There are all these articles flying around the internet about mothering. Are you a SAHM? Are you a Working Mom? Get a job! Quit your job! You’re ruining your kids! All of you!
I am a working mother.
Yes, yes, I know all mothers work. All mothering is work. This is a truth. I am a working mother with several jobs, all of which I enjoy for some reason. I find great satisfaction in my day job, in my writing, in graphic arts, and in all the various and sundry things I pick up and put down throughout the year.
Officially, I work 40 hours a week. I write anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week. I am a wife and mother 168 hours a week*. All those hours I am officially working and writing, or plying my other trades? I’m still being a wife and mother.
I’m still figuring out how to get to the grocery store, what to cook, which notes to write to school, and how much laundry I can get by with doing before Thor’s socks start getting up and walking away. I am getting Thor to school and to bed, trying to teach, model, and cram important life lessons into his little brain. I am trying to be an attractive wife** and considerate partner.
My husband does his fair share of cleaning up, picking up the boy from school,
setting him on his daily forced death march getting homework started, and being generally reliable and congenial, and attractive*** while working his 40 or 50 hours a week, and continuing his education.
Where we fall short, grandparents, Molly Maids and Greenling.com, and Minecraft pick up the slack.
Our kid is getting raised. He has decent manners**** and does not exhibit any sociopathic, or psychotic tendencies. He is kind to animals and smaller children, loves Legos, and drawing pictures of robot cars (and atomic bombs, but there’s a good reason for that.)
We take him to museums, and galleries, and to plays, and to the symphony, and drive him around the country whether he likes it, or not. We also pretend not to notice that he gets up at 7AM on Saturdays and watches cartoons/plays Minecraft until the first one of us wanders out of the bedroom mid-morning.
He knows he is loved. He knows we cherish the time we have with him. And, I believe he knows we’ll be okay when he leaves the nest one day. He won’t have to worry about us, as we clearly have interests outside of his darling self*****.
I’m not ever going to be his room mother.
I will probably not ever get to chaperone one of his field trips.
I’m not going to be the mom hosting the awesome events in her backyard.
I’m just going to be his mom. His mom, who has a bunch of different jobs, but whose favorite job is the one she gets to do 168 hours a week–being his father’s wife, and his mother.
What am I saying? I’m saying every mom is different, and all that really matters is who she is to her child. It doesn’t matter to me if you are a SAHM, or a Corporate Ladder Mom, or a Tiger Mom, or a Leaning In Mom, or an Opting Out Mom because I am clearly very busy being all the different things I am in addition to being Thor’s Mom. My business isn’t what’s best for your child. How would I know?
My business is making sure my kid has clean socks, a full belly, and enough sleep to make it through a day of 3rd grade math, and making sure his mother is happy enough with her life, that she can help him learn to be happy with his. I feel like I’m really knocking that one out of the park, and I don’t mind saying so.
Whatever kind of mother you are, hang in there. Everyone has opinions about us. Everyone has advice for us. But only we know what works for our families. Take care of you, and take care of your kiddos, and we’ll all be fine.
*Just to be clear, there are only 168 hours a week.
**This is the one I fail at most often. Yoga pants and ponytails are my undoing.
***It is so much easier for a man to be attractive.
****We were out at dinner the other night, and Thor had his elbows on the table, working to eat a piece of bread. B told him to get his elbows off the table, so he raised up just enough to have about an inch of space between the table and his joints, and continued eating in exactly the same posture. I snort laughed and ruined the Table Manner Etiquette Moment. That’s my boy.
*****Can you imagine me with nothing to do other than Thor? He would be so warped.