Thank-you very much.
And before I dare even say another word, let me just say this to all the employed moms out there. In no way, shape, or form, is what I’m about to say meant to disparage or belittle what you do on a daily basis. Whether you are employed because you prefer it that way or you have to be because your family is relying on your income, you ARE AWESOME!!! Being a mom is not easy and a lot of hard work no matter what else you have going on in your life and in no way do I mean to suggest otherwise.
That being said, I had an incident today and it’s not the first time it’s happened. But today it’s bugging me more so than usual and I’m in the mood to write, so you all get to hear about it (thank-you for indulging me as this has very little, ok nothing, to do with running).
I had to go get that 1 hour blood glucose test done today. You know, the one you take when you’re pregnant and they make you drink that really sweet stuff that doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as something that sweet SHOULD taste to see how your pancreas reacts. That one. And I’ve got to admit, somewhere about mid way through my hour long wait before my blood draw I realized I was really enjoying my time all to myself (in the waiting room with a half dozen strangers that is). I did a little writing. I tooled around on Facebook. Then, I watched the weather and read the news. No one climbing all over me. No one shouting demands. No one to say “No!” to five thousand times or pry little things that don’t belong out of their fast furious little grasps. It was kind of nice. Before I knew it, the nurse, who shall heretofore be called Nurse Clueless, called me in for my blood draw.
She seemed nice enough, had a bright cheery smile on her face and started to engage me in a little chit chat. “How are you?”, “Ready to be done?”, “Is this your first baby?”, “Do you know what you’re having?” etc. But then she asked me this: “Do you work?”
Now, I’m really not an easily or quickly offended person and I honestly don’t have a problem with that question. I knew what she meant. Do I have a job? And so that’s the question I answered. “No. I stay at home with my girls” I told her. An answer to which I believe there are any number of appropriate responses to give. Things like: “Well, I’m sure that’s plenty of work.” Or “What’s that like?” Or “Do you enjoy that?” Or even just “that’s nice.” But the response I got was, “Oh.” Followed by a pause and a follow-up question of, “Well, what does your husband do?” (There’s less smiling going on now btw, in fact, eye contact is virtually gone). I answered her and then, I got silence…for pretty much the entire rest of the time I was there, which was really only a few minutes more but somehow felt really awkward. Then she told me I was all set and to have a nice day.
Ok. What the crack? Why am I suddenly not worth talking to because I’m not a “working mom?” And can we just get one thing straight. It’s not like I’m laying around all day watching soap operas or judge shows and eating bon bons while my kids run around unsupervised like wild hooligans. My kids are 5 and 2. I AM WORKING. ALL. THE. TIME.
In fact, I am working 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 8AM-8PM (on a REALLY good day when one of the SLEEPS IN and I’ve run the snot out of them so they both fall asleep quickly.) And when my “shift” is over, I’m still on call at ALL times in case of nightmare, illness, thirst, mosquito bites that won’t stop itching, middle of the night toilet paper shortages, sudden urges to play for no apparent reason, and whatever other random reason one of my kiddos walks into my room or screams my name for.
I get no vacation days, personal days, sick days, or holidays. I don’t get smoke breaks, coffee breaks, or lunch breaks. For crying out loud, I can’t even get a 30 seconds to pee break without someone walking in or pounding on the outside of the door yelling “Mommy! Where are you?” (apparently, I disappear when I walk into the bathroom and shut the door…right in front of them).
I mean, come on. It’s not like I never had a job. I know how physically, mentally, and even emotionally exhausting they can be. But so is a job as a stay at home mom. Staying at home with small children means being ON EVERY second and not just on and ready for anything, but also being two steps ahead of whatever precarious position they may put themselves in. It’s a complete and utter giving of yourself, putting yourself and your needs behind those of the little people who have been entrusted to your care. It’s repeating yourself over and over and over and still having your tiny little co-workers ignore your request creating MORE work for you in the process. There simply is no slow or down times. EVER.
Listen, I made the choice to give up my career and stay home with my girls. I own that choice and everything that comes with it. And I still believe for me and my family, it was the right one. So I don’t say all this because I’m frustrated and I regret leaving my job. Or I think I made a mistake. I don’t. I love what I do every day, exhausting though it may be. I just do NOT understand why we as women and mothers sometimes pick each other apart or look down upon one another when it comes to this issue. Because unless you can completely and entirely get into my shoes and walk (or run) in them for a few weeks, you’ve got no business thumbing your nose at me because of what you THINK my life is like on a daily basis and I’ve got NO business doing the same to you. Everybody’s different. Everybody’s kids are different. Everybody’s families have different needs. So instead of tearing each other down, let’s really be women shall we? And give each other the mutual respect and admiration deserved for doing our very best at THE hardest, toughest, most rewarding job out there. Motherhood.
So the next time someone like Nurse Clueless asks me, “Do you work?” I might respond a little differently. Something more along the lines of, “Do I work? Yeah. I’m a stay at home mom. I work my a$$ off!” But then again, I’d probably have to explain myself, or I’d get drawn into a debate or argument or something. And who’s got time for that? Certainly not I. Too much work to do
P.S. Check back tonight for the new giveaway!