"There is no way to track your work as a SAHM. Or the hours you put in. There is no clocking in or clocking out. No holidays or sick days or breaks. It is full-time, all day, everyday, 24/7, 365 days a year. I have no sales reports or revenue to show for it. The fruit of my efforts will hopefully be two successful, kind and loving human beings.")
"So, what do you do?" has always been one of my least favorite questions ever. It is meant for making small talk and getting to know people. but it always makes me feel such pressure. Like my one sentence answer is somehow supposed to sum up my whole soul and heart in words that describe how I make a living and what I do with my time.
To me, the question implies you are what you do. Nurse, teacher, doctor, lawyer, chef, fitness coach, secretary, manager. These are titles, ways to earn a living. But what if how you spend your time involves a lot more "living" versus "earning a living"?
I used to work full-time. Over time, really. I would get up for work at 4:30 am. Often times working a 10-hour, 12-hour, and even 14-hour days. This was as a working mother. But I am so grateful to be in a different season of my life now. Now, I am a full-time mother. Or stay-at-home mom as it's often called.
I change countless diapers, read books, clean endless messes, kiss boo-boo's, make up silly songs to entertain, cook food constantly, manage our family's time, finances, and home. Schedule doctors appointments and playdates. Register for preschool and research different ways of teaching and learning. Wash clothes, fold clothes. Sweep floors. Load up strollers and car seats and diaper bags. Wash pacifiers, locate lost snacks. Return books. Pay bills on time.
The name for all of that is: stay-at-home mom. And, honestly, it's often met with "Oh."
I take great pride in working hard and investing my time, energy, and heart into what I do. I did it when I catered, planned events, and was a manager. When I met with clients, set a buffet, made production sheets, and billed invoices. When I responded with that career there was always interest, approval even. Acknowledgment that what I did was legitimate. I don't really get that now from people's oh's.
There is no way to measure a person. And certainly, no way to measure a mother. As mothers, we are teachers, doctors, cooks, chauffeurs, playmates, babysitters, secretaries, and So. Much. More. Mothers don't earn paychecks and often have to get creative in meeting family needs since there are no longer two incomes in the family.
There is no way to track your work; the hours you put in. There is no clocking in or clocking out. No holidays or sick days or breaks. It is full-time, all day, everyday, 24/7, 365 days a year. I have no sales reports or revenue to show for it, no empire. Instead, I have two tiny humans. Two little hearts and minds. The fruit of my efforts will hopefully be two successful, kind and loving human beings.
That is something worth celebrating. Worth acknowledging.
Motherhood takes all my energy and all my time. One day it probably won't be so consuming. When school starts or potty training has happened or my littles learn how to sleep through the night. One day I might go back to school and get an "official" degree in something, or change my line of work. One day my kids won't need me as much as they do right now.
But right now, my children are my inspiration, my masterpieces, and my life work. I consider motherhood to be a career, and to be my career right now.
A career, by definition, is "An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress." An occupation, for a significant period of a person's life. With opportunities. And progress. I would certainly deem motherhood as an occupation for the whole of one's life full of opportunities. And learning and growing.
Maybe the problem isn't society's view of stay-at-home moms. Or the stranger's response to my answer when they ask "What do you do?". Maybe its not even the question itself. Maybe it has way more to do with my own confidence and opinion of what I do.
"So, what do you do?"
Well, I'm a mother. I care and nurture and look after and teach my children. And I love it. It is not all that I am but is what I do. It is hard, but it is worth it. I am tired, but I am happy.
Motherhood is my career.