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Re-Inventing Myself

October 15, 2012

One of the things I’m still coming to terms with in this new career is a shift in how I define myself, and in how others define me. It’s not exactly an identity crisis­­––more of an identity quandary.

In recent years, I have defined myself as a wife, stay-at-home mom, writer, singer, and actress. Now that I’m employed full-time, all that has changed.  I have no time for novel writing, I quit my band because rehearsals and gigs took away from my now-limited family time, and goodness knows there’s no time for theatre in the near future.

While I’m no longer a stay-at-home mom, I still feel connected to my kids because I’m lucky enough to teach at their school. Still, I’m now one of those “working moms,” the ones unavailable for field trips and who make their kids pack their own lunches.

As for my “wifely” role, while I would never have called myself a domestic goddess, the current state of my home is proving that I did more than I (or my husband) thought when I wasn’t working. And I can’t tell you the last time I cooked a real meal. Thank goodness for husbands who like to cook! Unfortunately, this leaves me feeling like a bit of a failure on the home front. At least I only feel this way when I’m at home.

Oh. Wait…

I miss my former identity. I miss listening to talk radio while I clean my house. I miss the accomplishment of figuring out the next step for one of my characters, and the roller coaster of querying agents. I miss dressing up and crooning a song in front of strangers. Nowadays, instead of heels I wear shoes appropriate for playing Four Square.

When my first baby was born and I left the corporate world for motherhood, I noticed that the quickest way to kill a conversation at a party was to admit I was a stay-at-home mom. Whoever I was talking to would pat my arm and say, “That’s so important,” then escape as quickly as possible to find someone more interesting. A few nights ago, while attending a local theatre production, I had a similar experience. Except, this person didn’t even bother with the “that’s so important” line. He just responded with, “Well…I see your husband all the time,” and took off. And this was a person who used to think I was pretty neat. But, I guess that was when I was entertaining the masses, not simply spending my days in a classroom.

I’m not saying I dislike my new teacher identity. I’m just still trying to figure out how it defines me. I think what I’ve liked about the things that defined me in the past was that I was never a typical anything. I was the mom who sang with a band. I was the flirty singer who was happily married. I was the Christian writer who didn’t write typical Christian novels.

Another forty-something blogger I follow is also struggling with identity.  She calls it “reinventing herself.” I think she’s got something there. Thinking along the lines of “invention” instead of “definition” sounds more creative, more like I’m in control instead of having outside parameters placed around me. Rather than feeling placed in a box and letting that get me down, I feel more like I’m rising to a challenge.

Which is a much better example to set for kids, don’t you think?

  1. You will never be a ‘typical’ anything. You are not a ‘typical’ teacher. Ask your kids who’ve made donuts and mummified chickens in the last month. God made you to be uniquely YOU, and no matter what job you have ever been given, you have always enhanced it with your own ‘unique’ style, which you do so beautifully.

  2. Today, I received “The Lovely Blog Award,” and I have the opportunity to pass it on. I love reading about your successes as a first year teacher. Here are the rules if you choose to accept:

    • First off, thank you so much for passing this along to me. I’m flattered! I’m sorry it took me so long to reply. Is it too late to accept? I’d love to do it.

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