I remember vividly, around 4:00am in the Hospital Emergency room, as my daughter is struggling to breath and in pain. After getting there in the midst of a major snowstorm and swelling anxiety for my daughter’s health…the head nurse asks me to fill out “some forms”. She comes back to look at what I finished and asks, “what do you do?”
“I am a Mother.”
She replies, “I know that, but what do you do for an occupation? What’s your job?” The tone is filled with a resounding irritation.
“I ‘do motherhood’ for an occupation. Being a mother is my job.” As I say with both confidence and clarity, sensing that this surely was not the answer she was expecting.
She finishes the interrogation with a dissatisfied and dismissive,
I sat holding my daughter waiting for the doctor to come in as I was caught in a blurry playback of the interaction that struck me with both confusion and frustration. It was clear that this woman was not impressed with my “occupation” nor was she sold on my “job”. The seamless exhausting night took over my defensive state, as the doctor came in and my “mother job” was consumed with fear and care for my daughter. The moment was over, and my “job” took over…
I sit here now years later and reflect on that night, wondering if this woman had children. I know many mothers work and do the “mother job” and do both well. I also know that staying home to care for your little ones can be a calling of great proportions and an honorable duty. There came a time when my kids needed me more than my work. And the decision was made to care for them with all my energy and time, due to their health issues and all that entailed. It was the right decision. It was time for my mother “occupation” to be full time… and full time it was!
I have encountered people like this woman many times since then. From time to time I still get the “But what do you do??” question that permeates my being and I continue to respond with both clarity and confidence…
“I am a mom.”
I fill out endless forms through the years that ask your “occupation” and I write “mother”.
It’s okay if people don’t know what that really means… because I live it, and I know. The past month has been a blur of long nights and busy days with my chronically sick kids. It has certainly put my “job” in “over-time”.
But for those who are looking to understand more clearly what the “occupation of fulltime motherhood” truly is all about, I give you a snapshot…“JOB DESCRIPTION” for stay at home mothers:
POSITION POSTING: MOTHER
Must have ability to wipe a child’s tears and a child’s bottom at the same time.
Must be available at all hours to run to hospital or doctor with any and all medical conditions that arise or continue for days and weeks, months and years.
Must be able to having nursing skills, but no degree necessary. Skills acquired through on site training as need arises.
Hours of job posted: 24 hours a day. Days open for position: 365 days a year.
Must have skill set in understanding all forms of communication, ranging from baby gurgles to teenage sighs.
Must have energy to stay up all night and function through the day for weeks on end.
There are no benefit packages offered. (ie: Sick time, vacation time, personal days, bonuses, insurance, disability, ETC.
Must have Competent Abilities in the following areas:
Problem solving on a minute-by-minute basis.
Meal planning and preparing on a need to feed basis.
Programming all activities and scheduling all events.
Tutoring and teaching all ages life skills and academics.
Daily housekeeping and hygiene a must.
Crisis management for any and all issues that arise in the day and night.
Good driving record for transporting children throughout the day to all various schools, events and activities.
Ability to care for additional children when necessary.
Discernment on when to call 911.
This position is of utmost importance in maintaining the health and safety of precious lives.
Must be sane enough to delve into the emotions that unfold in the identity quest of each child.
Must have patience with every and all duties that require repetition every day all day throughout the year.
Must have the ability to put needs of children first.
Must be able to endure hardships, trauma, sickness and humility at all times when needed.
Position open for a lifetime….
There is no retirement package and…well….
Ashley Taylor says
LOVE this blog entry! It is SO TRUE!! This should be in a parenting magazine and definitely used in pre-birth classes. Great work here Christine! 🙂
WOW! Coming from you, that is such a HUGE compliment! SOOO glad you liked this entry! Thank you so much for taking the time to read me!!! Hope you come back again, soon! 🙂