The question came up recently. Only this time it was uttered from little lips. Innocent ones who are figuring out the world and how it works.
I’ve become used to the generic responses of my peers. Braced myself for the usual, “Oh, you’re a stay-at-home mom. Good for you. Not many people can do that these days.” Willed myself to ignore the feelings of inferiority that threaten to take over when I meet doctors and women with masters degrees who are using them to change their world in the work force.
I’ve accepted my aging wardrobe. Have made peace with my house being cluttered by toys and things that aren’t actually toys only my son thinks they are so he spreads them out all over the place. I find a great sense of accomplishment in making my own laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. I don’t stress over the idea of living paycheck to paycheck while we pay off medical bills like I did in the beginning.
But when the question was posed to me out of pure, innocent curiosity by my precious three-year-old niece a while back, I was not prepared to answer. I didn’t expect the rush of emotions that came over me as I contemplated an answer that would help a child build a framework of understanding for this realm of motherhood.
As I sputtered for a second to come up with an answer, I felt the urge to somehow convey to her what a deep question she’d uttered, but for now a simple, “I take care of Ryan and help Uncle Tanner with whatever he needs done” will have to do. She will have many years to strengthen her understanding, to develop her own definition of what it is I do.
In the mean time, I couldn’t help but ask my son the other day what he thought my description entailed. It was a fun, light-hearted moment while his daddy was getting ready for work. His answer has made me smile and chuckle to myself as I continue to do whatever it is I do each day.
Me: “What is Daddy’s job?”
Ryan: “He works at the fire engine station.”
Me: “What is Mommy’s job?”
Ryan: “To help me pick up toys. And to feed Nemo.” (Our beta fish)
That response is great enough to keep me going on this path that I’ve chosen (and love). It has also helped me remember to feed the fish more regularly.
It’s the average, mundane events of every day that can make this job seem less-than glamorous to myself as well as those watching, trying to understand the complexities of motherhood. Today I’m finding encouragement in what Lisa-Jo said so profoundly in this post,
“You are mighty, because you are mother.”
And with that I’m off to feed that fish.
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