Wow; I have been tremendously lax in my writing as of late. (I would use the term lazy, but with a four-month old there is no such thing!) So to the four or five of you that read my ramblings, I apologize.
Now on to the topic of the day: “Oh, so you’re a stay-at-home Mom! That’s great. I mean, it must be nice to relax and watch TV all day. I would love to catch up on my shows. Do you watch Scandal? Have you seen this weeks episode?”
First off, no I don’t watch Scandal and, obviously, I haven’t seen this weeks episode. Second, thank you for insulting me—even if you didn’t realize it. Let’s just get down to the truth of the matter, to the meat of what you wanted to say: Oh, so you’re a stay-at-home Mom; what do you do all day?
The first time I was asked this question, actually asked this question, Amelia was just over one week old. My nipples were scabbed over and sore, I hadn’t showered in days, and I was too delirious with sleep deprivation to form a coherent response. I brushed it off and all-but-forgot about it until its more common follow-up counterpart was asked: “Are you back at work yet?”
I answer no, but my answer is more complex than that.
I am fortunate (and crazy) enough to work from home, both freelance and part-time, while raising my little lady. This means that I am often topless on conference calls, changing diapers while chatting (thanks speakerphone), and breastfeeding while on WordPress. I skip showers to squeeze in sit-ups, eat pizza for breakfast and eggs for lunch, and find solace in a stroll through FoodTown. Yes, I am a stay-at-home mom, but I am hardly just a stay-at-home mom.
This should go without saying, but it doesn’t: Being a stay-at-home-mom is the most challenging, rewarding, and exhausting job I have ever (and will ever) have. The common myth that life as a SAHM is cozy and comfortable—a lazy existent laden with bon-bons (what is a bon-bon anyway?), talk shows, sitcoms, and soap operas—couldn’t be further from the truth. (Though, if given the chance, I would be more of a mid-day martini mommy.) Instead I struggle to go to the bathroom, keep the kitchen floor clean, and make a cup of coffee.
But why? What do you do all day?
Well that’s the problem. The what, when itemized, seems insignificant. I clean my daughter, feed my daughter, change my daughter, and play with my daughter. Everything I do can be summed up by one of these four, small-and-simple points. But mommyhood, and parenthood in general, isn’t that simple. For example, playing with my daughter involves everything from singing songs—the SAME songs—and making silly faces to elicit a laugh to standing over her, staring at her, at all times. (She has hit that amazing age where she cries every time mommy leaves her line of sight.) The few times I am able to sneak away from her, thanks to a carefully propped up mirror or Crazy Carrot Pants—her favorite and, arguably, my favorite squeak toy—I find myself zipping around the house, washing dishes or cleaning cat litter. I mean, what do I do all day if not this? And it is the same story all day, every day; I feel like a slightly sexier, chestier version of Bill Murray (no offense, Bill). I love it because I love her, but it is hardly a cushy job.
Matt Walsh recently discussed this very topic on his radio show. Read/watch this. Seriously. Do it now.
My point, if there is one, is this: Let’s stop the war of who works more/harder and just celebrate the shared joy that is motherhood. If nothing else, at least stop asking me “what I do all day.” I don’t ask you to give me the play-by-play of your work day—or justify that fifteen minute bathroom break—do I?