I had an article published in Finder Magazine, one of Singapore’s leading expat mags. It was a good result, as we’re trying to build the profile of our kids’ adventure blog – Singaporekids365. As a result of the article, many have checked out the blog, so that’s a win. However, when I first saw the article, the one thing that caught my eye was the introduction – “Mother of two and co-author…” – I did a double take, because I don’t think I have ever referred to or thought of myself as a “Mother of two.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother to my two rambunctious munchkins. They have added a dimension to my life that is so unconditionally love based, I can hardly breathe sometimes. It’s a wonderful thing becoming a mother for sure, but it’s not the only thing I am. I am also a wife, but I never think of myself that way either. I happened to marry the sweetest and most thoughtful man on the planet, but I see him as my partner in crime, not my husband, nor I, his wife.
In the context of the article, where this reference was made, of course it makes complete sense to introduce me that way. After all, the article was a feature of 10 inexpensive adventures to do with your little loves over the school holidays in Singapore. So it established my credibility to write the article, and that’s a good thing.
But seeing that label up in lights just made me think – is that what I am today? Is that how I think of myself? Is that how the world views me? I know that I don’t think of myself that way exclusively, but many times I meet up with friends and the first thing they do is ask about the boys. When this happens, it always stops me in my tracks, because the boys are one aspect of my life – a VERY big aspect – but there is so much more to me than that. I’ve never been a Mum that only wants to talk about my kids, and while I’m always happy to have a good ‘ol chin wag about the boys, I want to talk about other stuff too – a lot of other stuff.
Some women do refer to themselves as mothers, and I think this is awesome. For example, we were at a comedy night a few years ago in Singapore – pre-kids – and the comedian was asking people in the front row “what do you do for a living?” One lady in front said “I’m a mother to twin girls.” Naturally the comedian took the piss out of her relentlessly, and she took it in her stride, but I am not the sort of gal to respond in that way. If people ask me what I do? I say I write, have my own business, blog, run a communications company, write marketing content for the IT industry, etc, etc, etc… I never say I’m a Mum or a Wife. It’s just not how I see myself.
I suppose it’s all linked back to an issue I’ve written about many times before, that is still a challenge for me today – although less and less as the boys get a bit more independent. Becoming a mother has not been a smooth transition for me. I haven’t “loved” it as so many of my friends seem to do. I love my kids with all my heart and I’ll give them everything I’ve got, but equally, I’ve spent a lot of time fighting against the restrictions to my freedom since becoming a mother. This has been compounded by the fact that one of my loves has had to deal with huge challenges in his young life, and the person he’s needed most is his Mum. I’ve been there for him wholeheartedly, because he needs me (and he deserves all the love in the world), but it certainly hasn’t been easy. Just ask my husband, as he’s constantly watched me seething with frustration underneath because he knows I need to do so much more. Just this blog has been a lifeline for me during much of this time, because it gave me an avenue to create something, and that is so important to me.
I don’t know why I’m driven to do anything else, rather than just kicking back and enjoying the ride. I’ve always been this way, and while I spend a lot of time frustrating myself with this crazy drive, it is who I am. Pursuing my personal/professional goals is as important to me as being a good mum, wife and friend. What I do with my time keeps me sane. It gets me up every day because I LOVE it. It stretches my brain. It puts me in touch with amazing people who inspire me. It makes me think. It makes me yearn to do more and achieve more. But probably the thing it makes me do most of all is value the time I get to DO what I love, and equally, value the other time I get to spend WITH my loves.
I am Andrea Edwards. I’ve been AE since I was born and I’m very attached to my name. I didn’t change my name when I got married (much to the chagrin of others), because I am not Andrea Johnson – I don’t know who she is, although I’m sure there are a few of them around. I don’t have an issue with other women changing their names; I just didn’t want to change mine.
Andrea Edwards has a lot of dimensions, and she loves them all, but she is not one of them, nor is she all of them, because who she is evolves every day. Andrea Edwards is a person of many faces, who primarily sees herself as a bit of an idiot who lives life to the full, has fun, learns new stuff, challenges her opinions, and tries to remember every day to be kind to everyone, be the best human being she can be, and make sure she lives this life in a way that leaves her with no regrets. As such, labels are not welcome in Andrea Edwards’ life, for her or anyone else.
Women are women. We’re mums who love it or mums who hate it, or mums who love it and hate it at the same time. We’re wives who are crazy about our man, or wives who think our husbands are turds, or maybe we’re just loving our man because he’s good in the sack and that’s good enough for us. We’re single and fancy free, yearning for the ‘one’ to come into our lives, or we’re single AND mums juggling the joys and challenges this brings, or maybe being single with no attachments makes us really bloody happy? We’re professional and clever, relishing in our success and the independence that comes with it, or we’re Mother Theresa’s giving giving giving, and making the world a better place – not that anyone else really notices – or we’re something in between. We’re clever, or understated, or we don’t care about too much, we’re big or skinny, beautiful, or not considered traditionally attractive. We’re brown or white or yellow or red. Some of us are lesbians, some of us want to be men, some are happy in their own skin, and some spend a lifetime hating their body. None of us are perfect, none of us have it all – we’re just women, trying to make the best of our lives in this world and we are many of these things, or none of these things. How can you put a label on that?
Can anyone else relate or am I speaking a load of bollocks?
Yours, without the bollocks