Since I have been a stay at home mom it seems that I am continuously made aware of my so called ‘non-working’ status. Like many mothers when I am asked what I do I tend to babble and stutter and revert back to the last occupation that I had some ten years ago. And although I am proud that I have decided to stay home and raise my children, it seems difficult to convey ‘what I do’ to those people that ask me. Granted, few of these questioners are moms themselves, but the deep sense of manners requires me to answer the question as appropriately as I can.
When one gentleman I was recently interviewing with sarcastically questioned what I have been doing all these years it – insinuating that I was some sort of welfare junkie draining society of all excess, it hit me that I was probably more skilled and qualified to do just about anything than some of the most educated college graduates of the year. To this man, it just wasn’t acceptable to stay home raising children and it certainly meant to him that there was a void in my capabilities and experience. As I was secretly seething from his comments I began to devise my real resume in my head. When I was done, I titled the piece “I am a mother” attached a professional cover letter and sent it off to the man with punctuated anxiety.
I am a mother. For ten years I have been a stay at home mom, cultivating the life experiences of 4 human beings ensuring their happiness and pointing them continuously down a road that will lead them to self confidence and success in life. I am a master short order chef preparing at least 3 meals a day, not including appetizers and drinks with the ease and efficiency of a Waffle House waitress. I am the maid who maintains some level of order, digging through the chaos to match up socks and find the very last pair of clean underwear five minutes before we have to leave for school. I am the sun and the moon, waking and sleeping at just the right times, warming the mornings so that the children will remain filled with hope. When the rain moves in I am the umbrella that dries their tears and enables the bright sunshine of life to move from behind the clouds so that it can shine brilliantly on their face once again. When holding the umbrella is simply not enough; I turn into the psychologist and psychic who can read their thoughts, figure out their deepest intentions, see their futures, ease their pain and help them figure out the problems that seem just to large for their young lives to understand. I am the teacher who answers the questions they are too embarrassed to ask at school, who helps them with their homework every night and who drives them down the road while quizzing them on their spelling words. When they bring home their A+ I am the one who buys them an ice cream and allows them to bask in their pride and accomplishments as a silent partner of their endeavor. I am the face in the crowd, the cheering lunatic on the bleachers who always catches their eyes and the one person who knows exactly the right time to give a hug and the right time to save it for later. I am their friend for now, believing and trusting them like no one else ever will. When they are about to make a mistake I am brave enough to let them so that they can learn what they need to know. I am ever patient, mostly kind and always completely full of love and gratitude for the breath they breathe and the steady beating of their hearts.
I am a mother. I am often the cop who polices their behavior, investigates their friends, monitors their choice in television shows and music and is responsible for always pointing them in the right direction. I am the taxi cab driver and chauffeur without whom they would go and get nowhere. I am the bank teller who hands out money, pays the bills on time, ensures that the everyone has exactly what they need – often ignoring the price tag and going without things for myself so that they are afforded the best in life. I am the wardrobe consultant and hair dresser who points out how beautiful they are even when they don’t believe. I am the personal shopper and personal assistant using the adeptness of my multi tasking skills to make sure that every paper is signed, every form is filled out, and every appointment is made. I can listen to one, do for another and spin laundry all at once. I am the doctor who can not afford a day of slacking bed side manner, dispensing medications and taking temperatures and waking up just minutes before they throw up on the bed. Sometimes I am the covers that keep them warm at night when there is a thunderstorm or when they just feel like they need to be held a little longer. When they question the fairness of life or lose faith in the world and ask about God I become the preacher who shows them the light and the love they need.
I am always on call, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have not had a day off in over 11 years. I work without vacation, without monetary reward and without appreciation or progress reports. Even so, I maintain the quality of my job, and am committed to the cause. My job description is constantly changing and there will come a time when I will most certainly be laid off…but I will wait till they need me again. I will accept the rolling eyes and teen age attitudes with a grain of salt and I will cry in private so they never see me as anything but strong. I am always an example of something. I cannot afford to lose my temper, lose my faith or disrespect others because I am constantly being watched. It is my job to maintain control like the president of a multi billion dollar organization so that all things will run smoothly and so that my children can capitalize on the lives they have. There is no room for error; only constant improvement and the unwavering strength to always meet the challenges ahead. I am a mother and I have been for a long time and will be for the rest of my life. I do this job because although it has never been asked of me, it is exactly what I want to do and what I feel I am most successful at. If they make it through their lives knowing who they are and recognizing all that they have to offer in their lives than I have succeeded. If they are able to leave everything better than it was before they came in, then I will know that I have done my duties as well as possible.
After I mailed my resume I sat down with myself truly considering what it is I do for a living. I realized almost all at once that what I do for a living is create lives and life experiences for people I love that are worth living. There is no greater call to duty or profession that could prepare, educate, entitle or provide me with more skills or capabilities. Surprisingly, this particular man ended up hiring me after all and I have been working with him successfully for over a year now. I was grateful at the opportunity to be questioned about ‘what I do for a living’ because it led me to be proud and content with my job. I no longer feel I have to resort back to what I did in my previous life in order to feel worthy and no stay at home mom should. Now, when I am asked what I do I say curtly and proudly that I am a mother. I figure very little more needs to be added.