Monday, May 2, 2011

Identity Crisis

Once upon a time I worked full time.  Then I had a baby.  I know that for a lot of women, at least according to all the books on being a stay at home mom I read, it is hard to transition from being a working woman to being a stay at home mom.  You go from feeling like you have a purpose and identity to feeling like your life doesn't have purpose and you don't have an identity.  At least that is what I read about.  I actually did not experience that.  I felt relieved to be able to stop telling people I was an "account clerk" at a large bank and I was under paid and under appreciated and not at all using my brain to its full potential. 

I was proud to announce to people that I was at home with my child.  I don't even try to dress it up.  In fact the more fancy your job the more mundane I tend to make my job.  I personally really like the good old fashioned "homemaker".  It is funny how many people respond to me as if I have apologized for what I do by telling me what an important and difficult job I have.  As if I didn't know it. 

I love my job.  I am not embarrassed by it.  When I tell a CEO that I am a homemaker I feel like I am announcing that we have the same job.  We both have challenging jobs with lots of responsibility and are not always appreciated by the people we are trying to help.  But I don't feel compelled to refer to myself as the "CEO of the Home."  I feel good about being at home and I feel like the fancy job titles women give themselves when they are at home is just an attempt to justify something I don't feel I need to justify.  I feel important at home and it doesn't matter to me if you agree or not.

Maybe if I had been a doctor or lawyer or teacher or some other notable profession I might have struggled more with giving it up but I wasn't and I wasn't sorry to loose my work identity and gain a more noble title.

Now I am back working.  It is part-time but none the less work.  And when people ask me "what do you do?" I find myself having an identity crisis.  What do I do?  Who am I?  I want to continue to be a homemaker, and yes I realize I still am, but part of me isn't anymore and to deny that would be a lie to myself as much as anyone else. 

If I thought my going back to work was temporary maybe I would feel different.  But I feel like my going back to work is long term.  How long I don't know but I do see myself working for many years into the future.  And big picture I am OK with that, I like the thought even.  But short term, I am having an identity crisis.

I guess it will be a process, just as everything else is, to transform my own thinking and be able to redefine in my own head who I am and what I do and be comfortable.  I always said that it was the working women who weren't happy working that were the ones that scoffed the most at my being home, the ones that were comfortable with their own decisions tended to be just as comfortable with mine.  So the sooner I get comfortable with my own place in my life the sooner others will be comfortable and then we can all move on with our lives because really what I do doesn't matter nearly as much as who I am.  And that I am comfortable with.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this post! I guess it's a little different in the military, because being a stay at home mom is most definitely not unusual, but I'm still met with that same almost apologetic response. Whether I had a degree or not, I have always had every intention of stepping away and raising my family as a homemaker.

    You'll find your title again :)