Excerpt from What Every Mom Needs
I Am What Others Need Me to Be
This season of life is a season of self-sacrifice, but as moms, we often lose our identities as we’re swept into the role of being a need meeter.
We can’t help but feeling sometimes that we cease to exist for anything other than meeting the needs of others, and we not only begin to identify ourselves in that way, but we begin to measure our value and worth by our ability to meet those needs. If my baby is good (sleep through the night, learns to crawl or walk on schedule, interacts well with other children), then I tell myself that I have met his needs and I am good. If my baby is bad (screams when I leave the room, hits other children, or flushes my watch down the toilet), the I accuse myself of not meeting her needs and I am bad.
For those of us who are married, meeting the needs of a husband can also peempt our own identities. We are the ones who support a husband through challenges at work and make employment transitions. We’re often the caretaker who makes sure he has clean shirts and socks. We advise him in his interactions with the children, and we may serve as his only close friend and confidante. As we focus so much of ourselves on him, our identity can come to feel like simply an extension of his. Or he can seem less like a life partner and more like another child. As one mom confesses, “My husband set up an elaborate plan to appreciate his employees, and I feel left out.”
While this may sound like an oversimplification, we often do get our identities confused with the role of need meeter.