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May 19, 2008

Missing: My Identity. Reward Offered.

Gayle Last Thursday, I stopped in at a car audio installer in Arlington to get my car looked at. My XM radio receiver, which I bought in 2000 and which is now in its second car, hasn't been working properly, and I've been thinking about getting an iPod adapter for the car as well. I'm definitely picky about music, and because I refuse to listen to terrestrial radio, I've listened to more NPR the last few weeks than I can handle. (Don't get me wrong - NPR is great. I just need music after a while, such as when Kojo Nnamdi is doing a special on biking to work, which I'd love to try doing sometime, but don't need to spend an hour listening to.)

So, I walk in, and a youngish guy comes out to see how he can help me. I tell him I an interested in getting some new equipment installed in my car. To set the scene: I drive a mid-size SUV (it's a hybrid, ok?), and I am wearing work clothes - black pants and a nice top that's not fussy or dowdy. He takes one look at me, and one look at my car, and says, "What do you need - a DVD player?"

Um, no. Not a DVD player.

This incident really bothered me. Do I just scream "MOM!" when people look at me? Not that there is anything wrong with looking like a mom... but do I? Is that the first thing people conclude about me? Don't get me wrong - I love being a mom. I love my girls more than anything in the world, and being their mother is incredibly rewarding and satisfying and at times, even humbling. I am honored to be known as being half-responsible for these two beautiful, funny, smart and loving little creatures.

But there's more to me than that. I have a job I love, and I have outside interests that bring me great pleasure, and I have friends and activities that have nothing to do with my daughters. I do non-Mommy things, like last weekend I went to go see The Cure in concert (by myself!). I eat Bottle Caps in bed before I go to sleep. More often than not, I go in the moonbounce when I go to my daughters' friends' birthday parties. And I find this site entertaining.

I guess what I am wondering is, should I care that people see me a mommy first, before they get to know the other sides of me (if they ever do)? Chief Family Officer considered this very issue last week, and questioned at the end of her post whether, as time goes on, even she will see herself as a mommy first? She thinks not.

Why do I have a hard time with this loss of identity, when I love being a mom?

Original DC Metro Moms post.

Gayle also blogs about books at Everyday I Write The Book.

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