There are moments in time when a single, ordinary comment can send a person into a complete tailspin...so with that said, here is my story.
It was just an ordinary day, just an ordinary comment and just one little word that changed my perspective. At the time, my children were very young and I was employed part-time.
Although I don't remember where I was, at the time, I do remember the question and my respone that day. My response forced me to step back and take a second look at how I viewed myself.
Actually, the question itself was innocent enough. "So...what do you do?"
I’m just a mom.
Later that day, that single phrase hit me like a ton of bricks! Just a Mom! JUST a Mom! What was the matter with me? Did I really say that! Yes, I work part-time and I AM a Mom; a BUSY Mom; a TIRED Mom, and often a FRUSTRATED Mom, but JUST a Mom?
Where did that come from? I mean really, is someone JUST a Doctor, JUST a Lawyer, JUST a Nuclear Scientist? Oh, well, I digress. Why on earth would I use the word JUST to describe my career, my destiny...my life?
When one accepts the role of Mom, it is the most important job in the world; therefore, how dare I, or anyone else, demean the status of such a vital position? A Mom’s day begins before anyone else awakes and ends long after everyone else has retired for the evening.
A Mom’s responsibilities are endless. Breakfasts must be prepared (even cereal, after-all, someone has to get the bowls out and pour the milk), pack lunches, do the laundry (every day), ensure the kids leave the house “appropriately” dressed for school, teeth are brushed (can’t assume), hair is combed and see that the kiddos arrive at daycare, school or the bus...on time!
Then it's time for the mom, who is employed outside of the home, to hurry and get ready for work, hoping her shoes match (who among us hasn’t arrived with two different shoes of similar styles) and double checking the seams on clothing (you know you have worn that blouse inside out before). For the Mom who is not employed outside of the home, the routine of household responsibilities must be tackled.
Whether employed outside of the home or not, Mom inevitably has to pick up dirty clothes that have been left wherever they were removed as children and some spouses have difficulty seeing things on the floor. They look at it, walk over it, around it or even through it, but will never pick it up.
Meals, whether baked, fried, crock-potted or micro-waved must be prepared, dishes have to be washed or loaded into the dishwasher, carpets require vacuuming, linoleum demands to be swept and pre-fabricated furniture will not dust itself.
Multi-tasking is a must when juggling homework, after-school activities, ball games and band practice. A Mom may not be a doctor in real life, but definitely plays one at home. A Mom’s responsibilities never end from doctor appointments and picking up a sick child at school to dropping off forgotten homework and paying household bills. Oh let us not forget the responsibility of ensuring that the last roll of toilet paper or all of the shampoo has not been used.
There is JUST one simple moral to this story; a Mom works full-time, regardless of "employment" status from a world view. As a Mom, you are never JUST a Mom! A Moms work is hard, heartbreaking at times and the pay is lousy. Being a Mom encompasses many things, it’s just that JUST, ain’t got nothin’ to do with it!
As Labor Day quickly approaches, I am reminded that perspective and current state of mind can dramatically impact definition.
Labor Day, officially recognized as a Federal Holiday in 1894, celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. However, I am sure that many people (women) will agree that Labor Day, when referring to childbirth, exemplifies the word, “work!”
It is important to clarify Labor Day from an expectant point of view in an effort to dispel the Mis-Conception of Childbirth.
These days, it seems that family planning is particularly popular among many young couples. They are intent on making their mark on the world, starting careers and having their “ducks in a row”, before starting a family.
The word “trying” is often used in reference to starting a family. Regardless of whether you were “trying” or one that proclaimed the words “whoops” or "WHAT"?.....you are all in the same boat, so sit back and hang on tight. That’s right, lift your head from your porcelain paradise and remember, meals are always temporary; length of time is the only variable.
Initially, the giddy excitement of knowing that you are the vessel that carries another life is overwhelming. The desire to learn everything possible about this nine-month journey is exceptionally strong and soon-to-be moms endeavor to read every book and article written about this expedition. Detailed explanations are sought after, from mood swings to delivery and everything in-between. It is recommended that this information, along with advice from friends, relatives and even strangers, be taken with a grain of salt. No pregnancy is book perfect and the likelihood that your baby will be the next Gerber® Baby, is slim to none.
A first time expectant mom knows the exact week and day of her adventure; however, with second and subsequent babies, month and due date vicinity are subjective. Excitement abounds around the first time expectant mom, but this enthusiasm fades quickly with each additional announcement.
As a new mom, with no previous babysitting experience, I was totally unprepared for the responsibility I was about to accept. In retrospect, I am certain I would have benefited from a guideline to follow; thus the reason for the following list.
FIRST BABY DO’S AND DON’TS
Daily if possible! For the next four to seven years, it will be necessary to tote a bag full of items everywhere you go. This bag will contain a variety of items based on the child’s age, including bottles, pacifiers, diapers, baby oil, baby lotion, wet wipes, toys, coloring books, rattles, baby nose aspirator and so on. In addition, it will be a long time before you will be able to enjoy a dinner out without saying the following statements:
LABOR DAY ARRIVES
It will seem like an eternity awaiting the arrival of your bundle of joy and you will soon learn that birthing classes falsely made labor sound bearable. The phrase, “you will feel discomfort” had to have been written by a man. Discomfort, DISCOMFORT; try anguish, torment, agony or torture, as these words better define the pain.
The popular thing today seems to be “natural” childbirth; personally, I think “natural” is overrated. My advice is to begin asking for drugs before you really even need them to ensure that you avoid being told, “I’m sorry, it’s too late.” Actually, I see no reason NOT to be knocked out like they did in my mother’s day. Having my baby cleaned, powdered, diapered and then handed to me doesn’t sound half bad.
Last but not least, recognize that your spouse has absolutely no clue what to do, what is happening or what to say. Totally insensitive comments are inevitable, so brace yourself.
Hubby: Do you want to watch TV to take your mind off things?
Me: Do you want to retain the shape of a TV?
Hubby: Just breathe.
Me: Great advice Einstein, the one thing I didn’t have to think about.
Me: I am focusing, on the PAIN!
Hubby: It’s almost over.
Me: Yea, right, that’s what you said 6 hours ago!
Hubby: I love you.
Me: Yea, yea, like that’ll ever work again.
Hubby: I see the head.
Me: Well, Hot Diggity Dog
Me: You’ll think push when I push you out of this fourth floor window
Hubby: The doctor is on his way
Me: Here or does he have another golf game?
Hubby: Do you want some crushed ice?
Me: Yea, stick a block under my fist and I’ll crush it!
When everything is said and done, you will have experienced the ultimate human achievement and will take home with you a beautiful, dependent little life that has absolutely no regard for your fatigue, hunger or emotional state. Ironically, if you are a successful parent, this beautiful, dependent little life will grow into a teenager that has absolutely no regard for your fatigue, hunger or emotional state.
Happy Labor Day!
I will always remember the 90’s as the era of the mini-van. The mini-van was much, much more than just a vehicle; it was the most sought after automobile of choice for every modern, American mom.
90's moms were independent thinkers, who could not be persuaded or affected by the advertising industry....or so we thought. We believed that our purchasing habits and decisions were solely our own, as we perfected bargain shopping and embraced the gift of haggling.
1997 was the year that I subconsciously succumbed to the hype of an advertisement, and yes, I purchased a forest green, two-sliding door, mini-van. At the time, I had no idea that this vehicle would not only change my life, it would change the way my life was viewed by others. Within a few short months, the metamorphosis had occurred. In fact, I hardly recognized myself. I had become the epitome of domesticity. How could this have happened to me? Afterall, I grew up during the seventies, chanting women's lib mantras and refusing to make coffee as part of my job description!
Unbeknownst to me, behind the steering wheel of a mini-van, one reeks the word MOM. I soon discovered that a mini-van is a vehicle that is constantly traveling without ever really identifying a true destination. Throughout history, there has never been a vehicle that has stereotyped its owner quite as effectively as the mini-van.
A mini-van mama could easily be described as a coupon clipping, financially challenged, laundry sorting, meal preparing female. A mini-van mama proudly displayed her accomplishments on the back window of her vehicle with stick figure decals that revealed every person in the household including the family dog and cat. Of course, honor student bumper stickers and marching band decals completed the decorative motif. It would be years later, before we realized that smashed candy inside the armrests, mud stains and small footprint indentations embedded onto the back of the seats would greatly decrease the resale value.
Most mini-vans could seat seven people comfortably, but for some reason, seven never seemed to be enough seats. A mini-van mama always seemed to add passengers, not through labor and delivery, but via pick up. Mini-van mamas would travel in packs, take turns moonlighting as transportation liaisons and could often be heard yelling Last but not least, you yelled this more than once, "Don't make me pull this van over..........", from the front windows that were down.
Mini-vans were truly mobile packing company, ready to roll at a moment’s notice and identified easily by the array of objects contained in the back compartment; such as, baseball bats, bicycles, strollers, diaper bags, groceries, lawn chairs, stuffed animals, blankets, snacks, books, wipes, umbrellas and so-on.
To me, the most amazing transformation was the persona transfer, that continued even outside of the vehicle. A mini-van mama could typically be spotted at the area discount store, sporting a hurried look, wrinkled brow, dressed in sweat pants or jeans, no brand name tennis shoes, make-up free, have at least two children with her and always had keys in hand at the register.
A typical mini-van mama could be described as follows:
Although, the popularity of the mini-van, in many cases, has since been replaced by the SUV, the fact remains that the mini-van had one other attraction that has remained quiet and to this day remains the mini-vans greatest benefit; a 16 year old would rather walk to school than drive a min-van! Then it hit me........THAT’S an advertising concept!