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My Name is Mamma

I was recently asked to send in a bio for a project on which my collaboration had been requested and happily granted. No problem! I would send one right away…but first…I actually needed to write one. I have written resumes in the not so recent past, but I do not recall ever having written a bio for myself. So, I popped open my laptop and began to search for suggestions on structure and the like. This couldn’t be that hard, right? I mean, like many, I do have a solid background in adolescent mirror-front spoken bios to meet almost any improbable scenario out there (me winning an Oscar or Nobel/Pulitzer Prize, scoring the winning goal/basket/run/point in an Olympic competition, solving one of life’s uncrackable mysteries…etc). Surely, I could build from this and now, as an adult, write a much more realistic bio, preferably based on fact this time… After all, who knows me better than…me!

My quick search revealed that since most bios of this type are written in the third person even though they are about oneself, I should therefore start with the name of the person being described in the bio…me, aka Elizabeth, and progress on to describing who she is and what she has accomplished. Easy enough! I pulled up a blank page and quickly typed my name…then froze. And there it sat for most of the day, abandoned in favor of other activities (such as laundry, mom taxi duty, dinner, homework consultant time, bath time, tucking in, preparing an Italian lesson…). When I finally was unable to find any further reasons not to sit and finish, I began to jot down some ideas. Delving into my past education and experiences brought up a whirlwind of memories and I began to think hard about where I had assumed I would be at this point in my life. Let me just say, I had been WAY off. Maybe that is why my brain was initially resistant to the mere idea of writing the bio. Somewhere along the way, decisions had been made and paths had been followed off my meticulously paved road…and then paths off of the paths..trails off of the paths off the paths…well, you get the idea. Did I regret these changes? Had I ever really even stopped to think about it? Was I just going with the flow and taking things as they came or was I inadvertently wandering from what I truly wanted?

The fact is, I look pretty good on paper, if I may. It is all there in black and white…the languages, the travel, the higher degrees. Then I step in front of the mirror and brush the scraps left over from cutting out paper crowns at Little Man’s elementary school from my clothes, try to gather my untamed hair, wind-blown from having sat out in the elements to wait for my middle schooler to finish up softball practice, gently smooth the worry lines, which accumulate with every year that brings my oldest closer to leaving for college, from my forehead, and desperately attempt to soak out the chocolate milk spot on my shirt…uncertain of where the heck that even came from. I do not look a bit like the woman described on the paper…like I had imagined I would. So, which one of these am I really?

Of course, I am aware that there are plenty of heated discussions out there, as there have been for many years and will be for many more, about stay-at-home moms versus working moms versus working-at-home moms. Even though currently I am primarily a stay-at-home mom with a few side-jobs, I have never felt the need to argue the merits of any side. Suffice to say…there are pluses and minuses to each. I am more of the idea that it is a personal choice based on personal circumstances and situations…and situations have been known to change. Of course, it is human to second guess one’s choices and to try to justify things, which frankly, do not necessarily need to be justified. I tend to stay out of these debates all together. Who am I to judge?

Right now my name is Mamma. It has been for almost 15 years. Not that my given name, Elizabeth, is never used. It is, of course, but for now Mamma is the name I hear most often. I still did all those things on the paper. I earned the degrees, had those jobs and they are a part of me, but Mamma has become my essence. Each life goal and experience has widened my horizons and opened my mind a little more, but when I became Mamma, my whole way of thinking was permanently altered.

The knowledge I have acquired and the experiences I have gained are a part of who I am, both as Mamma and Elizabeth and they will stay with me no matter which name I happen to hear more frequently at the time. So, having already written and submitted my professional bio, I began to think about my Mamma Bio…perhaps in the way my children might write it…if at the moment they did not happen to be in a time out or grounded and felt the urge to put in a few good words for me….

Mamma has been in her current position for…well…forever now. Despite initially starting this position with limited part-time experience, involving the currently unrealistic option of clocking out at the end of the day, (ask her to tell you about the time she was babysitting and the kid locked her in the closet. It’s hilarious) she has proven herself to be a quick learner. She has applied these quick learning skills frequently and spontaneously while on the job (it only took her a couple days to figure out that we had learned the passcode to the iPad the last time around). She went to lots of schools and has some degrees which she got “back in the days when it was much more difficult because there was little or no internet and we actually needed to physically go to a library for research”. We assume that her invaluable ability to come up with creative projects also comes from back in those days, when she was growing up with an almost total lack of cool video games. As for her technological savvy, despite the absence of wireless or cellular gadgets during her formative years, she has developed an uncanny (and some would say unfortunate) ability to detect such objects…under beds, between mattresses, behind night tables…etc.  Mamma also possesses a strong legal background and applies those skills, together with her co-conspirator, while acting as legislator, arbitrator, counsel, judge, and jury (giving us never ending opportunities to hone our skills in negotiation and protestation..both peaceful and…extremely vocal). Her primary languages are English (used for everyday purposes), Italian (the language of choice for privacy or punishments), and she often excuses her French. Her organizational skills are impressive, though she has still not mastered the art of being in more than one place at a time, and she shines as a short order cook.  She does not shy away from overtime and even after her sleep deprivation thresholds have been skillfully tested by such experts as… the norovirus…she still exhibits stellar reflexes with a bucket at the slightest gag. As for her endurance, thus far things are looking good, but we will have to get back to you with a more complete assessment after further research, involving testing and experimentation in various stress environments, temperature extremes, volume levels…etc: we will update in around 6 years…when Little Man becomes a teenager. 

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