I have never disclosed it in one of my pieces, but my partner is very successful. He is well known in his field and makes a lot of money. Despite all that, it was very important for me to pursue self-fulfillment. Thankfully, I have managed to find that, and even establish myself in my field of choice. So why do I still feel like I am treated as his little plus one?
Five years ago, I had my second daughter. My partner and I were very excited and were ready to take on this together. However, my partner’s work didn’t allow him to miss many days, so I had to carry most of the weight. Don’t get me wrong – I am not complaining, I loved every moment I got to spend with my kids. Nonetheless, I did notice the way people treated me was different.
I remember going with my partner to a work event back then. Because my partner and I work in similar fields, most of his co-workers know me and my work, and I always believed and felt they have respect for me and my work. However, at that work event, I felt like I was being treated differently. It was as if all my professional accomplishments were gone, and I was just Hailey’s mother.
Again, don’t misunderstand me. Being a mother is one of, if not the, biggest achievements of my life. However, I do have more than that to offer. There are so many more things I can talk about and understand. Why now, that I am a new mother, I am excluded from the conversations? Are all my credentials gone in an instant now? Is my only credit being a partner and a mother?
It is time people realize women can be both mothers and professionals. We shouldn’t be held down to a box. I am not just someone’s plus one, but a whole person – with interest and accomplishments. I have so much to contribute, so please, don’t belittle me.