Feeling 'lost in motherhood' is totally normal, but it's possible to find yourself again - Care.com Resources

Feeling ‘lost in motherhood’ is totally normal, but it’s possible to find yourself again

A TikTok mom inspired thousands with a vulnerable confession about feeling "lost in motherhood." Here's how moms can find themselves again.

It’s a phenomenon that many moms know all too well. One minute, you’re raising young kids and devoting every ounce of yourself to the task. The next, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, and it’s like you can’t even remember who you are anymore. Your likes and dislikes, your hobbies, your sense of self — it’s all taken a backseat to the Herculean task of trying to parent healthy, happy children.

Anna Shartzer, a popular TikTok personality and mom of three, knows this feeling all too well. Recently, she got candid with her followers about feeling like she’s lost herself in being a mom. Her viral confession touched dozens of moms who feel exactly the same way, and inspired them to ask: Once you’ve lost yourself to motherhood, how do you get yourself back?

What it feels like to lose yourself in motherhood

“I just feel like I’m never doing things that I want to do. I’m doing things for other people all of the time,” Sharzer says in a video that’s gotten more than 1.5 million views. “I’ve been a mom for six years, and I feel like this is exactly what they mean when they say you lose yourself to motherhood. I’m so lost in motherhood that I don’t remember what it is that I even like to do.”

Like a lot of moms, Sharzer says she struggles to find time for herself. Then, whenever she does have a few hours alone, she feels so disconnected to herself and her hobbies that she ends up doing chores instead of focusing on her own needs.

“I don’t know who I am. What are my hobbies? I used to like to paint. Do I want to paint? I don’t know,” she says. “What I want is a million dollars so that I can hire a nanny that my kids love, so then I don’t feel guilty leaving the house, they’re happy, and then I could have the mental space and the energy to remember that I am a human being.”

“All I know is that I have completely lost myself in motherhood to the point that I don’t know who I am,” she adds. “I don’t know what my hobbies are. I’m just a mom, and it’s really depressing.”

“Nobody has it all together”

Sharzer’s post hit the nail on head for thousands of other moms who feel like the demands of raising kids have cost them a relationship with themselves.

“I’m so robotic,” one mom writes in Sharzer’s video comments. “Cook food, clean it, do laundry, keep up with everything, decide what they eat, think for everyone in the house.”

“If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing and everyone around you is doing it better with fewer resources, again you’re not alone. Nobody has it all together.”


“Because I’m not the person I was before my kid, I feel like I have nothing in common with my old self,” another person adds. “I just miss her, and I can’t relate to this new version.”

Some moms even admit they feel so ashamed of allowing themselves to become “lost in motherhood” that they don’t feel like they can talk about it with their friends, partners or anyone else in their lives. But experts say this feeling is all too common, and there’s no reason for moms to feel like they have to face it alone.

“If you feel like you’re failing as a mother, parent, wife or friend, you are among the majority,” says Dr. Bethany Cook, a licensed psychologist and the author of “For What It’s Worth: A Perspective on How to Thrive and Survive Parenting.” “If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing and everyone around you is doing it better with fewer resources, again you’re not alone. Nobody has it all together. Nobody. And your definition of ‘together’ is someone else’s ‘hot mess’ or ‘work in progress’.”

How to find yourself again when you feel lost in motherhood

For moms who are searching for ways to get back in touch with themselves and figure out who they are outside of parenthood, Cook recommends devoting focused time to that pursuit. Here are five steps she says you can take to reconnect with your interests and get started on a path towards rediscovering yourself.

Reconnect to previous versions of yourself.

Pull out your old yearbooks and explore family photo albums, Cook says. Reflect on things you enjoyed or were interested in during various stages of life.

Focus on quality time with yourself.

“It’s all about quality time not quantity of time,” Cook says. “A 60-minute massage may refill you better than having your mother-in-law spend 24 hours ‘helping’. It’s also stealing those quality moments when possible.  Add an extra 5-15 minutes to your ‘trip’ when running errands; find a quiet place to park the car (or sit) and lose yourself listening to a couple songs that fill you up.”

“Therapy is a great way to reconnect the old and new parts of self post-baby.”


Bring in a BFF to help generate ideas.

Doing things alone might be overwhelming to some people, especially if you’re thinking about trying something new. “Brainstorm all the things you might enjoy doing with your best friend,” Cook says. “Then whittle down the list to what’s practical, accessible and affordable.”

Join a group.

“This can be online or in-person,” Cook says. “Just find other people with shared interests.”

Maybe it’s a book club or asking the people you always see in your spin class if they’d like to have coffee sometime. Whatever it is, Cook says a group can “allow you to ease back into ‘how to have an adult conversation’ on topics you already know something about and enjoy.”

Talk with a therapist.

“You don’t have to be clinically depressed to see a therapist,” Cook says. “Children require parents to make a significant and permanent shift in identity, especially for primary caregivers, who are often women. Therapy is a great way to reconnect the old and new parts of self post-baby.”