#Beingamother project issue 34: What motherhood means to…occupation: (m)other


Welcome to the 34th edition of the #beingamother project! This week sees Lucy from occupation: (m)other talk about a subject that is very close to my heart when it comes to motherhood – identity. I love the metaphor she uses here to describe our identity and how is shifts as mothers in parenthood, but I don’t want to give too much away here…much better that you simply read on!  

I write a fair bit on my blog about identity and what being a mother means to me in the context of ‘who I am’, and who people think I am. When invited to be involved in the #beingamother project I thought long and hard about this question and I’ve decided to look inside myself. What does it mean and what has it always meant to ME. Becoming a mother, being a mother? So I’m stepping away from the external – the societal roles, proclamations of identity, and social context – and I’m taking you within..

Imagine, if you will, ME. Don’t think of me as a person, oh no don’t be daft. Think of me as a fantastical, sprawling, house. Built of stone, lots of chimney pots and possibly some turrets (I’m getting carried away). But the outside isn’t actually important. Come in.

Inside you’ll find a maze of corridors, both expansive hallways and narrow landings. And doors. More doors than you can ever imagine. Lots are open. An infinite number are closed. And some just an outline, not there yet but waiting to be built.

32 years ago I opened the first door. Since then I have built, found and opened many, many more. Some doors open to rooms that are huge – they take over me when I’m in them. Some are small, just a little bit of me. Some are beautiful, some are ugly. Most rooms are happy, lots are comfortable but some are haphazard and one or two are so scary I do everything I can to avoid them.

Each one is an identity, a personality trait, an emotion, a part of me.

In the middle of the house is a door I’ve often wandered past. This door has always been there and I’ve always been happy to know it’s there.

Two years ago I tried to open this door, and after a few weeks of effort it finally budged. Behind it was the most expansive and beautiful place I’ve ever been. The outside in…full of secret alcoves and hidden glades; old brick walls and majestic trees, tangled brambles and patches of wildflowers; puddles and sunshine.

Of course it didn’t always feel like this. In the beginning the beauty was hard to define, the skies would darken regularly and the brambles appeared menacing. I frequently searched but could not find the door to the rest of me.

Then, gradually, I didn’t want to find it. I made myself at home in this room.

And now? Well it’s still the biggest room in the house, the one I most want to be in…my favourite room…and the one that right now defines me the most.

I am, however, starting to remember and enjoy the view from the rest of the house again too. Old favourites are revisited, the furniture dusted down, and I’ve opened a few new doors along the way. Yet in all the other rooms the light and noise from Motherhood pervade. The door, now opened, will always be open. The essence of being a Mother spills out and the whole house sparkles with it.

Read more from occupation: (m)other on the blog here and connect on Twitter.

Read other #beingamother editions from other great bloggers here


  1. This is gorgeous, the best things I’ve read in a very long time, I’ve shared it EVERYWHERE! Thanks for giving me a new and beautiful way to see that being a mother enhances rather than obscures other aspects of my identity.

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment Robyn. I read it when I first saw my post published on here in the morning. To be part of this series was exciting enough anyway but seeing your comment as well completely made my day! I’m really glad you liked it, and thank you also for sharing…Lucy x

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Claire. I’m so glad you can relate to this. I much prefer the days that take me to the happy room…wish every day was in there! I think I need to add in a brick wall for banging my head against some days. Thank you again, Lucy x

  2. I love the connection between motherhood to the rest of you because we do grow and learn through motherhood and it is not just confined to being a mum. Being a mother has taught me more about being a person, being myself and life in general. What a lovely piece. Thanks Lucy

    • Ah Kirsten, I always love the way you put things. I completely agree, and I am often surprised at how much I have learnt (and am learning) about myself through motherhood…more so than any other life experience so far. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Lucy x

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