The first time we bought an SUV (or, technically, a crossover, if you want to be technical), the strangest thing happened. When I drove it I began feeling like “a real mom.”
I don’t know. I don’t know what A REAL MOM is, you guys. But when I drove my mom car? I felt like one.
We bought it not long before I quit my full-time job to stay home with our oldest daughter. My identity was all up in the air during that season, and in hindsight I realize I was grasping at every straw that might put my new existence into words I could understand. Wearing T-shirts instead of button-ups? Running errands instead of PowerPoint presentations? Planning play dates instead of staff meetings? It all added up to stay-at-home mom and yet it wasn’t something I could reconcile with my own life, with my own reality.
For some reason, though, driving my preschooler around in that car did the trick. Behind that wheel, I knew who I was, who I’d become.
Do NOT get me wrong. Every mom is a “real” mom, and no car or wardrobe or employment status changes that one way or another. I was no more a real mom when I stayed home than when I worked full-time. And I was no more a real mom when I drove a small SUV than when I drove a sporty sedan. But there for a while, I was so unsure of who I was that I looked everywhere for explanations and validation.
I’m seven years into my life-after-office and quasi-comfortable in my current arrangement as part-time work-from-home mom and part-time stay-at-home mom. It does, as you can see, involve a lot of hyphens and in-between, but I’ve had time to adjust to the messiness this set-up brings. However, that doesn’t stop me from occasionally searching for ways to feel more comfortable and confident in my skin or from focusing on the outward appearance of other roles I want to play and the identity I want to own.
I’m a little bit like Spider-Man that way.
To read about how I’m JUST LIKE a teenaged superhero, join me at (in)courage.
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