Thursday, November 29, 2007
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the work I do here at home with my girls. Some of my dearest friends have blogged about it over the last couple of months and I've finally formed my thoughts into words that I can share.
Aside from living in Germany for six months when Autumn was a baby, this is the first time I've lived outside of Utah since having kids. And since so many Utahns are LDS (you know, us Mormons...), there is more understanding than say, living in China where the norm until recently has been for families to have two children and naturally, both parents work. Yes, I'm generalizing, a lot, but I'm not blogging about those things right now. What I really want to say is...
I am tired of people seeing me out and about with my three daughters and looking at me like "Are you out of your mind?" or "Ummm...have you ever heard of birth control?" or "Can't you control them?!"
I am tired of people seeing me out and about with only TWO of my three and the thoughts are still there! "Oh, my, your girls are so close in age!"
Goodness. What's happened to people that families and children are not such a happy thing anymore?
But I really didn't intend to rant. I am to the point where I don't care when people think those thoughts so loudly. I know that what I am doing is important. I've been thinking about the "job title" of Stay-At-Home Moms. I wholeheartedly agree with Tiff that people write me off when I say, "I'm a Stay-At-Home mom". I echo her in saying, "Don't dismiss me!" And I've been thinking...when people ask me, "What do you do?", maybe I'll say:
Oh! What do you teach?
"I'm a chef."
Oh! Where do you cook?
"Why at home of course!"
"I'm a psychologist."
Oh? Do you have a specialty?
"Absolutely! I work with the emotionally unstable to help them live productive lives!"
And then depending on my mood on the given day, maybe they'll get more than one answer! Like:
"I'm a teacher but I really love to drive so I started my own chauffeuring business."
"I'm a chef but I'm also a clean-freak so I also do housekeeping on the side."
More thoughts on being a mom, from my friends:
My sister Rachel
If I never take an award-winning, groundbreaking, earth-shaking photograph, that's okay. If I never write something that broadens the mind, draws upon the emotions, and clarifies the senses of the thousands who read it, that's okay. If there is nothing to my name except "Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend", that's perfect. That's fine. Why? Because I'm a mother. I'm doing the hardest job I could possibly do--and "job" is really not accurate. I--those of us who mother--do something that requires all my energy, time, passion, and effort. There is no break! And I am nurturing those who will forge paths and brave trials of which I never would have dreamed. My family is my legacy, my family is my honor, my family is me.My good friend Crystal posted this quote in September from her friend Kelly's blog.
Now, of course I have difficult months, difficult weeks, difficult days, difficult moments. I would never claim that it's all smooth sailing. But the rewards are so great, and they more than make up for the times I don't know if I can keep going. Sometimes I watch my children in their sleep, their faces so relaxed and open, and I feel so close to where we come from, and I feel a mixture of homesickness and love--I think that's what it means when you say "I love them so much it hurts". I feel blessed by the experience, and humbled to have to work so hard every day to give yet more of myself. I'm happy to be a mother. I love being a mother. If all I ever do is be a dedicated mother and devoted companion to [my husband], it will be the very best I could have given in this life.
My best pep talk for moms who are at home and struggle to want to be there involves choosing to be happy, and creating a life you love. if you feel trapped by the walls of your home i need to let you in on a little secret: it was you who decorated those walls and it is you who is looking at them instead of going to the park and enjoying a crisp apple and a great book while your kids play. make your home, your life, your routine, one that makes you happy. paint the walls a color that doesn't feel like prison and get out and enjoy your freedom to play with your kids. do you know how many women would love to have your problems? you certainly don't need a boss to make you feel important, your children think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. in your home you have already risen to the c.e.o. position, and you are working for the greatest company in the world. talk about prestige. you get to use your computer for browsing blogs and etsy instead of spreadsheets, and you get to decide what everyone gets to eat for every meal. i mean, that's just powerful.My good friend Tiffany:
What I do matters. Don't you DARE make me feel otherwise. There are not enough of us in this world anymore. If my family has to eat peanut butter and saltines for 10 years just so that I can be home with my children, so be it. You can drive you fancy cars, live in your big houses, and look down your perfect plastic noses at me all you want. But that just makes you ignorant. You are not worth enough of my time for me to help you realize I am much wealthier then you will ever be!(To my friends that I've quoted, I hope you don't mind! You're words are so eloquent and help me keep my perspective!)
An interesting tidbit to tag on, did you know that it is estimated, based on all the "jobs" a mother does, her income would be $134,121 per year? If you'd like to see the entire article from Salary.com, click here.