I guess this pep talk is more for me than anyone else but I think it will benefit a few moms out there. My bestie told me recently that I should take my own advice and I kinda realised that we often give some great advice to those we care about. It’s good advice, loving, caring advice so why is it so hard to apply to our own lives? Probably because we don’t think as highly of ourselves as we think of those we care about. It’s the age old, ‘I’m not good enough’ syndrome. But in this case, I’m writing this post so I can come back to it when I feel I need it.
Motherhood is important work. Possibly the most important work there is. Mildred B. Vermont said:
‘Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.’
It’s true that we don’t earn a salary and often feel less of a productive person for this very reason. After all, we were once honest, hardworking, tax paying citizens fuelling the industry of our countries and now? We’re stay at home moms. Dum dum dum! You know, child rearing, laundry washing, boring, frumpy stay at home mothers. We just sit at home all day and watch Jerry Springer whilst eating endless tubs of Ben and Jerry’s and sipping tea, right? Ha! I’d like to challenge anyone who thinks this to job shadow me for twenty four hours. Then we’ll see what you think of being a stay at home mom.
Ever get asked at a social gathering what you do for a living? And when you say you’re a stay at home mom, the person asking says something patronizing like, ‘how nice for you,’ and very quickly moves on to talk to someone more interesting? I don’t know about you but it makes me feel like a second rate citizen when this happens. Like my job as a mother is unimportant and like I have nothing of importance to contribute to a conversation. I feel like the other women at the party are more impotant than me. Like they’re more interesting because they earn a salary. Because they work outside of the home. Sounds stupid, right?
But why do we feel like this? Why do we feel like our job isn’t as important as someone who works outside of the home even if that person works at Burger King. Why does a salary or lack thereof dictate how important we feel as people? I guess it’s because to some salary dictates how important we feel about ourselves. I was once a legal secretary and earned £31 000 a year. Now, I don’t earn anything but I do the most gruelling and stressful job I can imagine. On any given day I’m a nuturer, doctor, nurse, teacher, cab driver, cook, nappy changing, homework helper, clothing washer, cheerleader, kids entertainer, lover, partner to my husband, disiplanarian, nutritionist, toilet scrubber, duster, gardener, errand runner, secretary, boo boo kisser, entrepreneur… the list goes on and on. How stupid to think that these job roles are unimportant. Every day of I give my all to my child and husband. I create and maintain a home, a happy haven for my loved ones and give all my love, care and attention to them. My job isn’t a 9-5 thing but a 24 hour 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, 365 days a year job and it’s about time I start treating myself like my job is one of the most important in the world.
I want my daughter to know what an important job motherhood, especially stay at home motherhood is because one day she may chose this for herself. I want her to know and feel deep down that she’s important regardless of what her job is and regardless of how much she gets paid.
My payment may not be monetary but it’s worth more than mere paper and coins. My payment is the sound of my daughters giggles when I tickle her. It’s the sound of her contented little sighs as she sleeps on my shoulder. It’s the sound of her burps and farts because I know she’s well fed and growing up healthy. It’s the smile on my husband’s face when after a long day he slides into bed next to me and says, ‘Aaah! Clean cotton sheets.’ It’s the snotty kisses I get from my daughter and group hugs I share with her and my husband every night. It’s the feeling I get when I look around my home and think, ‘I created this. This special refuge for myself and my family.’
Next time I’m at a social gathering and get patronized by a woman without kids who works outside the home, I’m going to think to myself, ‘Poor thing, doesn’t know what she’s missing out on.’ And I’m going to smile to myself knowing that while my days are filled with housekeeping and child rearing, they are also filled with more love than I could ever have imagined.