Back when I was applying to colleges, I think I wrote close to one hundred essays. Each school or scholarship contest wanted to know something different about me. I hated writing the essays (what senior in high school likes spending their free time doing glorified homework?) but the topics were basic and the words came easily. I could usually bust out an essay in an hour or two. That is, until I got to the essay question that simply asked, “Who are you?”
That’s a pretty heavy question for a 17-year-old, don’t you think?
I struggled with it then. Many of the things I used to define myself we no longer going to be relevant in college. I’d just quit playing softball, so I wasn’t an athlete anymore. Student Body President? Not for much longer. Twin? He was applying to different colleges. Choir member, homecoming princess, class disrupter, I was all those things and none of those things. I ended up writing at the end of my essay, “Who am I? I have no idea.”
The other day I did a survey on the phone, and the facilitator on the other end of the line needed to gather some basic information from me. I gave my age range, education history, etc, and then he said, “And what do you do?” I immediately replied, “sales,” and then I trailed off. “Sales?” asked the facilitator, “What kind of sales?” I then corrected myself and said, actually, I no longer work in sales, I am a stay home mom now.
“Aaaahhh…going the full-time mom route now, gotcha. I’ll put down “Homemaker” for your occupation.”
Besides the fact that the term “full-time mom” makes my blood boil, hearing the word “Homemaker” totally startled me. Is that what I am now? I still think of myself as a saleswoman, but I suppose I’m really not anymore. I’ve wanted to be home with Maddie ever since we knew she wouldn’t be a typical newborn, but now that I AM with her, I’m adjusting a little slower than I’d anticipated.
Wife, mother, daughter, friend, facebook user…homemaker? I am all these things and not only those things. What are the other aspects of me? I never thought that some twelve-odd years after I attempted that essay, I’d still have no idea what the answer is.