Lost Identity – The Struggle of Being More Than ‘Mama’

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Carmen, a mother of two girls aged 2 and 4, recently poured her heart out about a deep-rooted frustration plaguing her for quite some time.

In her raw and candid confession, the original poster (OP) expressed her dismay at how everyone seemed to view her solely as a mother, stripping her of her individuality and reducing her to the title of “mama.”

Womanhood and Motherhood

OP began her story by expressing annoyance with the perception that she was solely a mother and not her own person.

Her husband, on the other hand, seemed to escape this societal pigeonholing.

OP felt irked by the seemingly endless stream of gifts he received centered around his hobbies and interests.

In contrast, OP received abundant “mommy” themed items, perpetuating the notion that her entire identity revolved around her role as a mother.

One particular incident that stood out was OP’s family’s Christmas gathering at her in-laws’ place.

A Frustrating Christmas

From the moment OP arrived, the constant chorus of “Mama this” and “Mama that” began, leaving her feeling suffocated by the very title she had been assigned.

Even her sister-in-law (SIL) joined in, referring to her as “mama” despite knowing her real name.

Annoyed, OP finally mustered the courage to speak up, politely asking her family-in-law to call her by her name instead of “mama.”

OP’s request, however, was met with confusion and dismissive responses, leaving her feeling disheartened and unheard.

As her frustration slowly simmered, OP’s other two sisters-in-law took a different approach, challenging her for expressing her emotions.

They employed the classic tactic of faux concern, implying that OP’s anger was somehow unhealthy and unfounded.

Another line of attack involved questioning whether OP felt motherhood was beneath her, an accusation that left her feeling deeply hurt and misunderstood.

While OP’s mother-in-law apologized for unintentionally contributing to the problem, OP questioned why no one calls her husband ‘papa’.

Emotionally drained, OP confided in her husband, hoping for some understanding and support.

While he acknowledged her feelings, he also suggested that OP apologize for her “outburst” during the gathering.

This response only added to OP’s distress, as it felt like her husband was downplaying the silent suffering she had endured.

Online Reactions

As OP’s post circulated on social media, people shared their insights and opinions on the matter.

Claireclairey empathized with OP’s struggle and emphasized the need for confronting family members about their behavior when polite requests go unheard.

MutatisMutandisEtc praised OP’s mother-in-law for offering an apology and stood in solidarity, as many of their friends had expressed similar frustrations.

“Your MIL reacted appropriately [in] saying she didn’t realize and had no ill intent (which I believe). Your point is well made, and your SILs just seem like people who can’t take feedback. Many of my female friends who had children have expressed the same frustration as you, you’re right to speak up.”

SmutnySmalec, who hailed from a different cultural background, found it hard to comprehend the practice of calling someone other than their biological mother “mama.”

The user viewed this form of address as demeaning and disturbing, aligning with OP’s sentiments about the erasure of her identity.

Sunny_Hill_1 brought attention to the deeply ingrained sexism that seemed to plague OP’s husband’s family.

“It is indeed infuriating when a woman’s whole identity is simplified to “oh, she is a mother” now, and it’s quite telling that it doesn’t happen to men. Your husband’s family is just being plain misogynistic.”

AeroOwl19 not only offered support to OP but also emphasized her right to be treated as a human being beyond her role as a mother.

The comment underscored the importance of OP’s husband standing by her side to address the issue and ensure OP received the respect she deserved.

Just-jen57 applauded OP for standing up for herself and highlighted the societal pressure on women to solely define themselves through motherhood.

This comment struck a chord with others who had experienced similar challenges in asserting their multifaceted identities.

The Verdict

OP’s post and the following discussion highlighted a prevalent issue faced by many mothers—a struggle to be seen and celebrated as more than just “mama.”

It underscored the importance of respecting individuals’ identities beyond their parental roles and the significance of open communication within families.

OP’s story served as a reminder that motherhood, while a vital aspect of a woman’s life, should not overshadow her individuality and worth as a human being.

By fostering empathy, understanding, and support, society can create a more inclusive environment where women are free to embrace their unique identities without feeling confined by societal expectations.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

Featured Image Credit: khosrork /Depositphotos.com.

This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

Ash & Pri are the Founders of AshandPri.com and have spent the last decade building their way towards financial freedom and a lifetime of memories. Having successfully achieved their early retirement goal in under 10 years, they look forward to sharing their financial sense with like-minded people. Read more about Ash & Pri in the 'About Us' section.