When I was little I had two professions in mind for my adult life: dentist or bus driver.
This is hilarious, because I think other people’s mouths are OMG so gross. And although I love to drive, I’m not the best at it (evidenced by the honking I got yesterday as I pulled onto the road. What? I looked, Service Truck. I might have miscalculated your speed of mach 50 when I exited the ramp, and hello, get into the left lane when passing a ramp, Mario), so bus driver is out.
I definitely didn’t announce “I’m going to be a MOM!” when I was little.
And yet here I am, all grown up, and I am a mom. A housewife.
I don’t work for money or even do full-time volunteer work. I stay home and take care of my family and our house.
I’ve endured many “Oh, you’re so lucky you don’t have to WORK” comments. I never know if they’re meant to be derogatory or condescending or genuine declarations of wistful admiration.
It doesn’t bother me. I’ve not been one to truly care about how other people judge me, because I know that we humans are fickle creatures; as we show appreciation for something, we are also examining it to find the flaws, ready to criticize the workmanship. The person who tells me she loves my shoes whispers to her friend later that my pants were way unflattering.
However, even though I don’t care that people might look down upon me for wasting my talents by scrubbing toilets and putting babies down for naps only to wake them up and help them with their algebra homework, ohmygoodness where did those years go, I do sometimes wish that I could somehow parlay this stay-at-home-mom gig into something that has worth in the eyes of the 7 billion other people in this world outside of these four walls. I'm not that honorable.
Being a mom was hard when every other mom I knew was filling out job applications when their babies went to school full-time or went back to school themselves, ensuring that the gaps on their resumes were easier to explain in the future. Why wasn’t I also doing this? Should I be doing this? Am I making a mistake by not getting myself back out there?
The problem was that I could never think of anything I wanted to do more than what I was doing as a mom.
I wanted to be there for every minute of my children’s lives. I wanted to put them to sleep, snuggle them when they got up, feed them hot dogs for lunch every.single.day, bathe them, let them dress themselves in hideous ensembles and take them to the park, traverse the grocery store with them while they screamed for lollipops, lie on the couch with them and watch cartoons in the middle of the day, watch them jump through the sprinkler, ride their bikes around the block, take them to the mall and the pool and the movies, see them off to school on the bus, pick them up early for a doctor visit, decorate the house for fall while they were at school just to see their delight as they walked in the door at the end of the day. I wanted to do all of this without permission, without the thoughts of what I was missing at work worrying the back of my mind.
I wanted this to be my work, my focus.
And I’m really good at it. And I have found through the years that it does have worth. It’s not paid, and I won’t even offer that being paid in hugs and kisses is worth it, because it’s not the same to me. Honestly, I’d like a chunk of cash to show for my efforts, because they are monumental. My work makes a difference in my family’s lives and in our home, and I’d love to make money doing it.
But I don’t. And sometimes it does bother me. Sometimes I do feel as if I’m wasting my talents, and the ever-widening gap on my resume alarms me, and I feel woefully behind the rest of the world in marketable skills, and by the time the kids are old enough for me to go back to work, I’ll be too old to go back to work.
But I’m also smart enough to know that even if I was a bus driver or a dentist, the ultimate jobs, I would grow restless at times. We humans are fickle creatures.
And I am a mom, and even though it was not on my short list of ideal professions, that is what I became when I grew up.
This post was inspired by:
Prompt #1: Something you wanted to be when you grew up.