Monday, November 08, 2010

Where do you Work?

Okay, I told my boss this today and I am sure she thinks I am a complete dork, but all day at work there was a little part of my brain running around waving her arms in the air and saying, "Squeee!"

It was just so exciting to be back in that world again.

I have voicemail. A new email address. A cubicle. A computer. A laptop to take home. And? I am getting business cards.

In the US we take our careers for granted in some ways; when we meet someone, we ALWAYS ask, "What do you do?". And in this town of researchers, doctors, scientists and engineers, it is more than a little daunting to say, "I stay at home with my kids." Even though that is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

Most of my friends who stay home full time are a lot like me; it is a job to them. They have a daily routine, they keep their homes clean and neat, they cook or bake,they read stories, drive kids to lessons and play dates and classes, they take their kids on educational outings and fun adventures ... they just don't receive a paycheck for it.

And they sure as hell don't get much respect.

What I did for the last 12 years was important. I nourished little tummies, I nurtured little spirits, I supported and encouraged and yes, sometimes I yelled and screwed up and made giant mistakes. I ran my family's life and it was a MORE than full-time job. I never got a sick day, I rarely took a coffee break, I went 6 full years without spending time in a bathroom alone. It was hard. It was joyful. It was fun. It was crazy. It was rewarding. It was drudgery.

And I don't regret any of it. I loved being able to take my kids to the park, to snuggle up in my bed on a snow day and watch movies. I loved having them near me, even when they drove me nuts.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, I know how hard you work. I know.

If you are a mom who works outside the home, I know how hard you work as well. I had a mom who worked full time for a CPA, then came home and did all the cooking, cleaning and child rearing because she was of a different era and men weren't expected to pitch in on the housework.

I am in the middle right now -- I work part-time, I will continue my volunteer commitments at school and elsewhere in the community, and I am fortunate that I think my new job will fit into my life smoothly, rather than having to fit my life around it.

It will be exciting to talk about my work, to share my very cool and exciting position with people, to engage them and perhaps even get them involved.

But I will never forget the feeling, at parties, at social events, at school and church and community functions, that because I was a stay at home mom I had nothing to contribute to the conversation.

And I will make sure that I engage that stay at home mom at the party. Because even the most engaging, intelligent 3 year old leaves a little to be desired as far as stimulating conversation goes, and I know she has a lot to say.


  1. This is something I struggle with too. When we lived in NC, I had a job gift wrapped and placed in my lap! Preschool Director. I, too, had business cards, my own office, everything sounded very important when it was my turn to share at the book club or party.

    Moving here, I am a Kindergarten teaching assistant. The title is a lot less, and the responsibilities are a lot less too. I like it, but when you are introduced there is not so much bang as "Director." Am I selfish?

    Now, I'm trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and the thought keeps coming to mind, how do I want to be introduced? What would my kids say when they describe my job? What does my husband say to his work peers?

    Is this vanity? Yes. Does it matter? It does to me. Just like my body image or anything else, why can't I accept how things are and embrace it?

  2. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Congrats on the new job, but NEVER, EVER discount the years you spent running your home and taking care of your family full-time - you do a great job at that! The sad part of being a working-out-of-the-home mom is the full-time work at home still has to be done, but you have a hubby who will share that work with you. ENJOY AND I KNOW YOU WILL HANDLE ALL WELL! Love, Mom

  3. congratulations on your new job! sounds like you have the best of both worlds!