I Peeled Off My Mom Label

Do you read labels? I do. I like to know what’s in the food I buy. I dutifully read instructions on clothing labels and check to see where things were manufactured.

It’s more difficult to read the labels we impose on ourselves and each other. You know the deal. You meet someone new in a work or social situation and often, but not always, they’ll ask, “What do you do?” Immediately their mental printer spits out a label for them to smack on your forehead. When someone asks, “Where are you from?” the same thing happens.

If you answer you’re from a huge European city you will be treated and thought of differently than a farmer from the mid-west. We do the same with peoples’ jobs and social lives.

I’m not saying we should stop asking people where they live or what they do for work. But I’d love it if we could take a new look at how we respond to the answers!

I despise the labels and preconceived notions pressed upon me whenever I answer one of those introductory questions with the fact that I’m a Mom. In fact I do not lead with or rarely mention that I am. When I do, the conversation always peters off, the people move on, and I lose out on good social and professional opportunities.

Yes, I know this makes me a hypocrite. I am guilty of responding to other mothers negatively – which is how I know about this. I am truly trying to be more aware and actively understanding of what others may be going through.

Image: cromacom

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8 Responses to “I Peeled Off My Mom Label”
  1. We all do it. I was keenly aware of this when I was an out-of-work college grad with no prospects. I’d cringe just expecting the question “What do you do?” or “What’s new with you?” to come up in convo.

    • Blanche

      There is so much more of who we are than what we do! Thanks for commenting!

  2. I think this is brilliant, Blanche!

    We are a society very hung up on labels. I find that if we can look past the label at the “fabric” that makes up the person, the information we gather about one another is so much more interesting.

    • Blanche

      There is so much more of who we are than what we do! To learn the background of a person the why, where, who, when – the fabric – is who I want to know!

      Thanks Sugarwilla!

  3. Janet

    Have you found any particular steps to help yourself see past the labels on others? The hardest part for me is that I typically shut down before I have even realized that I did so only out of an automatic response to something which I assumed about the person, not something which I actually learned.

  4. What I try to do is imagine me being the one labeled. i try to main mindful of the way things might look to someone else about my situation and remember the same is true for them. Being mindful always helps. I hope that makes some kind of sense to you Janet.

  5. Else

    I’m wearing so many labels right now. Sometimes I suppose I assume others should have as many and I try to make them wear some, too.

    I wonder if there’s an upside?

  6. Liz

    We are all guilty of doing this at one time or another. We also tend to label people according to their views on certain subjects or issues.

    An inspiring post!

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