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Who Am I, Anyway? On Having Multiple Mom Syndrome

Some days, I feel as if I am dozens of people in one body. This is not the kind of issue that involves voices inside my head or an alter ego named Franz. It is Multiple Mom Syndrome. It set in once I had kids and I took on many, many new roles.

I self-diagnosed myself the other day after I checked out the “I Am ” project. Alli asked women to finish the sentence “I am ____” on a piece of paper and send in a photo of themselves holding it up.

Women mentioned their situations (“I am bored at work”), their accomplishments (“I am an author”), their life philosophies (“I am good enough”). My mind went to my life as a mom, and I was stumped. How could I possibly come up with just one answer? On any given day, I am a…

• Teacher

• Personal shopper

• Mediator

• Housekeeper

• Chauffeur

• Cook

• Baker

• But not a candlestick maker

• Tutor

• Researcher

• Whip-cracker (as in, with the kids, not in bed)

• Pharmacist

• Nurse

• Trash collector

• Recycler

• Booger retriever

• Professional organizer

• Advocate

The Artist Formerly Known as Prince

• Psychologist

• Paper pusher

• Tear-wiper

• Photographer

• Cruise director

• Scheduler

• Janitor

• Potty trainer

• Financial planner

• Circus ringleader

• Madam of mayhem

• Zookeeper

• Seamstress

• Coach

• Cheerleader

And then of course, floating around somewhere, there’s:

• Me

Often, that “me” gets lost amidst the to-dos and to-gos and a 6-year-old yelling from the upstairs bathroom, “MY HEADBAND FELL INTO THE TOILET AND NOW THE WATER IS COMING OUT LIKE A WATERFALL!!!”  (Oh, yeah, I left off “plumber.”) I am always taking care of something or somebody. Surely that’s why “other” is the main part of “mother”—it’s never about you, is it?

That’s just the way it goes, and I am not complaining or sending out a search expedition to find me. This loss of self is the trade-off you make when you become a mom; the job benefits (aka your kids) more than make up for it. Once in a while, I get to spend some quality time with me, and I still like her a lot. Besides, Multiple Mom Syndrome isn’t forever, assuming your children do not live in your basement until they are 50.

Yes, there will come a day when I will return to being mostly me again. Meanwhile, I am all of the above—and I am proud that I do it pretty damn well.

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