As an at-home parent I have experienced an incredible process in terms of identity that no other life experience could offer.
Being at home can leave you feeling identityless in the beginning and that can tear your confidence apart. You begin to doubt your opinions or just give them up altogether because you don’t have the space left in your brain. Or you find yourself repeating the same story to the same people because you thought you told that story to someone else the other day.
The fruits of your labour are so abstract that you can’t even measure the results of your parenting choices.
Many times I have had people switch off to me when they ask me what I do and I tell them I am at home with my children. In the early days this was upsetting but no longer do I feel upset by it because I have firmly allowed myself to form an identity as a sahm. Anyway, it says more about a person who validates people only on circumstances that they deem worthy.
Consciously choosing this route despite society telling you how unimportant you are, when ‘science’ and politicians say your children are better off away from you and to continue on this path despite all the hostility is powerful and damn fucking feminist.
I would like to take this opportunity to offer a V sign to all the opinions and ‘studies’ that do not see my children as individual people but as something herd-like to be ‘studied’.
I choose to relinquish my identity as an earner and vulnerably place my trust in my husband. That is empowering- to relinquish financial identity.
I choose to exchange my identity as a passionate current affairs debater to one that offers recommendations of tried and tested laundry detergent. I relinquish the identity of importance.
According to what I read in Irish newspapers and through political statements, there is no job more invalid than that of a sahp, so yes, I now relinquish validity.
It was only a farce anyway- society has a tragic blind-spot when it defines a person’s validity as it still lives in a system of hierarchy.
As I have said, I have found myself processing a life experience like no other. Becoming faceless, invalid, unimportant, unfeminist, lazy, incompetent-
There is nothing more empowering than having yourself and society strip you bare, beat your brow, invalidate you, make you disappear, ignore you, make war on you. It is this that has left me free to define myself.
The most powerful being on Earth.
And you can throw all your studies at me and judge my choice. I can beat myself. I can doubt myself. I can fail and try harder. I can be a great incredible mother and I can be a shit exhausted mother.
But I am MY mother and she raised me, a woman who does not fear her facelessness but evokes it and remains a blank space for my children to mould.
For they are the true teachers.
And just as they mould me, they will mould their society.
They will teach respect for all kinds of people because they were raised by a women whom society laid no respect upon.
They will honour effort over result because their mother will have walked through hell to be the best person she can be for them, and she will still be a flawed human being.
They will teach their society to move beyond the scope of their identity. To push themselves to the point of facelessness. For it is here that they will find their true selves and when we find that authenticity we no longer have to pin ourselves against our peers.
In that state maybe society can appreciate everyone’s uniqueness. Imagine that kind of world?