I’m “just” a stay at home mom.
I am tired all the time. I’m thrilled if I get all my kids dressed by noon and I feel like someone should give me a trophy for feeding a few mouths.
For me it’s like an Olympic sport getting them to agree to take the green plate instead of the orange. Begging them to go to bed and stay there without crying or asking for another snack.
I also feel so frumpy all the time. Sometimes it’s 5 pm before I’ve realized I forgot to apply any makeup, which doesn’t help me look or feel like a rock star. The sheer act of wiping noses and calming tantrums just doesn’t boost the self-esteem either. As a mother in these circumstances it’s hard to feel like I am accomplishing anything at all – the way I might feel dressed to the tens at work receiving praise for a job well done from a boss.
I’ve thought this about my kids more than once,
“Do you know how much I do for you? Will you ever know?”
Because unlike a stellar leader in the workplace, my work is not praised, and extra effort is not rewarded with a bonus check. Motherhood is all volunteer. We do it completely for love. I do it with the hope that my three small children will someday be independent, successful and happy; with the hope they will build their own family someday. I do it because I want more for them then I do for myself.
Unfortunately, somewhere in the mix of changing the dirty diapers and sleepless nights, I forget who I am or why I am doing what I am doing.
Sometimes I just see my children as keeping me from my own potential or from the vision of the person I want to be.
There are moments, however, that help set me straight. The other day, for example, I was able to catch a glimpse of myself for what I really am. My friend and I took our kids to the museum, after an hour of herding them from one room to another and counting to make sure they were all on the elevator we finally made it out of the building.
In front of the museum I offered to snap a photo of our group to remember our time at the museum. After I did that I looked at the picture and saw my friend, one woman, standing over 9 kids (we were both babysitting a kid or two that day and she had a foster child as well).
In that moment I saw nobility.
I saw a woman who had given up her profession as a nurse to watch over her small children and to help other mothers with their children. No one offered her money to do what she did. Even for her foster child, her time was not reimbursed – not with any material goods at least.
What I saw in that moment and in that photo was human life. Multiple human lives that could not be possible without this woman. There is no way to put a value on a human life. For a moment I remembered motherhood is one of the greatest honors and the highest callings there is in our society.
For some reason though, motherhood still gets less than noble marks from others. Some may think women who choose to stay at home with their children are doing a great disservice to women. Perhaps they believe the decision to have children was made because of some lack of education on the mother’s part.
Its almost as if with the rise of feminism, has come the fall of motherhood – as if you are less than important if you choose to stay home with children instead of foster a career or pursue a masters degree.
Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in some of today’s popular philosophies. When instead I should drown out the noise of what is popular for women currently, and see with my own eyes what is really important for me. Woman standing over and protecting these beautiful lives.
As mothers, and other individuals in the community who are raising our children (teachers, childcare providers, grandparents, athletic coaches to name a few), we are all on a team. A team to raise the next generation and build a something more important than ourselves.
Mothers have a great job, and even though we get tantrums instead of acclimations from our employers, we need to step back, take a picture, and see what we are really accomplishing – even in the moments we are shuffling around the house unshowered, covered in yogurt and calming restless 2 year olds…
Summer Blackhurst took a crash course in parenting five years ago. She had her first boy, followed two years later by another boy, and then 18 months later by her bouncing baby girl. With her three tiny people to take care of–AND with all that extra time she has—she is a writer, photographer, and a parenting/childcare researcher for Go Au Pair, where she has a parenting blog. (http://www.goaupair.com/host-families/blog/child-care-tips?utm_source=kindnesst&utm_medium=article&utm_term=blackhurst&utm_content=SAHM&utm_campaign=discovery)