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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Women's Changing Roles

Wow has Blogger changed.  I guess it's been a while.  While not necessarily wanting to revive this blog, I did have some thoughts recently that I wanted to get out in writing.  Not sure if anyone will even see this post (except the ridiculous spammers who I still get occasional emails from asking to exchange links) but figured it would help me clarify my thoughts (which was one of the stronger reasons I used to blog).

So, since my last post quite a bit has happened.  I got married.  We bought a house.  And six weeks and 3 days ago, I had a baby boy.  Wow.  Talk about a life I don't even recognize anymore.  And as is the human condition, life trucks on and we adjust and forget about the life we left behind.  I honestly tried to remember last night what it was like to not have a baby and I had trouble conjuring it up. 

All this having a baby stuff has made me think a lot about the nature of being a woman and how our roles and identity change so much throughout life. 

My dad came to visit to see his first grandchild.  He was on the phone trying to track down his lost luggage (annoying!) and I overhear him telling whoever answered the phone his last name, in order for them to try to input his information.  I was surprised to find that I expected him to say the same last name as my married name and realized I was thrown aback when I heard him say my maiden name.  In that moment, I realized that in two and a half years, my self-identity had made a real transition to my married last name.  Which is ironic, because I remember early on in marriage really struggling with the loss of my identity and proposing to my new husband that we both change our last names to a neutral new last name just to be fair (this proposal was met with very little interest).  But the transition came and now I think of my married name as my identity.

Then, the baby.  All of a sudden, I'm mommy.  I refer to myself as mommy.  My baby recognized me as his nurturer.  My husband calls me mommy. Whoa.  And, as I haven't yet returned to work, I'm mommy all the time, 24/7.  There's no escape.  Whoa.  Talk about the biggest responsibility and game changer possible.  And it happened without a conscious thought - as soon as that baby was born and put into my arms, I instinctively knew I was a mommy.  My job was taking care of that baby, my baby.  I slipped into the role soundlessly.  And a little terrified.

Now, six and a half weeks later, I'm almost ready to go back to work, because to be honest, I need a little break sometimes.  Going from working full time and identifying myself in large part by my role at my job, to full time mommy was hard.  But I realize that no matter how many hours I'll spend at work (and I can't bear the thought of spending too many of them there), my thoughts will be with my son.  My identity has once again, been changed dramatically, as it does for a woman when she has a child. I will never go back to being the person I was before.

Thank God.