Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Awkward Mom vs. Work

At the end of the day, it all comes down to Legos. 

So, Super Fetus, while skilled in many ways, clearly can't count. Child thinks this is trimester 1 if the vomiting I did all night is anything to go on. I suppose the less said about that the better. Point is, I was not in the best emotional place this morning and it was my turn to drive the car pool. Every Wednesday, I drive the carpool, and every other Wednesday, I drive Super Kindergarten's schoolmate's mom to her bus stop. This was such a Wednesday. We chatted (she is super sweet), we got to her bus stop, she got out, and then this happened.

Super K.: Where's your mom going?

Sweet K.: Oh, she is going to work.

Super K.: I see. My mom doesn't work.

Now, he has never said this before. I suppose it just never comes up. Well, today it comes up that I don't work. Of course it does. The day I am feeling weak and gross and awful because I WORKED at growing a human baby all night long. I felt like the floor was dropping. Which could have been a wave of nausea or it could be all the respect I thought my child had for me flying out the window. They sorta feel the same. But Super K. wasn't done.

Super K.: My dad works.

Sweet K.: Yeah, my dad works too.

Super K.: Wow! Both of them?

Sweet K.: Yeah.

Super K.: You must missed them a lot.

Sweet K.: Yeah. But she doesn't work every day. And he is home at night and somedays.

Super K.: That's good. I hate it when dad goes to work. I wish he'd stay home and play legos. Mom stays home and plays legos, it's fabulous.

Sweet K.: I bet. What sets do you have?

Super K.: Oh, a ton. Like this Batman one with the Joker....

Sweet K.: You have that one?! That's awesome!

The Lego discussion took the rest of the car ride and probably could have taken the rest of the morning, if they weren't in different classrooms, but I wasn't listening. I know enough about legos and I needed to deal with the warm fuzzy feelings that felt suspiciously unlike nausea.

Work is such a loaded word to a stay-at-home mom. We like to qualify what we do by saying that we don't work "outside the home" or that we don't work "for pay." It is painful to us that our fellow "working mom" sisters might think that we are slothing around at home while they are out actually working. This makes us feel less, shamed, and like we have something to prove. We certainly work. We work all day long. "It isn't easy what we do," we shout. "We're just as good! We're just as important! We contribute! We WORK!" We might as well be shouting "Validate us!" Which is silly. That isn't anyone's job but our own. Not to mention, our children do it so well and without the constant barrage to do so. If we take the time to hear them.

Work isn't a loaded work to Super Kindergartener. It means a job you leave the house to do. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how he views me as a person that I don't have a job. It has nothing to do with his respect for me that I don't have a job. It has nothing to do with how much he loves me that I don't have a job. I'm his mom. He gets to see me most of the time. And that makes him happy. Sweet Kindergartener's mom goes to a job and he sees her some of the time. And that makes him happy. Children adapt to their surroundings. It is kinda what they do. I don't want to get into a working mom vs stay-at-home moms thingie. There is no need. This battle I am having isn't with anyone else anyway. It is totally with myself.

Because the reality is that I don't see staying-at-home with my children as work. I guess, in the technical sense, it is my job, but anyone who has worked outside the home and/or within it will tell you that job is not an effective word for raising children. It just isn't. I don't know if there is a word that fully expresses the frustrating, fulfilling, maddening, marvelous, confusing, compelling, loony, loving, and utterly consuming experience that raising other human beings is. It would be a big one. Thesaurus should get on that because then I would be able to say: "Oh me? I don't work right now. I {insert hugely understandable and descriptive word that means to parent}." And the other person would say, "Oh yes, I work right now, but me too!" And then we could bond. It would be awesome and fabulous, like Legos.

You know what? I am just gonna start telling people that "Oh me? I don't work. I lego." 

It would be pretty accurate. 


  1. So true!
    -Catherine P


    seriously look at the "synonyms" for 'parenting... it's doing quite a lot.

    1. Thanks, Krista! And thanks, Thesaurus! Thanks for validating me, yet again!