“So do you work or are you just a mom?” the grocery clerk asked me casually as she scanned my organic grapes and not-so-organic fruit snacks. Call me crazy, but there is something about that phrase that just rubs me the wrong way.
Work outside the home or not, a mom is never “just a mom.”
I am a firm believer in the power of mothers. Although it took me some time to realize it, I’ve learned that the key to motherhood is trusting what I like to call my “mommy gut.” And no, it’s not the gut that insists on stubbornly sticking around and making me self-consciously pull on Spanx in the parking lot before every family wedding. Instead, it’s the mommy gut that I finally learned to trust when it came to making decisions as a mother.
For a long time, I questioned what the right way was to balance life as a working mother. I worried that if I didn’t work outside the home I would be subjected to the dreaded, “Oh, you’re just a mom” sentiment. However working more than the minimum we needed to keep our family financially afloat just didn’t feel right to me either. So I’ve settled on the state of affairs I currently preside over — a strange hybrid of working from home every day as a writer and many weekends as a labor and delivery nurse.
On the days I’m home, I feel half-crazed, wishing someone would whisk my children away to a land of educational activities and fun-filled afternoons so I could work. On the days when I’m away from home working I wish I was home.
It can be tempting to judge other mothers who have arrived at their own solution for the perfect balance — from those who work full-time or more, to those mothers who solely focus on their families. I know that for me, I’ve fallen prey to a little bit of snarky thoughts. You know the “well, she doesn’t even work!” ones?
Yes, it’s ugly to admit, but greater than confessing my own truthful transgressions to you is the truth that I have realized about all mothers, “working” or not.
More than just a mom
The truth is that every mother is contributing to the greater good. I have yet to meet a mother who is “just a mother.” The mothers I know are volunteers, babysitters, confidantes, seamstresses and entrepreneurs. The mothers I know are dreamers and schemers and yes, sometimes, even late-night eaters-of-ice-creamers.
No mother is “just a mom” because first and foremost?
We are just women finding our way in the world. We just happen to do it with a few sidekicks.