I am having an identity crisis, I am not Catherine, I am “Harry’s and Lucy’s mum”. As a full-time mum, I’ve discovered we are often defined by our off-spring. Embarrassingly, there are mums I see every day and don’t know their name, but I know their child’s! So it’s no wonder we mums have an identity crisis!
But here’s a curious thing – before children, most of us had another life. After having babies, our identities become blurred, and we forget who we once were. When talking to other mothers we always seem to gravitate towards the subject of our children..nappies…puree…tantrums and the list goes on.
When I was young, free and single (about 10 years ago) I worked as a roving reporter in Hong Kong. Sometimes, when I am scraping lumpy yogurt off the kitchen floor, I have a flashback to my former care-free life. This doesn’t mean I crave it because I don’t. I feel very fortunate to have two wonderful children who enrich my life enormously. However, when I am singing a very animated version of “The Wheels on the Bus” I can’t help but laugh and think if my glamorous, former colleagues could see me now!
At the local nursery gates, you can drop your child off every day and never realise that the disheveled mum in scruffy trainers used to be a high-heeled high-flying city lawyer. I would love to ask every mum at my daughter’s pre-school what they did in their secret “other life.”
My current ‘employers’ are an opinionated four-year old and a strong-willed two year-old, sometimes we have a power struggle over who’s really in charge. Lucy once asked me if I had a job and I replied: “Looking after you”. But I don’t feel worthy to call it a job because I don’t work 9 to 5, commute, earn wages, gossip at the water-cooler or get a proper lunch break!
Before I was a mum, at parties, when asked my job, eyes lit up when I said I was a journalist. “How exciting!” they gasped. Now, when asked, I reply, “A mum,” and eyes wander over to the celery sticks and humus.
Being a full-time mum is both rewarding and challenging – a job like no other. We’re in a privileged position and full-time working mothers may envy us. However, we mustn’t forget who we were. I am going to make more effort to remember the woman pushing a pram isn’t just a mum, but someone who had another identity. Maybe we could talk more about our other life and we may realise we have more in common than just our children