Hello, I’m Mrs…
Hello, I’m Director of…
Hello, I am a Mother of…
I was fortunate enough to start my career with a small entrepreneurial company; where little did I know its prosperity and employee-centered environment, was not a ‘real world’ reality for most new graduates. During my years of tenure in a fast pace industry, with competitive and sought after human resources, my working title changed at a quick pace; each change coming with new position titles.
As an aside, my favorite career title was Director, Knowledge Creation. Oh boy, did my friends have fun with that one. I mean, after all they knew the gal who was in charge of creating knowledge! You do know that title became more ironic, after each glass of wine we shared.
Call it apathy, optics and admittedly inner insecurity, I really disliked the value put on titles. I was somewhat shy about the whole thing, knowing the impression of what a title means to those on the “outside”. There is usually an association to wealth, intellect, and responsibility with the few words below your name. It makes it too quick to lose the real value of a person that way. Also, having scaled back on my career to put more time into Thing 1 and Thing 2, (da kids), I thought it misrepresented who I was. I was truly a Mom first. But no business cards for that role.
Fast forward a few years and here I was no longer a Mrs., and no longer with a management title. Well, since titles are not a big deal for me this really should not have been an issue, right? Well low and behold, I was feeling completely lost and sub par without a bloody business card?!
I blame society, society and maybe Vistaprint – I mean, who doesn’t have a business card these days?
I had started dreading social gatherings, and if you can imagine, I do enjoy a get-together since good drinks, good food and good company are everything I stand for. However, I knew I would be introduced to new people or reacquainted with those from the past, thus entailing the usual questions posed during said introductions and catch–ups. “So, what do you do?” Ugh! While I am not usually short on words, my instinctive response of decades was no longer valid. I was not a productive member of society in the conventional sense anymore, or so that is what I felt. WTF do I say?
Oh, I had my go-to’s: “I spread joy to everyone around me. I am a lady who lunches. I do a lot, but if I told you I would have to kill you.” A few laughs and then, no, really what do you do? Um, stumble, pause: “I am a Mother of two. I am recently divorced. My division closed down, so I am unemployed and trying to figure out what I want to do.” Yes, that is one way to shut down a room.
I realize now this was all MY perception, and the fact that I thought people really cared about my state of nation that much (I mean my children and I were financially sound of course), was a little self-centered actually. I was not being judged by those around me, it was my mindset, but emotions are not rational. I was still adjusting to my new normal and building myself up again.
Obviously, I had not lost my title of Mom, and I am the first person to acknowledge that is by far the most challenging and rewarding “title”, I or any woman for that matter will carry. But it didn’t seem like enough? Isn’t that beyond ironic – being a Mom is not enough work! What was I thinking? I am a full time (as in the children are with me most every day), single, and actively engaged Mom. Um, yes, that’s a job. In fact, being a primary caregiver is a role which really is the foundation of an evolving, and functioning society; yet can be so thankless it is not deserving of a formal acknowledgment? Hmmm. Let’s all sit on that for a bit.
I guess I was always more in terms of formality – a wife and a valuable employee. My ego took a beating; I somewhat felt like I lost my other identities.
I think we put pressure on ourselves to conform to what we think society expects of us, even when they don’t really care. Life is dynamic. So your roles and “titles” will constantly alter, but embracing change and learning any valuable lessons from it, that… that is what really defines you.
The future will bring many title changes: perhaps a Mrs again, a few new letters behind your name, a new position, or even a distilled version of the old you, only happier and better for it.
And with change comes the opportunity of a new adventure…says the newly “titled” Author and Founder herself. I look back and think that my self-imagined identity loss was but just a moment. Now, I will forever be grateful to my pre-established life and support, so I was in a position to take some time to rediscover. I do realize it is not the case for many. But with that, I wish I did not create added anxiety for taking time out of life to be a little lost, and try something new. I should have truly owned it, supported it, and validated the concept.
Funnily enough, outside of being a Mom, even with a new title, I do try to live that same stripped down life I once joked about. I try to spread joy to those around me, lunch with the awesome people in my life and well, perhaps do those things that we dare not say ;). Let’s see you put all that on a card Vistaprint!