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Wife and Mother


by Liz Moorhead, Ask Team Practical

I’m fascinated with the ways that we build our online identities (it’s like branding on a super micro level), and I also think it’s becoming more important every day that we remain conscious of how we portray our relationships online (i.e. my policy is never to complain about my partner in a public forum, and Michael and I still haven’t changed our Facebook relationship status). And who better to break this down for us this than our very own Liz? Because while I’m still very much in the process of figuring this all out, I can’t think of anyone who nails the balance between real life and social media better than she does. And frankly, I’m pretty sure I have a thing or two to learn from her.

—Maddie for Maternity Leave

Wife and Mother | A Practical Wedding

Social media is sort of funny.

Nothing like a 140 character profile description to make you realize how people define themselves.

Few things scream “STATUS” like that actual note right below your name that says, “relationship status.”

I find it super interesting to see how people describe themselves online. Some folks just end up listing a bunch of stuff they like. “I’m Stacey, I like vinyl, vintage teapots, and crunchy autumn leaves.”

Other folks list their occupation. “Dental hygienist specializing in plaque prevention!”

But most of the moms I know stick to the script. “Wife and mother.” Or possibly, “Mommy to Trevor.” Usually listed right below a profile photo that should be of themselves, but is instead a scrunchy-faced child (which I would assume could be confusing).

Internet stuff seems to make relationship status an even more prominent feature of who you are. Pushed to identify yourself, it’s the default. To be fair, if you’re limited to just a brief sentence to define yourself to people you’ve never met, it can be difficult to know what to say. To expect one another to summarize ourselves so succinctly seems a tall order. But why is relationship status such an easy default? While I’m certainly a “wife and mother,” I don’t know that those two words really help you understand me any better.

While we’re sort of strong-armed into doing this online, I find that we also do it naturally in real life. Folks ask questions about if you’re married and “are you planning to have kids?” and then hurry to use that information to boil you down into an archetype. Even by friends and family who know me well, I’ve felt my relationship status impact the way I’m perceived, and consequently treated.

My status as a wife was an interesting step into adulthood. Suddenly, friends were asking for my relationship advice. My mom suddenly (and rather unfortunately) felt free to discuss her sex-life with me. I began to be invited to adult conversations and events, while friends of the same age were assumed to be out partying all night. I guess my status as wife represented a new maturity or something. A success. I could make a relationship with someone work enough to get down the aisle, so I must have something going right.

Then came the whole, whoops, accidental pregnancy (my husband chides me to call it a “surprise”) and things shifted in another direction completely. This role of motherhood seemed less about success, and more about constant failure. There’s always something to sniff at or ask about dubiously. Disposable diapers? Hm. Bottlefeeding? Eyebrow raise. Where my advice suddenly became more valuable with marriage, my opinions mattered less in motherhood. Now, friends, family, strangers were ready and willing to offer me their advice. And whereas marital status had resulted in being invited to extra, motherhood meant exclusion. “She’s probably too busy with the baby,” I could imagine them saying. Or worse, “Ugh. Maybe she’ll bring that brat of hers. Don’t invite her!”

The interesting part to me is that through each of these status changes, I haven’t personally felt drastically different. I wasn’t more mature the day after my wedding than I was the day before. I may be a little less well-slept, but I’m not altogether more harried now that I have a kid on my lap. In the same way that I’m still essentially the same person whether my Twitter profile reads, “Teacher” or “Illustrator,” the same goes for whether I’m wearing a ring or carrying a diaper bag.

On the internet, we may be forced into one-dimensions, but it concerns me when we start to do it offline too. Because it’s too easy. The internet is the lazy way to stay in touch with high-school friends, the slacker’s way to gather information for a research paper, and I guess the easy, lazy way to relate to one another. (Or am I the only one who makes broad assumptions about people based on their Facebook status updates?) But in real life, things are complicated and nuanced. As much as it would simplify things, people really can’t be boiled down to 140 characters (and most of us don’t walk around telling each other how much we love vintage teapots when we first meet each other, so that just goes to show the absurdity of that online habit). We’re all sort of complex and messy. And that’s kind of a good thing. Because life is really boring in 140 characters or less. And I’d like to think that wife and mother just underscores who I am, instead of defining it.

Photo from Liz’s personal collection.

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her son.

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  • http://byjacki.com Jacki

    Totally with you on this, Liz. My favorite bit is the end: “We’re all sort of complex and messy. And that’s kind of a good thing. Because life is really boring in 140 characters or less. And I’d like to think that wife and mother just underscores who I am, instead of defining it.”

    What I’ve noticed in the online world, particularly in blogging, which seems to have EXPLODED in the past couple of years, is that it’s easy to cling to those labels and put forth that 140-characters “snapshot” of a self. “I’m a fashion blogger! I’m a mommy blogger! I’m a food blogger who only eats and cooks organic, low-calorie, perfect meals!” It looks good, simple, clean, uncomplicated, etc. It’s carefully curated before being projected. And I guess that has its place, but real life absolutely isn’t so neatly packaged. I hope that even when I’m a wife, and even if I’m a mom, I don’t lose touch with the fact that they are just parts of who I am, not the sum total – just like right now being Matt’s girlfriend or Ethan’s Gocky isn’t the sum total of my life.

  • Shar

    Thought-provoking post, aha’s and Oh, yes, I agree’s throughout. I was married for almost 30 years, and in a relationship now for the last seven of my nine divorced years. My kids are adults. My daughter recently became an Army wife. I held a wonderful professional job for 20+ years from which I was down-sized out. I am now drastically under-employed. I have no idea how I would define myself in social media. I choose not to because I find myself going back to who I was, and less so who I am. Maybe when I figure it out, I’ll come up with a definition, to boot.

    Can I just say, though, that I have shark mitten-envy. That wee one is stylin’!

    • Liz

      Those shark mittens are always show-stealers. ;)

  • http://somewhatbookish.wordpress.com Carrie

    I keep pondering what you wrote about how the change in status to married opened things up (you got invited to new, different things, you were seen as a relationship “expert”, your parents treated you differently) while the change in status to parent closed things off (you stopped getting invited to things, your opinions/actions were questioned more). I don’t really have anything to add on that, but I think it’s interesting and it feels true to me too, at least somewhat (I have more parents in my social group, so I think I’m just getting invited to different things now). Anyway, food for thought, this morning.

    • KB

      I agree, although I think that the relationship thing cuts both ways. I’ve had friends treat me differently because I’m engaged. I had one friend decline to go to the movies or come over and hang out, saying that she didn’t want to be the third wheel – which is bizarre because my fiance and I were friends in a decent-sized group of people before we got together and it’s not like we now sit around sucking face in front of people. Nothing is different and yet people insist on treating us as though we are different.

    • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

      So with you there. I feel accepted by the parents, esp working moms, at my company. They are a bunch of high powered, impressive people, so this is awesome! I’m in! I do feel the opposite has happened with many friends, that they assume I’m busy with baby (and the same thing happens to my husband) or can’t get a babysitter, so we don’t get invited out as much. We try to be more proactive on that front to make up for it. So, it’s a mixed bag.

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    I was fortunate to find Twitter through a then-boyfriend many years ago who followed people who used it mostly to make each other laugh. So all of my examples of bios weren’t bios at all, but just more comedy. I still find it strange that people use that space to actually tell about themselves. Through the end of that relationship, moves to three different states, singleness, dating, living together, and engagement, my bio has been “I believe in the terminating series comma.” Which actually kind of does tell you a lot about who I am, but without any need to change it for my employment or relationship status. Most people who follow me on Twitter don’t know me, which makes it much easier to play a role and avoid identity issues there than it is at Facebook. The same way that in real life, it’s much easier to play a role around people I meet here, where we’re only living for a few months, than it will be when we move somewhere we’re staying for a while and I want to build real friendships. I’m afraid that Navy wife will become my primary identity to the people I meet when it’s such a small part of who I am.

    • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia Kyla (@kahlia)

      Me too! I’ve been known to include “I’m a big fan of precise description & of the serial comma” in bios. And I agree that it does actually say a little something about you/us.
      I have at times tried to include more info, but like Liz says, it’s hard to express who I am without listing who I’m attached to or things I like (I think my current Twitter bio says something like “I’m a translator whose husband is Spanish & who lives in San Francisco”).
      I’m curious why you think that “Navy wife” will become a large part of what people think of as who you are. (I’m not related to anyone in the military, so I don’t know much about how it all works.)

      • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

        I’ve moved a lot before, but for jobs, so I’d have that to explain why I’ve just moved. I moved here though so my fiance could do training and then wherever we go next will be because he’s stationed there. Add that to the likelihood that we’ll move somewhere where the base is the biggest part of the town, so most people will be military affiliated and that it unlikely I’ll be able to get a job right away (I’m a teacher and we’ll move in February) and it just feels like Navy wife or Raj’s wife will become who I am to people, at least at first. Especially since, if I’m not working, I’m likely to meet people mostly through him or the spouses club at the base. It’s just a strange adjustment since I’ve been single (as in completely unattached, not just not married) for most of my life, so I’m not accustomed to being known as somebody’s someone.

  • http://sarahgroneck.blogspot.com Sarah G.

    YES. What a wonderful post! I agree with Jacki that the best lines are:

    “But in real life, things are complicated and nuanced. As much as it would simplify things, people really can’t be boiled down to 140 characters. We’re all sort of complex and messy.”

    Thanks for sharing, Liz.

  • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Facebook and other social media has made us lazy with our intentions. We all talk a big talk … we wish friends happy birthday, we celebrate soldiers, we talk about how thankful we are about the blessings in our lives, but what do we do to actually show our intentions. Do we pick up the phone and actually see how those friends are doing? Do we send soldiers care packages? Do we give back to the people and things that are blessings for us?

    I hadn’t really thought about how that laziness creeps into our own identities, but I think you make an excellent point. We’re expected to boil ourselves down into neat, easily identifiable categories that it becomes easy to box ourselves in.

    • Anon

      I felt really weird on Veteran’s Day. As an American living abroad, it isn’t like I’m likely to see any (US) veterans or be able to go hear The Star Spangled Banner being played by a band in a park. I saw a lot of facebook statuses thanking our troops, but I didn’t post one. It kind of made me feel like an ass not posting, but if I had posted something, it would have felt superficial.

      I also felt really weird when my uncle changed his profile pic to an old picture of his dad in uniform. Usually a nice gesture right? Well from what I have heard from my mom, the guy was a jerk. He was an alcoholic that abused his family physically and emotionally, and threatened to kill them all (my grandmother and their 5 kids) if she ever tried to get away. It made me feel physically ill that all that was just ignored by the very children he abused because he was a veteran. Because on the surface, an old black and white picture of a military man is very charming. I don’t think that my uncle would go out and have a t-shirt made with that picture on it and wear it for Veteran’s day, but to superficially share the image of his father, the one that’s acceptable to share to the public, I don’t know. It just doesn’t sit right with me.

      • http://www.mollyeverafter.com/ Molly

        This is what I hate about Facebook and social media. People create a persona of themselves, but don’t really do anything in the real world to back up that persona. They might post a message of thanks to the troops, but in real life, support politicians who want to restrict vets’ access to medical care. Social media created “slacktivism,” which makes people FEEL like they’re doing something good, when in reality, they’re just paying lip-service to all that good-doing.

        • Paranoid Libra

          I fully agree with you, but I have seen the good social media can do. I was ready to say I can’t exactly this comment enough.

          Then I remembered the beast that hit my hometown last month….Sandy. I kept seeing people posting where there were places for shelters or posting they were taking in donations or offering their place because they had electricity while most of the rest of town did not. It was such a beautiful display that I am even teary right now. Seeing all of the people posting to the out of state electric companies to the thank their men for getting power back to the area and for working in the snow to re-restore power to places who got it back but then lost it again.

          This is in essence my there is still some hope in social media example. Until Sandy though I was losing hope in it all, but thankfully the internets redeemed itself in a time of disaster and turmoil.

          • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

            It certainly goes both ways. While I agree with Liz’s point, I can counter it too. Social media (blogging especially, but Twitter and FB as well), gave me a venue to explore who I was after a five-year relationship ended, and it helped me connect with friends who saw me through that breakup. Social media isn’t all bad or all good, we just need to be aware of how we’re using it to express ourselves and more importantly, as Liz points out, define ourselves.

      • Class of 1980

        “Style” often trumps real and admirable attributes and behavior.

        This discussion reminds me of the North Carolina state motto:

        “Esse quam videri”

        (To be, rather than to seem)

      • Ash

        Armchair Activist: (noun) One who sits in their armchair or desk chair and blogs or posts Activists issues on facebook without ever really doing anything about said issues or exercising any form of activism as it would require that person to actually leave the armchair.

  • KC

    I wonder if it would work better if we used the words we would likely pick to explain a friend to a friend? (I don’t think I’ve ever said “this is my friend X, she’s a wife and the mother of three children”, although I do note relationships where people already know the other relationship-person involved, like “this is my friend X, whose mom Y you met last week”)

    I sometimes use a short set of characteristic stories to summarize absent people; I guess you could use adjectives instead, but usually “and once, she put on weird makeup and danced with an underwear hat just to cheer up a friend post-breakup” communicates more vividly. Doesn’t usually fit in 140 characters, though.

    And in person I mostly introduce people to each other by saying “This is X, you should know her, she is AWESOME” (because, seriously? My friends are AWESOME). So maybe that would not be so helpful after all.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      As someone who hates writing online bios for herself, I love the idea of “how would you introduce someone to a friend?” as a starting point.

    • Class of 1980

      I’d definitely want to meet a person who danced in an underwear hat. That might be all I’d need to know. ;)

  • LC

    Great post! This is one of the things that I end up thinking about a lot. My fiance and I got engaged while we were overseas, so we called our parents and then emailed a lot of family and friends. I didn’t want anyone to find out via facebook, and then everyone who really mattered to me knew, so the only reason to go from a not-listed relationship status to “engaged” seemed to be to get congratulations from old high school friends and other acquaintances. It just felt weird. But maybe I was overthinking it, since I did enjoy getting to “like” and read through all the happy comments when one of my best friends got engaged recently.

    It is really interesting to consider how the different labels of “wife” and “mother” change the way friends and strangers treat you… thank you for writing about this, Liz!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Whenever I have to write a bio for something that will be in print, a theatrical program, an awards program, the APW book, I get stopped. Because if I write a little blurb about who I am now, that won’t necessarily be who I am in the future when someone reads that. I am a constantly changing entity. For me to be labeled for the rest of my life with a single word or two is terrifying.

  • Jaime

    I have to disagree with the idea that due to online social media that we force others into little boxes. Growing up, people were more than happy to label me based on my appearance (i.e. fat, blonde, tall, wears glasses, etc). Online people had to get to know me in different ways based on my personality and interests rather than “the fat lady in customer service” or “the fat one with the black glasses”. (Yes, it is always always “the fat one” unfortunately.)

    The social stigmas that come with the label “fat” are atrocious and can follow you your entire life. Online I don’t have to worry about being dismissed because of my size; offline it permeates every single social interaction or situation I am in.

    • meg

      Mmm. Well said, and interesting.

  • meg

    It’s funny. I think lots more about professional bios than social media bios… just because with my job, a social media bio usually is a professional bio (and I rarely use social media personally, because it’s like working in my down time). So that said, I think A LOT about professional bios.

    In Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece in the Atlantic about why women can’t still have it all (a piece I had tons of problems with), she talked about how she’s chosen to make her personal life one of the most important parts of her professional bio. I’ve made the opposite choice. The bio I use regularly is a list of professional and public stuff, and the last line is usually something like, “She lives with her family in…” There are a ton of reasons for that, but one of them is that it’s important for me to separate my lives. My public/ online/ professional life is just that, and it’s one tiny aspect of who I am, and what is on display for the world. My personal life is, well, personal, and it’s not the world’s business. Besides, no one expects my David to have “husband and father” in his otherwise professional bios, right?

    Anyway, there is no wrong or right on this issue, but it’s complicated and fascinating.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      Like you, Meg, I have a ton of online bios and social media bios; I only ever list my relationship status when it’s directly related to the content at hand. But if the bio is going to be viewed by any employers or it’s for professional reasons, I always keep my marital status out of it for fear of losing work opportunities based on it. I know it’s not right, but the reality is, women are penalized for being married and for having kids when it comes to job opportunities, and it’s just not a risk I want to take. And like you said, my relationship status is just one aspect of who I am, so I am really only comfortable including it in professional bios with that last line about where I live. (And I probably just do that because that’s how all my favorite female authors’ bios were written on the “about the author” page when I was a kid!)

  • katieprue

    Yeah, this is one of the reasons that I don’t have a Facebook account. The fact that a few words and photos are just YOU, that freaks me out. And it seems like there is this weird, undefined line between personal and professional use, and at the time I quit Facebook it was even harder to make the distinction.

    It’s why I comment with my real name. I can’t ever find one little phrase that really sums it up. I’m a wife. I work. I have family. I like flowers and funny cat videos. But those are not the extent of my thoughts and passions. It’s also why I didn’t change my name when I got married–it means everything to me and that is me.

    Liz, I could read this post 1,000 times. There’s a lot to think about.

  • KB

    I think part of it isn’t just laziness or a desire to jam people into neat little boxes – but the ease of relating to people on what they see as a basic level. Like, you’re a mom? I’m a mom! Nevermind that you’re a mom of a piano prodigy two-year old whereas my adult son is living in the basement – we’re still moms! I think people like to use titles or professions or statuses to create common ground – not that I think this is ideal, because it would be much better if we could say, “Wow, you’re a skydiver? I have never once thought of doing that. How do you like it?” Just a thought.

  • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

    I’ve been noticing more and more Facebook friends’ photos becoming photos of their kids and them, and then just photos of their kids. (Hell, my own mother does this, leading at least one person on Facebook to think I had a twin sister after my mom wrote on my wall.) I never know what to make of the “wife and mommy” line in the bio. On the one hand, I can see how these things are part of one’s identity and may provide some context for the bio. (For example, if you are a health blogger and you have kids, you might want to network with other moms interested in healthy living.) On the other hand, I’ll admit that I have a lot of feelings on it every time I see it.

    I also thought this article on this topic is a really good read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html

    • Class of 1980

      Wow. I love that Huffington Post article.

  • http://Www.unfounddoor.com Patricia | unfounddoor

    “And I’d like to think that wife and mother just underscores who I am, instead of defining it” — yes, these are *parts* of who I am…or at least they are relationships in which I am. I would be me even without these (as I certainly was prior to them)

    But we are all far more complex than can be put across in a twitter bio. I think my concern is more twofold: first, that people are drawn into pretending that the only things in life are shiny (and I do believe this to be dishonest although from an earlier life as a ‘positivity blogger’ I know the very real effects of choosing to fous on the positives) but more than that, it’s this idea that we should *want* people (who we don’t know) to approve of or idealise us and so we have to instagram pictures of our perfect cappuccino or whatever.
    I don’t know. I think Class of 1980 has something with the to be not to be seen – I know I could probably do a lot better in my daily life, relationships and community if I didn’t spend as,uh time filtering shots of my infant on the swings.

    Not everything is simple (people least of all) and not everything *needs* to be understood in a soundbite I guess.

    (and yeah, my FB profile pic is of me and the kiddo. Suitably shamefaced)

  • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

    it is interesting. i feel like it is unfair to blame social media for putting folks in boxes. people are labelled all the time in person. and in some ways i feel like these bios or labels or boxes are really helpful. it can be lovely to have a shorthand for explaining yourself. the only fault to that, in my mind, is when we stop at the shorthand and don’t ask for or proffer and further explanation.

    but it does seem to me that there is a greater focus on personal life (wife and mother) in social media than in person. that is, in face-to-face introductions, the default question is always “so what do you do?” personally, i like the online questions better; given a brief moment to explain who i am i would never bring up my job, and would love to say i am a wife and parent. (given a few more characters i would tell you how thoroughly surprised i am to find “wife and parent” an integral part of my identity, which is probably more telling and interesting information, but that’s why these shorthands, online or off, require follow-up.)

    • Liz

      Yeah, I think after reading a few comments I should clarify that that’s not what I’m saying- that we should blame social media for boxing people (people have been just fine at doing that for ages before now).

      What I am saying is that as a mom, I’ve become more aware of how moms limit themselves to just “Wife + Mother” in social media instances (where I don’t often see other folks replacing descriptions or photos of themselves with descriptions and photos of their relationship status) and that it often is reflective of how wives and mothers are perceived in real life, too.

      Even the “what do you do?” question, if answered by many of the (even working!) moms I know will be answered similarly. “I’m a mother of three!” There’s something very boiled down about “wife + mother” that only became more clear to me in reading people’s descriptions of themselves on the internet.

  • http://www.spottytypewriter.com/ Kerry

    A mildly related thought:

    I read an article recently about making polite conversation in social settings. One contributor suggested that instead of asking someone new “what they do,” (which almost always gets a work-or-relationship-related, stock, boring answer) it is more interesting and revealing to ask “what did you do *today*?” It is more likely to target what the other person really thinks of themselves, or what they value, find interesting, etc.

    • Liz

      I think that’s super smart as more and more people find themselves unemployed or underemployed or working several jobs to piecemeal things together (which I know wasn’t your point, but still!).

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      At a conference, a marketing consultant gave great advice similar to that. Instead of asking “what do you do?” which generally implies your employment, she suggested asking “what keeps you busy?” This way the responder can talk about work, volunteering, hobbies, or whatever random obsessions/relationships/etc. they spend a lot of time on.

    • Amanda

      Or how about “what do you LIKE to do?” For people who love their job (perhaps not me at the moment), they may talk about career, but the question certainly doesn’t limit one’s answer to career. I might start using this.

      • SusieQ

        I always use “What do you like to do?” Sidesteps the whole unemployment / underemployment question. I even use it when I already know what the person’s occupation is; then I phrase it, “What do you like to do when you’re not (fixing my computer, being a chemist, working for FEMA, etc)?” Works like a charm, always tells you a lot about a person, and opens up obvious followup questions for me to ask. (As an outgoing introvert, I’m always on the alert for followup questions to ask. Keeps the pressure off.)

  • Marcela

    I would exactly this post 1000 times if I could.
    Unfortunately this has been my experience as well: “This role of motherhood seemed less about success, and more about constant failure. There’s always something to sniff at or ask about dubiously. Disposable diapers? Hm. Bottlefeeding? Eyebrow raise. Where my advice suddenly became more valuable with marriage, my opinions mattered less in motherhood. Now, friends, family, strangers were ready and willing to offer me their advice. And whereas marital status had resulted in being invited to extra, motherhood meant exclusion. “She’s probably too busy with the baby,” I could imagine them saying. Or worse, “Ugh. Maybe she’ll bring that brat of hers. Don’t invite her!”
    I have felt judged and criticized for my choices as well as for my circumstances EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, most of the time without even asking for the reasons behind the choices.. Friends that I thought were close, vanished, after I had children. Former colleagues assumed I was never going back to work and that my brain had shrunk with the pregnancy. I finished an LLM when my twins were 3 years old, and people assumed I was doing it as a hobby, and that I had tons of household help that allowed me to pursue my studies ( I didn’t have any and who studies for a freaking LLM as a hobby?!), when I started crafting I had ” friends” making”desperate housewives”jokes on my facebook profile and talking about “how great it must be to have so much time off”(with 3 year old twins? seriously?) and about how they couldn’t do any of that because they had to worrrrrrrrrrk.
    I have become a much lonelier person since having children, and it had nothing to do with my babies…

    • http://www.unfounddoor.com patricia | unfounddoor

      “and who studies for a freaking LLM as a hobby?!” – HA. Seriously, right?

      I hate it when people refer to maternity leave as a ‘holiday’ (ahem, Liz Jones of the Daily Fail) — but I won’t lie; I was FAR happier on my mat leave than I am now back at my desk while attempting to be a decent wife, mother and transactional lawyer…but I think that means that *I* have to do something about my job, not that everyone who is a SAHM has it easy.

      • Marcela

        The Law is one area that is definitely not mum friendly…
        The thing is not whether SAHM or working mums are happy or not, I think, the problem is the reductionist view that all persons within a certain category feel/act/react in a certain way. It is what Chimamanda Adichié called “the danger of a single story”. As she said in her TED talk “the problem with stereotypes is not that they untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the single story” (Here’s the link to her talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html)
        We are all searching for happiness and we all struggle. I think it would be important for women to just stop judging each other, and accept that life is complex, that people are complex, that when we look at someone else’s life and think everything is perfect, we are judging based on our own wishes or desires and not necessarily on the other person’s reality. Just acknowledging this simple fact could go a long way towards making others feel less unknown, less solitary.

        • http://Www.unfounddoor.com Patricia | unfounddoor

          “when we look at someone else’s life and think everything is perfect, we are judging based on own wishes or desires and not necessarily on the other person’s reality” – so much truth in this. Very well put Marcela – I totally agree.
          And thank you for the link to the TED talk.

  • Kala

    Please, please stop with the “Maddie for Maternity Leave” business. It’s stupid and ridiculous. You know it is. Please just be “Maddie.”

  • Alyson O’Connor

    Liz’s description of herself at the end of the article is so amazing and perfect I want to steal it word for word and use it on all my sm profiles… But I won’t. Beautifully poignant essay, thank you thank you.