she has fallen and now she is awake

concern trolling for your identity

I am very very sick of getting concern trolled about my identity.

Don’t I know I need interests/hobbies/purchases outside my maternal identity??

Here’s the deal. I spend an inordinate amount of time outside the home for work. Even though my workplace is reasonably child friendly and certainly welcomes parents, I spend 40 hours or more of my week travelling to work, working, or doing something other than spending time with my child. Do not presume to tell me that child-centred updates on facebook (!!) prove that I am one of those parents.

Beyond the socially structured nature of facebook (i.e. you are not the centre of everyone’s universe but they are the centre of theirs and what they do on facebook is informed by who they see as their ‘audience’). Beyond the artificially constructed ‘mothers who drink wine are SO NAUGHTY and FUN and NOT LIKE THE OTHERS. Beyond the tag ‘mother’ denoting it less. Beyond the ridiculous level of expectation behind all of these things.

Beyond all of that, how the fuck would you know? If you are so busy bemoaning the lack of substantial updates (seeming to mean “sauced with my friends” updates) (since we’re all boozehounds here) and snarking about those mothers, how the hell would you even know the state of my identity. Have I talked to you about it? Am I worried about it? Have I expressed a need to change my life? No? Then let me identify myself however I wish. Motherhood changed my life completely and I am not going to apologise for that, or pretend differently, because you want the old me back.

My facebook is full of baby pictures, this whole blog is full of mothering. It’s totally okay to ignore the changing style and skill of my photography, the feminism and politics and philosophies of motherhood inherent in what I write. And please assume you are the centre of the universe and know everything there is to know about me. I’m totally one of those parents and therefore inconsequential. Please privilege other socially constructed ‘identities’ over motherhood because you couldn’t possibly find another way to judge women. Please tell me I need to spend more time, more money, more energy, fulfilling an external goal of ‘identity’ before you will accept my viewpoint.

Distilling ‘identity’ into a series of purchases, fashion choices, hobbies and leisure activities is demeaning to everyone. Be as rockabilly-goth-metalhead-femme-cheerleader-geek-gamer-fitfreak as you want to be. Own it. Live it. Don’t pretend you need to have a brand to have an identity. And don’t pretend any of them are more or less meaningful than parent. Identity is what you make it, and mine includes a shit ton of mothering, something I am not going to apologise for.


2 responses to “concern trolling for your identity

  1. Ami March 1, 2011 at 06:24

    Wow, was that post (and comment thread) you linked to ever obnoxious. “But I care about YOU and YOU need to have an identity beyond your kids!” – translation: “your pitiful updates are not entertaining me adequately! How dare you!” Gosh, folks, could it be that maybe your updates about getting sloshed with friends are not as universally entertaining as you think either? Sometimes you cease to have anything in common with someone on your f-list. It’s called growing apart and it happens. Cope, people. Sheesh.

    I mean, I will confess that until I went back to work I did not understand how so many people seemed to have no time for anything in their lives besides work, family, and maybe a bit of TV. So I can concede that some things people just won’t get unless/until they have kids themselves. But I can tell you it would still piss me right off to be concern trolled on this score when I struggle so hard to keep the rest of my pre-baby life alive.

    • geekanachronism March 5, 2011 at 07:29

      That’s it – I don’t deny that there are a LOT of women who are struggling, who need help and that there is a massive need for a lot of women to be able to fulfil whatever their identity needs are. I just hate it when it’s wrapped in BEING A MOTHER IS BAAAAAAAAAAD AND BOOOOOOOOOOOOORING.

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