The other day, in one of my groups, someone asked me what labels I ascribe to myself. I mentioned things that seemed to describe me: my personality/traits, my job, my political leanings, the things that I affiliate myself with.

Without hesitation, I listed "mom." But that made me stop and think: do I label myself as "wife"? It just didn't seem to fit. Yes, I am married--married to perhaps the most wonderful man on earth. But why do I not view myself as a "wife"? 

This really bothered me. I wondered if this somehow meant that I value him less than my daughter, or if I love him any less. I wondered if this was a tiny window into my hidden psyche that showed me that I take my husband for granted. 

Today, I finally figured it out. I love my husband. Not any more or less than my daughter. I do take him for granted--but I think that's easy to do when life seems to whisk the time away.  But it's not because I am a horrible wife, that I don't seem to label myself as one at all.

I realized that it merely has to do with my own sense of self. When my husband and I got married, it was a good thing. It was nice. But it wasn't a life-shattering experience. We had been together for a while; we had lived together for a while. It already felt like we were married, and our relationship had gradually grown into what we currently have. A formal marriage ceremony only legalized what we already had.

After we were married, I wasn't any different than I was before we did so. We lived in the same house, we worked the same jobs, we treated each other exactly the same. The biggest differences were that I had his last name and we both wore wedding rings. I didn't change as a person the day I became his wife.

But as a mom, my experience has been totally different. From day one, I felt as if my whole world was rocked! I had grown a human being inside of my body, and was now responsible for keeping her alive! This meant constant attention, sleep deprivation, co-ownership of my body and my breasts, and the sacrifice of my independence.

I also stopped working to become a stay-at-home mom. So my new job was to be a mom and do mom things around the clock.  Nearly two years later, things are a bit different, but I basically do the same thing: I'm a SAHM. I don't get 8 hours a day to be someone else....a nurse, a pharmacist, a teacher, an engineer, a lawyer, etc. For the 8 hours that other moms get to be someone else, I am still just a mom. 

I do not resent this at all (okay, maybe I'm a little jealous....). But this was the decision I have made and am happy with. So, I'm not complaining in the least. I'm merely describing why it is I label myself as "mom." It's what I do. It's my only "job."

So, I'm okay with labeling myself as a mom, but not a wife. Being a wife hasn't been a "job" for me. It hasn't required nearly as much from as motherhood has. (I think this only attests to how awesome my husband is.)  I know I love my husband to the moon and back. And I could do--and have done--this without being called his wife.

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