We like to label each other. It puts people in easily understandable categories, so that if someone says, "I'm a single mom", we know exactly what that means.
Or we think we do. What associations come to mind when we think of a single mother? No husband? Check (probably). Children? Check (almost definitely). But the problem is that we attach a lot of associations to those labels that may or may not be correct. Divorced? Maybe. Poor? Possible. I could go on, since some people attach a whole host of unfounded assumptions to single moms, but I've already made my point.
I don't like labels. Sometimes I refuse to use them because I know people are going to make assumptions about me, even if the labels are 100% accurate. Woman. Mormon. BYU graduate. Mother. Sometimes the assumptions come from people outside that group, and sometimes the worst ones come from within the group.
Some labels have changing definitions, depending on who's using them (see: feminist). And in some situations, people's definitions of a label can be so rigid that they exclude people who may either wish to belong or actually do belong to the group.
That's why I hate the mother labels. And, in this situation, the labels don't describe the contents of the can of soup accurately. Stay-at-home mom? Well, I occasionally leave the house. Work-at-home mom? All moms work at home. Working mother? All moms work.
Then there are those of us who defy categorization. I'm not really an SAHM, since I sometimes freelance, attend networking sessions, and work on the site you're reading now. I can't consider myself a WAHM, either, since I rarely get paid for what I do. And I don't have a job "outside the home", either.
Most of us are some kind of hybrid. We're dedicated daughters and mothers and workers. I think we need to stop hiding behind labels so we can get to know what's really inside of us. We're people, not cans of soup.