Who am I? - JJ Landis
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who am i

Who am I?

It’s Friday night. All my kids are home with me. I am happy. My sixteen-year-old is on the couch drinking a smoothie and watching The Office. My eleven-year-old and I just made some baked oatmeal to eat in the morning. My fourteen-year-old son is in the shower washing bleach out of his hair. Against my better judgment, I helped him slather bleach on his hair. We may be shaving his head later tonight – if he ends up with a crispy, orange hairdo. My husband is in his office working on a fun video from our vacation. While visiting our best friends in Illinois this week, their five kids and our three kids wrote a wacky script. Lee shot the video with his phone (he’s a ruthless director, by the way) and is putting it all together for them. All I know is it involves a rhinoceros and The Flash. Keep your eyes open for the YouTube link to show up on Facebook soon.

This happiness is real. Joy and contentment run through my veins.

At the same time, though, fear is bubbling out of my ears. I fear the future. I’m not necessarily worried about my kids’ well-being or their success and happiness. No, my dread is more centered on self. I am doubting my value, my worth, my place. Not being needed or wanted – it’s scary to think about.

It’s not like my kids are leaving me today. I’m years away from being an empty nester. My melancholy partly stems from my current job-hunting status. I haven’t worked full-time in seventeen years! The idea of a having a full-time job itself is not my problem – I have an education that is not being utilized, so it only makes sense to earn some cash. My problem, my issue, is my loss of self.

Who am I if not the mom to the resident little people, the one who takes care of everyone and everything in this house? Do I even remember who I was before I had kids? I wonder if my husband remembers. I wonder if he likes me, the me that’s not the mom of his kids.

Life evolves, and for the most part, we grow and mature as changes happen. But life is stinkin’ confusing and hard. Even when a celebration ensues, tears sometimes flow. Even during the growing season, things may die. Even when my heart is exploding with love and all the glory of motherhood, sorrow, anguish, and fear linger below my skin.


Photo by Roberto Tumini on Unsplash

  • Bev Landis
    Posted at 00:52h, 08 August Reply

    I, too, am going through an intentional and intense time of learning about how I am natured and what I value and what my interests are. Being in the thick of it for so long (parenting for almost 30 years with 5 children and a 15 year age span and having home educated for 19 of those years) and now at a delayed mid-life crisis of who am I really and what do I want to do with the rest of my life, I am at a juncture of caring for my self first so that I can become more whole and then be able to be an influence for good to those I come in contact with in. It is good to be gaining clarity and identifying who I am. Stuck no longer but pressing onward – less past, more future!

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 07:59h, 08 August Reply

      Less past, more future! LOVE THAT!!!!!

  • Alison
    Posted at 14:47h, 05 August Reply

    I relate to this, even though my youngest is only 8. Now that all 3 of the kids are in school full time, there’s this big question mark hovering overhead. What do I do with those school hours? It’s a question of vocation, and directly related to “Who am I now?” I was listening to a podcast with Bill Hendricks about role vs. identity. It’s so easy for our role as Mom to become our identity, when it’s really only a piece of who we are.

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 15:24h, 06 August Reply

      Thanks for this comment. So true!

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