When I got married, I decided to hyphenate my name. I just wasn't ready to give up my own identity for a few reasons: 1. I'd been Karma Bryan for close to 31 years; 2. My husband and I are in the same industry and I felt it was awkward taking his name and dealing with other vendors; and 3. My family name, Bryan, has a very interesting history (it's actually my Grandmother's maiden name... but that's for another post!). Needless to say, I felt very attached to my name. So I proudly maintained my "Bryan-ness" and became officially, legally Karma Bryan-Ingle.
Now fast forward 4 years to when I had my son, Evan. All the efforts I had made after my marriage to maintain my own identity were thrown out the window the minute he was born. I was no longer Karma, Karma Bryan or Karma Bryan-Ingle. I suddenly took on a brand new identity and became known simply as "Evan's mum"!!!! I didn't actually notice this bizarre transformation right away. But as he got older, started daycare, started meeting little friends and doing activities, I started to become aware of this shift. I think this is not unique to me by any stretch. In fact, I, myself, am guilty of stripping other women of their identities. Case in point... a couple of weeks ago I picked Evan up at daycare and started talking to a woman I didn't know. I actually said to her "You must be Freddy's mum... I'm Evan's mum"! Surely she has another identity, although still to this day I have no idea what it is. I wonder if she feels like I do.
This also leads me to wonder about people like Julie Cole, one of the four fabulous women who founded Mabel's Labels (www.mabel.ca). She is a mama to 6!!! I wonder how she remembers at any given moment what her identity is! Does it become confusing? How do you keep those multiple personalities straight? Just another reason to admire the strength of such an individual... not only does she have 6 identities (or actually 7 if you include her pre-kidlet one), that I believe she actually manages quite successfully, she also, at the same time, carries on an incredibly successful career! Phew... makes me pooped just thinking about it!
So, I leave you with these thoughts... I don't know why this happens to us but it does. Perhaps it's because people are uncomfortable having their kids call other adults by their names so it just seems easier to say "this is Evan's mum" or "Hi, Freddy, I'm Evan's mum"; perhaps it's because as soon as we become mums, our kids take over our worlds and this is just yet another way that happens; or perhaps it's because we all love our babes to death and when someone calls us their mum, we don't correct them, we actually take pride in it so it continues on and on. I like to think it's the latter. So, proudly, I shall now forever be known as: