Your identity

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Your identity
14
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 12:26pm
Maybe it's just me...maybe I'm too sensitive...but does it annoy anyone else when a woman identifies herself as "happily married" with no other description attached? For example, if you ever watch Wheel of Fortune, they always have the contestants introduce themselves at the beginning of the show. The women almost always say they are happily married to a wonderful man named so-and-so and live in xyz. If they have children, that comes next. Does that really tell us anything about a person? In contrast, I've noticed the single people might start with their job and include a hobby or interest.

Maybe it's just me, but I never want to get to the point where my marital status and mommy status is how I'd define myself. I do think my job defines me, but that's because it's such a huge part of my life. I'd include things like my interests, things I love, how I spend my free time (which, at the moment is being lazy).

Does it bug anyone else? Do you think we've learned to define ourselves better since we don't have that "married" title?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
In reply to: shywon
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 2:17pm
This has always annoyed me actually. I see nothing wrong with being happily married or a happy mom, but it shouldn't be all that you are. These types of women I find virtually impossible to be around simply because they seem incapable of talking about or doing anything that doesn't involve their man or kids or both. I'd rather die than have my world be that limited.

On the other hand I have met some really amazing women with husbands and kids that have a much larger definition of themselves. My mom's best friend is a perfect example of this. She spends so much time talking about the wonders of her career, hobbies she's exploring, places she has traveled to, and what she wants to do when she retires that you literally forget she has a husband and 4 kids. Generally if you want any updates on them you have to go out of your way to ask hehehe. Seeing how she leads her life tells me that even without a husband and kids she'd be happy and fulfilled. She's happy and fulfilled with them, but they don't sum up everything she is.
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Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
In reply to: shywon
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 2:26pm
I think that's why it bugs me, too. You really can't have a conversation with a woman whose identity revolves around kids and a husband. How is that interesting for more than a few minutes? Maybe if the kid had some awesome accomplishment or struggle, but most kids don't really have that much going on! A girlfriend of mine is always showing me videos of her daughter doing everyday stuff that she thinks is spectacular. Hmm...pretty sure lots of four year olds sing along to the radio.

I do know people who aren't like that. I teach with a couple of women who you'd never know are married except by the ring on their finger. One has twins and a third on the way, and I'd say she shares just the right amount of info about them. Another friend used to have no life of her own outside of her kids, but since leaving her abusive husband she's branching out which makes her far more interesting.

I just can't imagine spending my life with nothing more going on than a husband and kids to take care of. I want both of those things, but I would have to still maintain my sense of self. I think that's so important to our sanity!
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 2:32pm
And the most irritating part is if you're asking a woman about herself thats what you're expecting her to talk about....HERSELF. A husband and a child are separate beings.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 5:44pm

I think for a lot of SAHMs, that becomes their whole identity--it's time consuming and they are lucky if they get to the gym a couple of times a week.  I'm not knocking SAHMs.  I never was one because I would not be capable of doing it--I would have gone out of my mind with boredom, so in one way I admire women who can do that.  But I do think that when asked to identify themselves, most people will start with their job--if being a mother is your job, that's what you say. 

I remember having to go to a Tupperware party that my cousin had when she first got married.  I never like any of those kinds of parties.  I think I was married or at least engaged, but didn't have kids yet--I remember that all the women started talking abuot their kids and I just couldn't relate.  Now that I have kids, of course I like talking about what they are doing (if someone asks) but I'd also like to branch out to other topics.  Like you can still talk about politics, the Olympics, movies, etc. even if you have kids.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2012
In reply to: shywon
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 5:45pm

I can say that when you have kids, they really are the essence of your life.   Sure, the man is around but kids are just amazing.  

It does get tedious for those who don't have/don't want/BTDT but I was the happiest when my kids were around me and doing silly things that just made me so happy.   

Don't judge.   When you do have kids, there are so many times that you are just so proud, amazed and awed by who they are becoming. 

I do understand what you are saying.   I have friends who have toddlers (and my youngest is 12)   and I do oooh and aaaah over some stuff but in the back of my mind I just think...dear lord, save me!

Honestly?  For me the best thing I ever accomplished was raising 3 pretty good kiddos.  Still raising one  and sometimes she astoundes me because she is so different than the rest.

I was never ashamed that my identity was Mom.   And the ladies you speak of would say the same.  Yes,  I have many other sides.   But Mom was the best.   

I can't say sh*t about happily married, although I have been....but Mom...well that I am proud of.  Always have been, always will.

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Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
In reply to: shywon
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 7:05pm

IMO it is because of the tremendous cultural pressure put upon women to get married and have kids.  A male is supposed to gain identity by his occupation.  Cultural conditionants have a very powerful influence on values and behavior.

dragowoman

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
In reply to: shywon
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 8:03pm
Heather- I'm not saying kids aren't great. I want them myself very badly. But I guarantee you your kids aren't nearly as interesting to someone else as they are to you. I'm not saying that to be mean or telling you your kids aren't fantastic. When you're talking to other mothers about them, they really are probably just waiting to talk about their own. Just like you tire of hearing about the toddlers, they probably think they are the most interesting children ever created. I have to really filter myself when talking about my niece and nephew because I know they aren't as important to everyone else as they are to me. I hope that doesn't come across wrong because I really don't mean for it to. Even if I had kids, I wouldn't want to see my friend's daughter do a cartwheel for the fourteenth time. And I can tell she isn't interested in my niece because she always changed the subject to her daughter.

I have read before many times that the happiest moms are the ones who spend time doing things for themselves. From what I've seen, that is absolutely true.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
In reply to: shywon
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 9:36pm

I think you just answered your own question.

Your job defines you. Likewise being married and having children is their job. And, if she also has a career, that would be all part of it too.

I imagine if some miraculous day, I am married and have a kid in tow. I would start out with 'I'm happily married' and then the kid, and then my career, hobies, etc...Many times you don't want to hog the time talking about yourself. Realistically though since I've never been married I talk aabout other things but it has always been my desire to be married and have at least one child. BUT, I'm at a place in my career where I'm reasonably established and satisfied, I don't know if I would compromise my career for a man since I've never had a man that stuck around too long.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
In reply to: shywon
Sun, 08-05-2012 - 9:40am
Yes, it bugs me for all of the very same reasons it bugs you. It's as if they're listing off an accomplishment of some sort . . . Although, to look at it from their point of view, if I were married I might say the same thing. It's like a nod to the hubby that they're "happily" married and not just existing inside of a marriage. If I were married, I guess I could also phrase it as "I'm X from X, X and I have a wonderful husband and X number of kids. I do X for a living."

It's like when actors or actresses accept their awards, and the press gives them a hard time if they forget to thank their spouses. If I was married and went on WOF, I would want to give a shout out to him in some form or fashion as well as, my kids, if I had any.
Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
In reply to: shywon
Sun, 08-05-2012 - 10:23am
It might also bug me because sometimes it seems like certain people say it as a way to show a status they believe they have. As in they think they're better because they are married and not single. I know that's not everyone, but I've encountered enough people who believe that way that I'm aware of it. I teach with someone who is 47 and desperate to find her second husband. She has a specific idea in mind of who he needs to be, and won't accept anyone who can't elevate her to "wife with a catch of a husband" status. She's negatively influenced my self-esteem a lot over the last 11 years, so I hear her influences a lot even though I try to ignore them. There is also the societal pressure that says being married is better. It's easier to ignore, though, and I think that's slowly changing.

That's why I like it here. I don't ever feel that pressure, except when someone married shows up and tries to bless us with their superior knowledge of dating. That kinda ticks me off, but I've got the rest of you so I can handle it!

Cfk- I'd maybe introduce myself the same way, but I'd really try to slip in something about me to describe myself that is unique and not exactly what everyone else is saying. I hate being just like everyone else!

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