Saturday, June 29, 2013

Who Am I?

I can't even tell you how many times this week alone a kid or teacher called me "Ava's Mom" as if it were my actual name. I answer to it without hesitation just like if they called me Amanda. After Ava was first born, I wrote a post called "I'm Ava Mom" about kids and grown-ups calling me that instead of my name. It was only a few months ago that Ava wondered about my actual name.

When I was a little girl my family called me Mandi. Now only a few people call me Mandi. After graduating college, I built a professional identity as Amanda Volarvich. Then 7 1/2 years ago, Aaron and I got married and changed my identity to Amanda Berkey. The Volarvich name showed up surprisingly in January when we signed our mortgage refinance paperwork. I couldn't believe after all this time, I signed my name as Amanda Volarvich.
The day I became a Berkey.
Then Ava was born in March 2010. Hearing myself referred to as a mother was surreal. Now, Ava prefers to call me mama or mom. And in sweet moments, she calls us Baby Mama and Baby Daddy. And then if we have another child, I'm sure it will be so cool to hear his/her friends call me by their name too.

First family photo in March 2010.
Here I am 36-years old, and I remember those days in my 20's when I identified with being a feminist focusing my power on advancing a career and being independent. Then after marrying Aaron, we merged our independent lives and identities into a unit. We had to become more reliant on one another. We've adopted a mix of traditional roles in the context of a modern family. I still feel like a feminist, but now inside of marriage and motherhood. I handle the cooking, cleaning (ok, outsourced a bit!), and the bulk of child care duties. That's not because he's unwilling, but naturally with mothering/breastfeeding in Ava's first years she wanted me. Aaron handles all the outdoors work, which is a lot since we have a lot of land for city-standards. But, we adopted these roles by our personal interests. I love to cook and he loves to be outdoors. Now with being a mother, I want to do meaningful and challenging work but not at the expense of my family. So that means, I've put the brakes on surging to higher levels for now while we have a young family.

It makes me look forward to more transformations in the future when Ava grows up or even my 40th birthday, which is not too distant in the future. I want to live my life to honor those important milestones and transitions in life to shape me into the person that I have become. It makes me appreciate my age and where I am in my life. I don't want to hide my age because it's a marker for what I've been through, the good and the bad and in between!

Ava is an energetic and empathetic 3-year old.


  1. You are such a beautiful woman, Amanda! I admire you in all of your roles. xoxo

    1. Ali, you're so sweet! You made my heart smile when I read it. Sorry it took me awhile to reply.

  2. I think about this too. It always makes me smile when I think about the point in time where Jared started calling me Mom and I called him Dad. For 17 years we called each other only by our first names and now it changed. Makes me smile and laugh to this day. I remember when I was first called Rocco's Mom in line at the store by another mom from daycare I had met a few times. I make sure Rocco knows my name for emergencies. Both of us helped a lost girl in target and when I asked her what her moms name was she said mom. I told Rocco right there, see why it is important to know my name. :)

    1. Sheryl, I've been thinking about your idea for safety lately and I've been quizzing Ava about my name. And tonight went to the State Fair and she ran ahead. I told her that I didn't want her to get separated from me and Daddy. She thought that someone else would have to take her home. It reminded me of how I need to talk to her about not talking to strangers already.