Because there is so much more to me beyond this title…
by Colleen Crivello
SHARE THE LOVE (& THE STYLE)
I’ve witnessed for years the initial reaction of non-parentals when I casually mention that I have a daughter – with wonder and amazement, they’ll ask me ‘how do you do it all?’ As if, based on my ‘MOM’ status, there’s no possible way that my life could go on or better yet that I could retain any semblance of my former pre-kid self. I must admit, I more than revel when they top it off with ‘BUT you’re so young AND COOL!’ as if immediately upon rearing children, you suddenly become some sad shell of your former self wherein all previous interests, music and style go out the door – never to be seen again.
And why is it that, ‘MOM’ is the first descriptor when being introduced to others; ‘So and so, is a mom and… ‘ or ‘Thought you two should meet – you’re both moms.’ as if our interests/endeavors don’t extend beyond motherhood. What about all the other qualities?? I.E. friend, confidant, business owner, lover, fun-maker, the list goes on… I’ve rarely heard a man be described first and foremost by the fact that he’s a dad – generally it’s about his business. And the worst part is, I think I am guilty of doing this at times too when I intro a girlfriend to someone. For example, ‘I want you to meet, Amy, she’s a mom of two and side note she’s the CEO of some major company that’s killing it…’ Almost as if the fact that she’s a mom trumps her major accomplishments as an individual.
As recently reported by ManRepeller, “People really want you to be one thing after you have a kid: a mom. I don’t want to be boxed in like that. If you’re a man, being a parent doesn’t have to define you. You go about your life and you have your career and your job and maybe you have kids or maybe you don’t and nobody knows. But if you have kids as a woman? People know. People care.”
Now, in my case – and tons of other women too – since separating from my ex I apparently would now be considereda ‘Single Mom’ a phrase I would NEVER use and don’t even really know what it means, but I do know that it adds a whole new dimension of complexity to the word ‘MOM’. Truth is, I’m NOT raising her alone as her dad is very present in her life, so why the emphasis on that, as if we’re not still raising her together? Then, add in the fact that I work, now it’s ‘Single Working Mom.’ Ouch. To add insult to injury, men are never referenced as ‘Single Dad’ or ‘Single Working Dad’ for that matter –generally the fact that he has kids is mostly overlooked.
None of this is to say that being a mom is not a gift and I’m fully aware of the irony in my case – first, for wanting to become a mom and second, for the fact that I run a mom lifestyle site only to end up being up in arms about being called a mom. The truth is I ADORE being a mom, but I also love all the other stuff I do and I don’t want it to be the sole defining characteristic about me.
Bottom line – titles are tricky. Especially when layered with double standards among sexes. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a rant on men but more a reflection on women. I savor the sound when my daughter calls me mom or mommy or mama and I actually LOVE telling people that I’m a mother – it’s such a right of passage. But I’m also fiercely focused on maintaining my identity outside of motherhood.
Here at MM, we encourage women to have babies and keep moving forward – both in recognizing the beauty of their new role, while not allowing it to become a stop-gap in their lives. However, in order to truly do this, it starts with us. Simple things like when having drinks with girlfriends, shift the topic of conversation away from babies/kids to personal and professional achievements happening in each other’s lives outside of being a mom – or there is always polarizing politics to debate these days! Point is, it’s our job to change the narrative. And if someone solely describes you as a mom or a single mom for that matter and it doesn’t suit you, correct them with a reminder that you’re also some badass something else.
As noted from Manrepeller “The handle of ‘mom’ seems slightly tainted to me, honestly. It’s all wrapped up in martyrdom and sacrifice. It’s not sexy. I need a new word.” So there you have it, perhaps it’s our job to make it sexy?