Tag Archives: identity

Identity Whiplash: An Invisible Epidemic among Mothers and Fathers

Every day, coast to coast, mothers and fathers suffer from an invisible threat – Identity Whiplash.

Let me illustrate. Shortly after my daughter was born, my husband and I went to a college alumni networking event. As we started to mingle, the inevitable question came, “So what are you doing now?” My answer, “Caring for our infant daughter.” From that point on it was as if I disappeared into the floor; no one wanted to talk with me, while everyone chatted happily with my attorney husband. I was stunned, and devastated. I still thought of myself as an intelligent, interesting person, but clearly all of a sudden no one else did.

Or take this scenario. A father friend of mine took his three small children out for coffee one morning, as he wrangled the whirling tutus and the baby on his lap, people gaped. Finally one woman came up to him and said “It’s so AMAZING how you handle all three of them!” He said later it was as if he had one arm and was taking care of three kids, while no one ever stops his wife when she’s out with three kids. While his audience saw him as a freak of nature, he simply thought of himself as a father.

Identity Whiplash happens when mothers and fathers crash into outdated assumptions others have about us that conflict with how we think of ourselves, leaving us dazed, confused and even questioning our identity and our decisions. Continue reading

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Identity Disconnect: Stereotypes About Mothers and Fathers Can Divide Us

A recent post to Mamapedia, “Does Motherhood Equal Identity Loss?” explored the identity changes that come with motherhood and quickly gathered over a hundred comments saying, “I am faced daily with the question of my own personhood. For weeks I’ve been milk maker, soother, diaper changer and occasionally ‘lady who showers and smells nice’… I stress ‘occasionally’ here.” I felt there was so much to say about identity that it is the only topic to have TWO chapters dedicated to it in my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today, some of which is here in my Identity Pie blog post.

What we don’t often realize is that the same reasons we experience major shifts in our own identities are often the cause of a disconnect between us and our husbands. Continue reading

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Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Family Work, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, Marriage, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood