancing. With 2 daughters in their late teens...driving, finishing high school, having their own social lives and soon to be off to college, I now found "free" time that I did not used to have. I realized I was soon to have lots more of this free time as they both went off to college, so I found something to fill that time which has become a true passion and without a doubt my third identity. 

It just so happens to be National Ballroom Dance week this week... what better time to talk a little bit about how wonderful it can be to learn something new and have it become a passion, I have always been a fan of ballroom dancing, and I decided to try it, thinking it could be a fun way to spend time and meet some new people. It started out that way, but quickly became so much more. I was very fortunate to begin a lesson program with an incredible instructor, Roberto Guida, and then learned about the world of pro-am competition. I had no idea this was a thing you could do! I did my first competition with my teacher just a couple of months after starting the program, and I was hooked. It was an amazing experience. I now had something I could do for me that I loved. It even allowed me to travel to Boston, where my older daughter goes to college, on more than one occasion for competitions and then get to see her at the same time. My kids and my mom have supported me and been present at several competitions to cheer us on. My schedule with dance evolved into lessons 3 evenings a week and a competition about once a month which involved travel to lots of great cities and even to Canada and Italy.  Roberto was able to start with someone who had never danced before and turn me into a dancer over the past 2 1/2 years. It is a very special and unique sport and I am so grateful to have it in my life. 

The pandemic has changed a lot of things including the dance world, so there have been no competitions recently and things are very different overall. Hopefully before too long, there will be a way to resume and get back to "normal" with all aspects of our lives.  I miss this very much, and I realize even more now, how wonderful it was to create this next chapter in my life as the mom of grown kids. I think it is certainly easier to truly "find yourself" again once the kids are independent. However, I think it can be scary for some, and there may not be a clear path ahead. Of course work is still there, so maybe you transfer more of your time back to this. Better still, in my opinion, try to  find something that excites you. If you had something in the background all along, make it a new priority, or maybe do what I did and find something new. I had no idea that I could find such an incredible passion for something I had never done before at age 47.  I am so thankful for Roberto and ballroom dance, and my hope is other working moms will see this and go out on a limb, try something new, follow a dream and find a passion. You raised your kids and you worked the whole time spend some time just being you.❤️

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