My youngest child is in school now and in preparation I've been rediscoving myself slowly over the past few years. Have you gone through this stage in your own life? I think it's likely to happen after any big change...and the catalyst for me was my growing boys.
I can remember when I was in the thick of it with my babies and I needed something to wear to a party. I looked through my closet and everything was either maternity or pre-maternity and hopelessly out of style. I went to "the mall" and almost had a breakdown as I looked around hopelessly. I remember stopping for a minute and realizing that my problem was that I didn't know what I liked anymore! I had lost myself to this creature called "Mommy". I had transformed into a sweatpants wearing, spit up wiping, diaper changing Mommy who didn't even know if she liked that dress without the sales person telling her she liked it!
I'd say that was the beginning of a transformation and a long journey back to "me". I had to learn to be "Mom" and "Honey" and still be "Jen". "What do I want to be when I grow up?" Was a nagging question, but first I had to figure out "Do I like those shoes?"
I tried to learn to focus more on me while curbing the guilt that comes along with that. I subscribed to fashion magazines alongside my Family Fun, I gave myself permission to try new things, I got a few small jobs (none of which panned out, but they all gave me boost of some sort), I enrolled in school, I gave myself permission to drop out of school when it wasn't working, and I forged some new friendships that weren't dependent on my kids. None of these things helped me improve my house cleaning skills, but some things need to slide.
All of this lead me to my true passion...Art. My love for the creative started way back when I was choosing my college major (you can't get a job in Art! Be sensible and choose Psychology! Um, yeah, you can't get a job there either) Each of these baby steps helped give me the courage to finally try to make something of this "hobby". The reward has been confidence, passion, and a love for the job I do every day. I can try out my hairbrained schemes and admit when I fail. I can be "Mom" and "Honey" and "Jen" and "Artist" all at once.
I really saw how far I've come last weekend when introduced to someone new at a party. She asked me if I worked, and I answered "I work from my home, I'm a mom and an artist" It was the first time I'd said it out loud and I liked how it sounded. I feel like I'm getting closer to the "What do I want to be when I grow up?" answer...finally.