Oct 27, 2008

the story of a working mom

It's Monday morning, she is lying in bed, finishing a wonderful dream of lying on a beach, alone. She is awaken from her slumber by a call from her boss. He is waiting for her to get to work, he has a few projects he needs her to work on. It's 6am.

She rolls out of bed with a groan, pulls on the most presentable thing she can find in the near dark, calls "good morning" to her husband who gets in the shower at that time, and heads off to work. After working through breakfast, getting something lukewarm to eat as she leans against a counter, and finishing one urgent project, she takes a moment to look in a mirror, realizing she never brushed her hair that morning.

Lunchtime comes and goes in the same way Breakfast did, she worked straight through, sitting briefly to scarf a half eaten Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and some goldfish crackers, grabbing a soda out of the refrigerator as she hustles off to complete some more urgent tasks.

Finally it is afternoon time, her downtime, a chance to catch up on those tasks that are less urgent, but just as important. She glances at her to-do list, and slaps her forehead as she realizes she forgot an appointment that morning, after a quick phone call to fix that mistake, her afternoon lull ends as her boss comes into her office to ask another favor from her, and so her day continues.

It's almost dinnertime, she fields a phone call from her husband, and ends up working straight through dinner. At least she is able to take a brief break and eat something homemade. 7pm comes and goes, her daily "closing" duties take center stage as she works quickly, but intentionally, so she can have some down time.

Finally, it is 8pm. As she arrives in her living room, the couch beckons, as does the television. She decides to check her email and talk with her husband a little while before she succumbs to the overwhelming urge to sleep.

It's Tuesday morning. Her boss calls this morning at 7am, giving her a little more wiggle room in her day, perhaps today will be the day she can take a shower.

Who is this woman? Is this a woman who is too focused on her career? Is this a workaholic who has her priorities all confused? No, this is me. A mom who chose a career path that doesn't pay. I chose to be a stay at home mom.

To be honest, there are days I have no idea why I made that choice. When my son is yelling at me and my daughter is slapping me and screaming NO at the top of her voice, I have secret dreams of going away to an office, where my boss isn't a cranky 4 year old or sticky 2 year old, and my co-workers don't want me to wipe their bottoms.

Then I remember why. I don't want anyone else to get the primary job of raising my children, especially when I can stay home and be their 24/7 mommy. I love the quiet moments when they are playing well together or we are all cuddled on the couch watching a movie or reading a book.

When my son spontaneously tells me that he loves me, or my daughter kisses me first and gives me a tight hug around my neck, I remember that there is a reason I wanted to be home. I want to be the one who knows all of their nonverbals, who can remember the day they took their first step, or laugh about their funny antics all day long.

It's a hard, thankless job that is far underrated as far as skills and patience goes. The average mom is a maid, cook, hairstylist (if you have a daughter), event coordinator, chauffeur, counselor, teacher, librarian, scientist, behavioral therapist, the list goes on and on. Yet many stay at home moms struggle with the feeling that they aren't valuable to our society, and often are dismissed as "just" a stay at home mom, as though they do that job because they have no other options or marketable skills.

I am that mom. I am the one in the grocery store with my preschooler talking back and my toddler throwing a tantrum. Who quietly attempts to corral her children as she feels the stares of strangers then completely loses her cool as her embarrassment increases and finally begins attempting to first bribe then threaten her children.

I am the mom who is talking with other moms at the park as I push my smiling daughter in the swing and yelling warnings at my risk-taking son who is climbing too high. I am the same mom who is desperately looking for someone else to normalize her daily struggles and feelings of frustration and insecurity as a wife, mother and woman.

The struggle of the mom who works out of the home, who either made the choice to work for herself or needed to work to make ends meet, is a different struggle with different issues, which I cannot fully relate to, and will not attempt to talk about here. I work part time which is still another story completely.

When does a stay at home mom get home from work? Answer: she doesn't, her home is her work, which means she works all of the time. If she takes a moment to sit on the couch, she notices the dust on the shelves or the cracker crumbs on the floor, which results in either late evening dusting and vacuuming or shame. Shame that her job, which on the surface seems simple enough, and certainly she has enough time for, isn't being accomplished well, and with discouragement, she may realize she will never finish.

God made me with the skills and abilities to complete the work He has placed before me. Today I fear that He didn't give me the passion to clean and the patience to endure bickering, whining and random screaming. Whatever shall I do?

Alas. I suppose I will just be that mom, the one with her hands over her ears, her back to the door that she just closed on her screaming, tantrum throwing daughter, praying that God will keep her sane for one more day.


Originally posted July 2007 on Myspace blog

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