Prior to having children I was a strong, independent advertising executive, whose thoughts and ideas were valued. I then had a child and suddenly I changed from being Joanne Nicholson into being (insert relevant child’s name)’s Mum.
No longer did I spend my days being able to articulately justify how and why things needed to be done, I was instead faced with a child or children who if they didn’t agree with my sentiments just cried and screamed. I used to envy that if my husband had an issue at work he could calmly and rationally reach a solution with his colleagues, whilst I was left to spend my days with a tribe of small people who seemed to derive pleasure from watching me pull my hair out! My husband managed to complete projects and was rewarded for his efforts with a paycheck each week. Successful completion of my job meant that the kids were fed, entertained and kept safe, while keeping the house clean with food in the kitchen and clean clothes in the wardrobe – all for the princely sum of a big fat zero. It was certainly a hit to the ego!
Even though the days were long, I wouldn’t have swapped it for the world, but I did have an issue with the fact that I no longer seemed to have an identity that did justice to the hard working conditions I had to now work under.
I remember attending a reunion at an advertising agency that I worked at, when an ex-colleague came to have a chat and asked ‘What are you doing now?’ A number of responses bounced around in my head ‘I’m CEO of my household’ seemed lame, ‘I’m a full time domestic goddess’ screamed diva, so I settled for ‘I’m just a Mum at the moment’. Without any exaggeration, he literally mumbled ‘Oh,’ and then turned his back and walked away. I have never felt more worthless than to witness his reaction to me being a Mum.
In hindsight I felt that if I had said I was a full-time nanny, I would have had a legitimate career – but to be fair, nanny’s get to knock-off at the end of the day to go home, a full-time Mum doesn’t have that luxury.
When all is said and done, I’m really not sure why we are all so consumed with pigeon holing people by a title. Your work doesn’t define you – your opinions, attitude, ethics, honesty, loyalty, sense of humour, friendships, ability to love and be loved – these are the things that define you!
With increased maturity and less insecurity, I have learnt to embrace my role as a mother. It is my responsibility to shape the future generation, which is far more important than placing ads which are realistically just an inconvenience to people when watching their favourite show or reading a trashy mag. I can now hold my head high and admit proudly that I am mother, and yes I don’t get paid for my hard work; because what I do is priceless!