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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Something totally new: I'm a mom!

My sister-in-law and I were out trying to find a fun place to go dancing in downtown Buffalo last night. We were walking around the hip Chippewa part of the city and stopped at a club called Jade, hoping for some 80s music. We didn't find any, but we were chatting with the bouncer and somehow it came up that I live near San Francisco. He used to live in San Jose.

And then he asked me what I do in San Francisco. While that sounds like a simple enough and seemingly-innocent question, it has been a very touchy topic. Without a "real" job, I have had somewhat of an identity crisis. I wrote in March:
We are what we eat. We are what we do for a living. And what we do for a living, as a parent, isn't readily recognized as a glamorous, tell-me-more kind of job.
I have struggled with this topic since I became an at-home mom more than two years ago. But here's the kicker. Instead of hesitating, I just said, "I'm a mom. I'm also a writer."

There it was. It was out there. Instead of starting my answer with the typical "I'm a writer" part, I started with the mom part. That was a first! And it was very liberating to say out loud without any kind of apology. I don't know why it came out that way. I didn't plan it and I hadn't been thinking about it. It was just my natural, spur of the moment, honest answer.

Maybe I'm feeling good about my work. And my undernourished ego has been temporarily satiated with my new writing assignments. So perhaps I don't feel the need to embellish my life by starting with the usual, "I'm a writer." Maybe because the work is sort of steady (at least for the time being), and satisfying, I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I’m a mom. And I'm a writer. And I'm okay with it—in that order.


  1. I went to some trendy club that played too-loud hip hop a couple of months ago where the average age must have been 23. I am not sure why I was there. But the young boys would ask, "So what do you do?" And, it was such great fun to say: "I'm a mom to wonderful little baby boy!!!" They'd give a bit of a start. Hee hee!!

    I always hate that question "what do you do"? i mean it's never really indicative of the person i truly am. instead when you answer that question -- as in "I'm a software engineer" -- judgements and stereotypes are made. so somebody will ask me and i'll answer it and instantly i'm smart, maybe a little nerdy, perhaps i could fix their computer at home... who knows what else.

    It's but a small facet of my entirely charming self.

  2. Right after I had my daughter I went though this huge identity crisis. I was quitting my job and I had trouble adjusting to the fact that I was going to be just a Mom. I watched the show "My So Called Life" on Netflix while I as nursing (that was back when it took her 45 minutes a feed) and there's a point in the series when the father tries to decide if cooking is a hobby or a vocation for him. I went through this huge tailspin because I didn't even have a hobby that I could worry about like that... Since then I've slowly adjusted to the fact that parenting is all I do right now.