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Moms, don't make it look too easy

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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Moms, don't make it look too easy

Several years ago, when my oldest daughter was still a busy toddler and the other two kids were younger than that, I stood in my driveway talking to the girl next door. She was probably around 10 years old at the time and spent a lot of time in our yard making my kids laugh and run around.

Somehow, our talk turned to what she wanted to be when she grew up. The details of how we got on this subject don't really matter. What matters is what my neighbors' daughter said next:

When I grow up, I want to be my mom, so I can lie around the house and do nothing all day.

She skipped away before I could make a sound, although I think the first sound I made was a little squeak with my mouth hanging open.

I know she didn't mean to disparage me----she is an awesome, polite, wonderful person who would never have said something to hurt my feelings. In her defense, she probably thought what I did was "work" since she could see me chasing after three kids, bags under my eyes and milk stains on my shirt.

But, her own mom didn't still have diapers to change and hands to hold. Her own mom was a stay-at-home mom to kids who went to school.

But, do nothing? I know this parent very well and even back then, I knew how much running around she did for those kids. Plus her yard was beautiful, the house clean and the dog walked: this was not a mom who lied around the house doing nothing all day.

And yet, a child's breezy comment bugged me then, and has bugged me since.

It has changed how I talk to my kids. I don't want them to think "work" is something that is done only outside of the house by people who dress up, have meetings and talk of commuting and deadlines.

Work is changing the sheets on four beds. It's mopping the floors. It's laundry and dishes, cooking and chauffeuring kids to soccer practice, then dance, then Scouts.

Work is teaching my kids. It is writing online, whether for money, samples or sanity.

It may sound funny to hear me say, "wait a minute, I need a little time to work" to my kids before I clean the bathrooms, but dammit, I don't want them to ever say I lie around the house and do nothing all day.

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Blogger Reff said...

There are infinate ways I could end up in trouble here. A staggering amount really.

I'll go with "We love you; and we appreciate you!"

3:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs Catch said...

Being a stay-at-home Mum is definitely work! I remember being stung by a flippant comment in a magazine. A "career" lady wrote "I have better things to do than make sure the kitchen benches are clean all day". I felt like a dorky non-achiever until I thought "Well SOMEONE has to make sure or you'll all die of food poisoning...". What we do is important, just unacknowledged and if I'm honest, hardly noticed. Until it's not done of course!

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Barb said...

Wonderful choice of words Reff -- but you really did strike it rich! Of course, so did Fairly Odd Mother.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous shar133 said...

In the 25 years that I've known you, I've never met anyone who works harder, does more, and goes way above and beyond than you do. I think your kids will definitely see that - and will probably inherent a bit of it themselves.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've always said working at home with the kids is way harder than going to an office. That's why I go to the office!

Seriously, I would die of exhaustion walking in your shoes for a week. I've always admired you for the sacrifices you make for your kids and how GD hard you work for them. It's like the marines (or some other branch of the military, I forget) -- the toughest job you'll ever love.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Obi-Mom Kenobi said...

I'm going to try that line too, to remind myself that what I'm doing is work (in the effort sense of the word) and worth valuing.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous The Well-Versed Mom said...

Nice post. Makes me all the more determined in my crusade to delete the phrase "working mom" from our vernacular.

It's redundant, plain and simple.

-A Well-Versed Mom

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummmm yeah.... what you do is work, work and more work. And of course it looks easy because you love it.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Stacia said...

Work is definitely cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors and chauffeuring to and fro. And also hiding your chocolate stash from the kiddos. =>

1:52 AM  
Blogger Patois42 said...

As long as we can have work that we love, okie-dokie.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Suburb Sierra said...

Reff is a smart man.

And it's so funny because I'm about to blog about the "jobs" in our house. The kids are at the age where they are seeing how we split the duties at home. They're realizing it's a lot of work to keep things running around here.

I've seen you in action and you work harder than most people I've come across in any office. I'm lucky to know you.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Preach it, sister.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Yeah, so after a week of staying home, I stopped saying "Stay-At-Home-Mom" and started staying "Work-At-Home-Mom." And that's just with one kid.

Mad love to moms who stay at home and get the job done. Working outside the home is hard and getting shiznit is hard, but if I stayed home, I would go insane within a month.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Issa said...

hmmm. that woulda bugged me too. yeah i guess the only thing to do is what you are doing. show your kids another way to think. sometimes it's all we can do.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I already commented but as an appropriate side note, I saw a Mother's Day card this morning that made me think of my mom. The front cover said: You made being a mom look so easy...

The inside said: What else did you lie about, liar!?

4:16 PM  
Blogger C (Kid Things) said...

At my old job, before I had kids, I did a lot of sitting around and twiddling my thumbs all day. Now that I'm chasing 3 kids 6 and under around all day, even if I am sitting for a minute, I'm sure as heck not twiddling my thumbs. I am ALWAYS on.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Melani said...

Yeah, I could see how that could bug you, it would bug me too! Most stay-at-home mothers work, no matter what it is they are doing, running a home is work, we just don't get paid to do it!

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Boston Mamas said...

Amen. And for me changing the sheets and doing laundry is most definitely the worst form of work there is!

11:30 AM  

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