Dianne McDonald: Women get lost in roles they play
How do I lose thee? Let me count the ways. Women often lose themselves in careers, marriage and motherhood.
Someone called to me by my first name the other day, and it took a moment (picture deer in the headlights) for me to realize they were speaking to me. I am usually beckoned by “Mrs.,” “Ma’am,” and most often by variations of the title mother: “Mum-ma” “Ma” or “MOMmmmm!”
It is rare that I am called by my birth name. Very rare: The last time I heard it could have been 1980s big-hair years.
It goes to show you how many women lose themselves in the roles they develop throughout their life paths.
Women will often attempt to define themselves within the spectrum of a career. The day care expense is one of the first considerations, followed by the warring devil and angel on opposing shoulders whispering ideas of freedom and independence versus guilt and motherly responsibilities.
Many women working outside the home feel stressed from the moment they wake up until they retire to their restless slumber. They endure the repercussions of bringing home their jobs and suffer stress-related conditions.
Women can also lose themselves within the role of partner to their husbands. We are expected to be the hostess with the most-est for family and work parties and barbecues. The wife role is expected to be played up as polite, happy, funny and clean when company is around.
Most women completely lose themselves when they become mothers. Those sleep-deprived nights with the newborn are just the beginning of the worry we have of raising happy and healthy children. We lose sight of our own interests and focus solely on pleasing the little people who have taken over every bookcase and shelf in the house.
Although work and family can co-exist in successful harmony in even the busiest of women’s lives, there needs to be some time for women to regain the capacity for free thinking. Free from deadlines and meetings, free from shopping lists and planning date-night, free from parks and play dates.
I have heard that the ever-elusive “my time” is indeed possible. Good luck finding it, and let me know where it is so I can go and get some too. For now I am going to wear a sticker badge, “Hello, my name is ...” so I don’t go so long without remembering what my name is and who I am.
Dianne McDonald is a working mother who lives in Marshfield, Mass., with her husband and five children.