“Hi mom” I hear this often, from teachers, doctors, school children, and my own kids, of course. Being “mom” has become a large part of my identity. When I enter my daughter’s doctor’s office, for example, I am known as my daughters’ mom, no mention of my name, or apparent thought as to who I am, in addition to mom. Sometimes my identity as mom feels all consuming, leaving no room for other parts of my identity like, loving spouse or good friend.
It is not that I don’t like having a large part of my identity as mom. When my kids were little and they first started calling me “mommy”; I felt happy. I was mostly content and sometimes overwhelmed, with my new, found identity. Back when my children were newborns and then toddlers, I gave them sustenance, I snuggled them, changed their diapers and gave them lots of love. All I had time for was being mom and that was ok.
Around the time my first child was one-year-old, I felt the need to reclaim parts of my identity and to expand it. I took on a part-time job as a writer for Johns Hopkins. Being a writer became part of my identity. It appears that our identity expands and changes throughout our life. My identity as writer, came to me later in life, when I was already a mom and my identity as Adult ESL teacher came later as well. I started teaching when my oldest daughter was two.
Now my kids are in school and my role as mom has expanded to include, “taxi driver” and “logistics coordinator”. I drive my kids all over: to the library, to school, to ballet, to friends’ houses, to church and birthday parties.
According to a recent survey by carpooling service HopSkipDrive, 51% of parents spend upwards of five hours a week driving their kids around—and 13% devote more than 10 hours per week to shuttling duties. Considering the survey polled both moms and dads, we wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers skew even higher among women who typically take on more of that unpaid work during the day. (https://www.mother.ly/news/survey-confirms-moms-spend-a-ton-of-time-driving-kidsbut-there-are-alternatives)
As logistics coordinator: I make doctors appointments, schedule time for ballet and fun with friends, pay the bills, and more. Two additional roles for me as mom are shopper and chef.
I am pleased that dormant parts of my identity are coming back. I am blogging, hula hooping and walking the dog regularly. I am spending more time with my spouse, my mom and my friends. In August I will reclaim my identity as traveler and fly to San Diego for a week of fun in the sun and my cousins wedding! I feel blessed by my identity as mom. I am pleased and humbled by this, that I have been given two children to care for and love and they love me back.
I am grateful for my husband who supports my choice to work part time, thus allowing me to be “mom” and “me”. I am excited to see what new parts of my identity will emerge in the future. Hmm, maybe Rebecca, book author…