I Lost Myself Somewhere in the Middle of a Bluey Episode

Yes, it’s easy to forget who you are when you’re a mom. And also: it's okay if your children are the center of your world right now.
identity changes while raising a toddler

Whenever someone asks me to share a fun fact about myself, I cringe and panic.

It’s a fact, but is it considered “fun” that I am a mother of four? This is usually my default answer since so much of my identity has become enveloped in motherhood.

Is it “fun” that I …

juggle a full-time demanding corporate job and being a mom of four?

… am president of the school’s Parents’ Club and really know my way around a classroom party

… have seen every episode of Bluey? (Highly recommend it, especially S3 E24.)

… self-care by cuddling with kids on the couch while watching Bluey?

… spend my evenings at toddler swim, dance, gymnastics, soccer and Pee Wee football?

… could drive through my suburbs blindfolded? (Don’t worry, I won’t.)

… could win trivia contests on topics ranging from child eczema to pelvic prolapse?

… make a stunning Shutterfly album?

… know the best places to shop for the latest 3T fashions?

… know which fast-food places will get our drive-thru orders right the first time?

… have a social calendar scheduled to the minute? (Not mine. My kids’, of course.)

… get inspired by Facebook groups like Smart Moms Planning Disney

I guess the answer to each of these depends on who I ask, doesn’t it? 

But, unless it’s a mom circle or my own mom, I won’t be the most interesting person in the room. Or even one of them. I see the polite, but uninterested smiles on my young colleagues’ faces and imagine the same look on my younger self.

After all, before having kids I used to travel to fabulous destinations that didn’t require BabyQuip, Genie+ and on-the-go coloring books.

I also gathered tales that now are best left untold. (Hint: mature content.) It’s the tale of two Shaunas. Before kids; after kids.

Now, my identity is connected and reliant on my children’s identities. Their hobbies have become mine? Bluey enthusiast. Soccer mom. Football mom. Swiftie mom. 

And I start to wonder …

Should I be further along in my career?

Should I be training for a marathon?

Should I be taking a culinary class?

Should I be growing wine grapes (or anything in that planter box besides weeds)?

Should I be trying out for community theater?

Should I be remodeling a bathroom?

Should I at least be reading a book?

I even struggle to find topics to discuss with my husband during our rare date nights, other than schedules and the kids. Could it be possible that I am the least interesting person in this (or any) room? 

I’m not even interested in myself.

Back to answering that fun fact during that work meeting. 

I predictably tend to mumble something like “mom of four” or spice it up with “mom of four children who have 15+ combined activities”. Sometimes, when I’m feeling extra cringey, I’ll resort to a historical fun fact such as “I like to paint!” (which was true a decade ago). I immediately promise myself to find a hobby, even though I have zero free time.

But then, the moment passes. 

It’s back to tall tales from Pre-K, math flashcards, milkshakes in the car ride home from soccer, Barbie dolls and mermaid tails, Pokémon cards, youth football stands, muddy knees, and Taylor Swift songs.

My three-year-old puts her little hand on my cheek while cuddling up in front of Bluey, and suddenly marathon training doesn’t feel like a path I want to start today. 

Right now, these kids are my interests, and their hobbies are mine too.

This is the life season I am in, and it’s time to be okay with – no, embrace – it. I am a mother, first and foremost. And despite all the frustrations and stresses that come with it, I love mothering … more than I’ve ever loved anything else.

Motherhood is filled with challenges, curve balls, setbacks, and the biggest of wins. 

Every day, I am evolving and growing in this role. With each child, season, and stage. What’s more, my growth as a mother directly impacts my growth as a human.

I can’t say that about any other hobby or passion project. The skills I’ve built through mothering far outweigh paint strokes or a marathon pace. Like time management, problem-solving, conflict resolution, patience, acceptance, mentoring, and understanding what matters and what doesn’t. 

These are skills that make me better in my professional career, in marriage and friendship, and more. These are skills that will stay with me long after my legs are too tired and old to run.

Mothering has taught me to be kinder and more inclusive and, in turn, I try to teach my children to live that way too.

They show up for each other and their friends, they stand up for people who need it. Ultimately, these four little people will shine a light wherever they go – in our little community and beyond. They are my legacy, and I am so lucky to be a mother. Their mother.

Sure, there may be time for painting and marathoning later – I won’t rule it out. But for now, when I think about the joy that mothering brings me, the lessons I’ve learned, and the growth that comes with it, I’m proud to say that I’ve found my calling.

We mothers need to be kind to ourselves. 

Our lives today don’t look like they did before, and they shouldn’t. We are growing and nurturing humans. It really is the most important job, and what could be more fascinating?

That’s not to say we shouldn’t carve out time for self-care and other interests – to do things that make us happy outside the home. By all means, paint a landscape or train for a marathon if that’s your thing. But our to-do lists are long enough, and the years are so short, why go chasing something that’s not calling?

For me, “Mommy”, “Mama”, “Mom”, and even “MO-O-O-M” are the calls that matter most, right now.

So, the next time I’m asked for a fun fact? Easy. I’m a mother, and damn proud of it. I’ve never liked running anyway.


  • Shauna Brueggen

    Shauna Brueggen is an executive at a public relations firm. She has spent her career connecting brands to the audiences they serve. She has always been a writer at heart and is honored to contribute to The Mother Chapter. She has four children, ranging from toddler to tween, and leans on a sense of humor to manage the constant chaos. She's passionate about mentoring new mothers and fostering supportive communities.

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