During my early and uncertain days of motherhood I dreaded events where I had to mingle with new people. Why, you might ask? Well, because at events such as these there is mingling and small talk and every time, the inevitable question I had hoped to avoid would rear it’s ugly head: ” … and what do you do?”
I was still finding my footing after the transition from a job as a teacher to staying home full-time and was never quite sure what to say. Often I found myself fumbling for words while I felt the need to explain that I used to be a teacher, but that now I was “just a mom.” Even though I know what an important job being a mom is, I couldn’t help but feel a bit like a slacker … like maybe these random strangers would think that motherhood was just a cop out so I wouldn’t have to get a “real” job.
The thing is, I’m 99.9% certain that no one ever thought I was a slacker (or whatever other ridiculous thoughts crossed my mind). It was all just me and my own hang-ups and worrying about what other people thought, when really they didn’t care. I was judging myself, because I was having a hard time with this new passage into motherhood. I was used to having a job that I was good at, a job where I had a set schedule and quantifiable ways to mark achievement, a job where I received praise from my colleagues for a job well done.
This whole motherhood business was completely different.
I now found myself thrown into a job that I — quite frankly — wasn’t good at. I knew nothing about babies and the fact that I was sleep deprived and crazy hormonal did nothing to help me feel like less of a failure. I was by myself all day at a job where there were no real marks for achievement aside from keeping a little blob of a human alive each day … which is a bit vague if you ask me. I received little praise and obviously no thanks from my infant child. Oh, and the new job’s hours were 24/7/365. No weekends or holidays or sick pay. It was rough.
But, after awhile I started to find my footing and got the hang of this “mom thing” and I started to realize that there’s nothing “just” about being a mom. Moms are pretty amazing … the stay-at-home, work-at-home, or work-outside-the-home mom. All share some pretty amazing skills and experiences on their resume. Mine would convey that I have grown and nourished life with my body. I can keep tiny, unpredictable humans alive every day. I can kiss owies like no ones business and hide veggies in the unlikeliest of places. I can teach life skills and organize schedules amidst chaos. I am well-versed in the fine art of multi-tasking and I can dance and sing show tunes in the kitchen while simultaneously flipping pancakes.
The job of a mom may not be a very glamorous one and the pay is pretty terrible (unless you count toddler snuggles and slobbery baby kisses as payment in which case I’m rich), but now I’m OK with that. Being “just a mom” is exactly what I want to be.