If you asked me to describe who I am, the first thing I would say is ‘a mum’. It’s in my Facebook bio and my Instagram bio. It’s on my blog ‘about me’ page.
I was 25 when I became a mum. While still pretty young compared to many these days, I was old enough to have been selfish about my own life – I had been to university and gotten a degree, started in my chosen career path, spent money, made friends, and fallen in love.
I’d begun to find who I was as a person and established my own set of beliefs and morals, and values. I knew what I liked and didn’t like and what I wanted from life.
And then I had a baby. In fact, I had four of them. Four beautiful, thankfully healthy, clever, kind, and lovely children.
I became Mum.
And all those wants and likes and dislikes, all those things I had established in LBC (life before children), faded into the background and became unimportant. My children were (quite rightly) the centre of my universe and everything else came second.
When introducing myself, I would firstly describe myself as a mum. It is in my Facebook bio, my Instagram bio, my blog about me page. I know many other women with children do the same. Being a mum becomes our identity, it becomes who we are.
We put this pressure on ourselves, but society also heaps it on. We go to work – we are described as ‘working mums’ – you never hear men described as ‘working dads’. We become ‘XXX’s mum’ at the school gate and at the doctors. We have ‘mummy makeovers’, ‘mums night out’, ‘mummy meetups’.
But is that all we are? I know while being a mum is a massive privilidge and I’m proud that it is a part of my identity, it is not my whole identity. I am someone other than mum. There will be a time when my children are grown up and won’t need me to make their dinner, wipe their bums, kiss their boo-boos, comfort them when they have a nightmare. They will be adults, living their own lives and forging their own identities. What will I be then?
I think as mums, we should absolutely be embracing motherhood as part of who we are. But I also think we need to remember that is not just who we are. We are so much more.
Who am I?
I’m a wife.
I’m a sister.
I’m a daughter.
I’m a granddaughter.
I’m an aunt.
I’m a friend.
I’m a writer.
I’m a graduate.
I’m a feminist.
I’m a teacher.
I’m a learner.
I’m someone who battles mental health every day.
I’m an Aston Villa fan.
I’m a woman.