The Hat I'm Wearing
Like most working moms (that would be ALL of us, of course!) I’m a serious multi-tasker and wear a lot of hats. I’m the grocery shopper, the primary cook, the laundress, the chauffeur, the homework nag, the fan in the stands—whatever it takes at that moment to make our home and our lives run smoothly. I’m also a writer with deadlines and other professional responsibilities.I’m both proud of and horrified by how many things I can accomplish in one day and have become somewhat addicted to the thrill that comes with crossing something off the daily ‘to do’ list. It’s a great psychological ‘pat on the back’ – something homemakers and mothers all too rarely get.
I have been known to whine on occasion, but mostly I’m OK with constantly juggling work and home.However, who I am at any particular point in time can be confusing. (This is not an esoteric issue but one of name and identity.) Because I married late and was attached to and known by maiden name, I decided that I would keep it professionally and take my husband’s last name legally and socially.
So I stayed Wendy Wax for work and became someone else entirely in our personal life. As a longtime ‘W’ it’s been kind of nice to shoot up to the beginning of the alphabet, even though my days of being called on in class or lining up alphabetically are pretty much over. At the time I decided to split my identities, everything was separate and easily defined; I did talent work and video and film production then and my two worlds rarely collided.
But then I had children as one person and sold my first book as another. And the confusion inherent in having two distinct identities began.After all these years of split personality, I still occasionally get confused.
Am I the baseball mom working concession, taking tickets or cheering from the stands?
Or the author in the bleachers staring down at her laptop instead of the game trying to complete one more chapter?
Am I the guest speaker whose audience will be enthralled by everything I say?
Or the mother who talks to walls because she lives in a house of males with highly selective hearing?
Am I out in the world driving car pool, shopping for groceries, and picking up the dry cleaning? Or am I the frantic writer on deadline, holed up in my office unshowered and still wearing pajamas?
Sometimes I have to stop and take a minute to figure this out. I need to get my name straight in my mind before I walk into that room.
I read an article recently about how important it is not to separate the parts of your life but let them all exist and flow together. But if I were unable to shut out my real world for long enough periods of time, I would never have completed a novel let alone eight of them. And there have been times when real life got tough, and it was nice to be able to retreat into the fantasy world I was creating.
Most of my novels are set in the suburbs and revolve around women living lives similar to mine.
My characters, like most of the women I know, tend to wear many hats and sometimes feel overwhelmed.
I’m not sure that there’s any solution to this, but if we ever meet and I hesitate slightly before I introduce myself, just know that it’s not at all about you.