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.

Comments

  1. 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!"

  2. 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. Catch the Kids says

    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!

  4. Catch the Kids says

    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!

  5. Aunt Barb says

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

  6. Aunt Barb says

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. The Gillies says

    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.

  10. The Gillies says

    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.

  11. Obi-Mom Kenobi says

    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.

  12. Obi-Mom Kenobi says

    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.

  13. The Well-Versed Mom says

    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.

    http://bit.ly/9uKdp6

    -A Well-Versed Mom

  14. The Well-Versed Mom says

    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.

    http://bit.ly/9uKdp6

    -A Well-Versed Mom

  15. Anonymous says

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

  16. Anonymous says

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

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

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

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

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

  21. Suburb Sierra says

    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.

  22. Suburb Sierra says

    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.

  23. Preach it, sister.

  24. Preach it, sister.

  25. Elizabeth says

    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.

  26. Elizabeth says

    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.

  27. Issas Crazy World says

    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.

  28. Issas Crazy World says

    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.

  29. Elizabeth says

    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!?

  30. Elizabeth says

    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!?