Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lemons can fill your day

Sometimes I wonder about how I am to manage all those crazy events that fill my days. Being a mother is a test of personal sanity. Really it is. You are the one person responsible for keeping it all together even when everyone else has lost it. It's not easy. Some days you'll want to run and hide in a closet. Those task lists always get filled to brimming and there will always be more to do. For as much as we do, the anger, the sadness, the laughter, the joy and everything in between we continue to fulfill our role without fail. The spirit of a mother cannot be broken. Anyone who has had to drag a tantrum throwing toddler out of a store knows what I mean. Everyday is an adventure.

When I meet new people I am asked "What do you do?" they of course are starting a conversation looking for something to build a connection. I tell them I'm a Mommy. When their eyebrows raise, looking at my 9 and 7 year old they are trying to figure out just why I stay home. That's when the questions go from being friendly to judgmental. Many people presume that once the kids have packed up and gone off to primary school that a mother must go get a job. Get a job, I still can't say that with a straight face, get a job, heh-heh. Usually I correct them and say "You mean another job?" Think about it. I already have the most important job: taking care of the family and household. That is quite enough for one person, why would I need another one? When you ask a woman who stays home with her children "What do you do all day?" you should know that small question may have just turned the conversation in a negative direction. Sometimes when I'm asked that question I want to rattle off a list so detailed that it would make their head spin, instead I reply simply with a polite smile. I have learned that most people will never comprehend the extent of what I do. Because if they have to ask me that ridiculous question then obviously they are clueless. Telling people that I do more every day before they wake up and leave for work is not the best way to make a good impression. There have been times when I have wanted to get sassy and educate them. However satisfying that would be I refrain. I take comfort in knowing the truth. One thing Mommyhood has taught me is endless patience and understanding. Whereas the judgmental people insinuating I am a lazy person incapable of nothing more than being a "legal babysitter" can't see past their own prejudice I see their comments as evidence of their poor manners. I let them go about their questioning trying to learn why it bothers them so much that I "just stay home with the kids" and not "do anything else" with my day. Their criticism is a form of social pecking, puffing their own egos in an attempt to make me envious of them and their lives. Yet it never works. I just can't find envy in anything they have that is more exceptional than what I have myself.

There is no simple way to describe my daily events, the purpose of my life, there just isn't a single complete definition. I doubt there ever will be. Sure I can have awful days: when your 7 year old spills her breakfast all over herself 5 minutes before she has to leave for school, or those days where just when you think you have filled up the last bucket of barf another bout begins, or when a toddler decides that a fist full of rocks should be flushed down the toilet with her underwear, or when your child has pneumonia, or when your husband bakes lasagna in your favorite pyrex pan and covers it with the plastic lid instead of foil and is baffled why the lid melted into the lasagna, or when your husband and children are locked out of the house and decide to dig up the back yard to pass time and you have to hose them down because they are so filthy or when your child thinks sticking peas up her nose is funny, or the time when your toddler is so ill with the flu she has to be hospitalized and you sit with her all night long trying to give her comfort when you yourself are sad and uncomfortable. For all the insanity there is far more to love. I love that my girls are so pleased I am home. They find comfort in knowing that Mom is home for them every single day. I love that I don't have to scramble in the morning to find a way to be at work and take care of a sick kid. I love that I have the luxury to be at home for my girls so they can do things like soccer, dance or play dates after school. I love to see how excited the girls get about pizza. I love being able to watch drawing after drawing be created while I cook supper. I love hearing all those crazy outrageous stories the girls make up, I love watching my girls score their first soccer goals. I love seeing the first time they rode a 2-wheeler. I love going on a horseback ride to see the Grand Tetons and hearing their gasps as they see those beautiful mountains. I love the random things they do. I love talking about books with my 9 year old as we hike a mountain. I love hearing their laughter every single day. I may not be out making a name for myself in an office building somewhere but I am called the most important name every day: MOM.

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

unlike you i go into detail. they usually ask if i need a vacation.

Judith said...

Those people hire help. I'll bet the cleaning lady comes every week, Mrs. Edwards makes her pies, and her kids consume fast food several "meals" a week. Next time you hear such nonsense remind yourself that you're an educated, smart, creative, caring Mom. And besides, you're way to busy to listen to Ms. Nomanners.

Helen said...

I'm so with you on this one. My youngest just started preschool down the street, and now I'm home alone during the day. I actually do work 2 other jobs, one as a freelance artist and the other as a writer. Neither of those job titles gets much respect either at times. But you know what? I'm up at 5AM, in bed by 11PM, and I keep everything going in the hours in between.

When someone asks me what I do all day, I usually describe my job(s) in the same language I used to use to describe my work in the Army Reserves. Training, maintenance, dissemination of information, planning, transportation, supply, etc. Those very accurate descriptions of my work make those people get very quiet very quickly.