We were at the park for a church activity when a little girl approached me boldly and told me she was being ‘a interviewer’ and asked if she could ask me some questions about myself. I obliged and she began to ask me a series of questions, like my favorite treat and favorite color and things like that. She then asked, “what’s your job?” but glanced over at Brooklyn, who was in the swing, looked back at me sweetly and said, “No, wait, I know that one already. You’re a mom.”
I smiled too and said, “Yes I am….but, uh, did you know I’m also a writer?”
I don’t know why I do that sometimes.
Why I couldn’t just let it go and have mom be my job title?? I mean, isn’t being a mother the most important thing I do? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just have this intrinsic need to show that I am more than motherhood, that I can handle and do more than being a mom. I pride myself in being a “work at home” mom which really means that sometimes I’m even more stressed out from trying to balance working and taking care of a baby at the same time instead of separating them like a sane person. But, it’s like I have to tell people that in addition to being a mother to my daughter, scrubbing my house clean, running errands, and making food, I also write articles on the side…because I’m some sort of super woman (which is all a big lie…the super woman part at least. The rest of it I manage to do like a chicken running around with it’s head cut off).
Don’t get me wrong, I am so incredibly proud of being a mother. I can honestly say that Brooklyn is my proudest accomplishment. She brings me greater joy than anything I’ve ever experienced. I suppose I’m still being worldly by making sure that people know that I do more than just mother.
Which brings me to my other point– the word “just.” I read a fantastic article the other day about how we, as women, should stop using the word “just,” to describe what we do. You are not just a student or just working or even just being a mom. By adding the phrase “just” to it, we are demeaning the work that we actually do every day. We act as though it isn’t important.
But it is. Whatever you’re doing, whether that is being a stay-at-home mom, working full time in your career field, studying so you can get ahead or a even diversified mixture of the above, you are not “just” doing that to pass the time– it defines who you are and what is important to you.
I need to look in the mirror and tell myself– “You’re a mom.” and be proud to leave it at that. Consider the word mom– it means that you are only the most important person in the world, at least to one little one who looks forward to your care each day. You know, the little one who raises her tiny arms up every time she sees you or grins ear to ear when you pick her up and talk to her. It’s so important to remember how important motherhood is and always will be, in this world of shifting values.
But…I’m also so much more than a mom– and that’s important to recognize too!
Yes, Brooklyn could go to a daycare all day and I could go back to working in television news (something I worked hard for…and trust me, something I also dream about sometimes when she’s being difficult). But, I don’t think anyone else in the world would get as much joy out of changing her diapers or playing patty cake with her or reading her books or tickling her. So, that’s what we do all day and it’s a dream come true for me. I feel very lucky and blessed that we have the means for me to be able to be at home with her.
But, I also don’t think that women who become mothers should just settle down and give up their skills and interests completely for the sake of motherhood. So, you spend a good portion of the day playing with your kids and keeping house. That’s great!…but what are you doing with the time you have when they are napping or when they don’t need you? Are you making good use of the talents that you were given? What are you good at? What do you love to do? I really do love to write, hence me becoming a freelance writer after quitting my full-time job to be at home with my daughter. I also love to cook and am making great strides to learn and get better at it. I have goals to start a garden (oh, how I dream of being a master gardener).
I guess what I’m getting at is that I don’t want women to feel unfulfilled with their lives when it’s ten years down the road. And before you start throwing stones at me for suggesting that being a mom isn’t fulfilling, hear me out. My mother gave up her dream of getting a college degree to be at home with me as a baby. It was a good choice and I’m glad she did it. She took on small jobs throughout my childhood so she could stay at home with my sister and I. But, my parents were pressed for money and my mom gave all her excess energy to us and never to herself. She burned out. She felt empty and like she hadn’t accomplished much or done much after 12 years of marriage and parenting. She left my da, my sister, and I to go have some fun and experience things that she didn’t get a chance to do earlier in life. I was hurt by her decisions. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking that if my mother would have given more time and attention to herself and her needs over the years, maybe she wouldn’t have felt the urge to leave us. So, I think it’s good to do what makes you happy, even at the slight expense of your children, if it will pay off for you and your family in the long run. You do you…and most of all, just do your best. That’s all we’re all trying to do anyway, right?
You are a great mother…and you are also so much more than that.