There. I've said it.
Here's one thing: Someone says, as my one kid is sitting on my shoe, another tugging one of my hands and saying Mom, mom, mom ... mom, mom ... mom ... MOM ... and the third has his head under my shirt and his hand cupping my breast, and I'm having this conversation with someone and they say, "So, where do you work?" or, you know, "What do you for work?" to which I reply, "Oh, I don't work," because, well, I don't.
And of course, they feel obligated to say, "Oh, you work. You work harder than the rest of us."
There is often something condescending or ... something ... maybe well, yucky, in this statement, like they have to give me kudos or an ego boost, poor SAHM with no self-esteem kind of thing and it really annoys me. Because, Hello?! I've worked. Work? Was EASY. This gig is NOT work.
I don't get coffee breaks nor lunch. My bosses, all three of them, have no problem whinging, yelling and even raging at me if I don't do things in exactly the way they think things should be done. Things like, you know, dressing a Barbie, cutting an apple, or wiping a bum. And YES. We have BARBIES. Get Over It.
Truthfully, I have no real skills for this gig -- I suck at cleaning and organising, only want to cook things that inspire me edible or not, prefer to not speak to anyone for most of the day, and don't sleep enough to be the nice person a mom is supposed to be.
I don't remember when I've been in the bathroom without having the door opened on me. Work stalls have locks, right? Contractors regularly poke their nasty heads into the room I sleep in to ask me a question I probably have no answer for, whether or not I am up and dressed. I haven't had a bedroom in 5 years. And you know what? I, the girl who read a book a day as a child hasn't finished a book all year, something that I accomplished quite often on the commute to and from work and in the bathroom stalls at the offices I worked in. (Joking) (kind of).
The thing is? I wouldn't give up this gig now that it's mine. It wasn't something I longed for per se, not like playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret or anything, but I really really love it now that I'm in the hot mess of the middle of it. It is unpredictable and crazy, I get hugged all the time, the problems that need to be addressed or solved are usually more easily fixed when accompanied by a kiss and/or a hug. Last time I tried that on a co-worker, it didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. (Kidding.) (Really.)
But I don't like it when people have to have an opinion on being a stay-at-home or working mom. My grandmothers were both working moms. So was my own mom. I have three brothers-in-law who have, at various times, performed the stay-at-home thing. Who cares? Why quantify or qualify that I work or I don't. I mean, have you seen my home and gardens? If I were on top of them, them I would be a SLAVE, because last time I checked, there will be no pension for what I am doing, no paycheck. And I'm okay with that because I'll figure that out when I do, or I'll be totally screwed and I'll still figure it out.
Because who says life is all 9-5, 2 coffee breaks and a lovely lunch in the city in my one red Ferragamo shoe? (Don't ask what happened to the other. It was a long time ago, in a land far, far away. And it didn't involve Robert Redford, although it was supposed to have. And I lost a beloved shoe. One. And Quentin Tarantino was there. I have pictures to prove it. But don't ask.)
You know why it bugs me? (The work question/answer, not the missing shoe.) It makes me cross-eyed because because I don't actually care if people other than my husband and children think I work. It doesn't matter to me the same way it doesn't matter to me if some other mother works. I know what I'm doing right now, and why, and I don't need someone else to validate it.
I think I'd better write next about how much it bugs me that
Honestly? I just care if yer happy dudes. It matters immensely to me. But I won't judge you if you are not because, hello? Life is hard work. Seriously. Go easy on yourselves. Because if you go easier on yourselves, you will go easier on me. I guarantee it. And that? Well, it's just better for all of us that way.
And isn't that what really matters?
This is too long, isn't it.
In my next life? I am going to be succinct and brief.