A few months ago, I had a lovely young lady ask me this question over and over until she got an answer that seemingly satisfied her.
Ill be quite frank with you, this question had me upset way longer than was normal for me. It was my first time meeting her, my husband actually brought her over to meet me and the following dialogue ensued after niceties were exchanged.
Her: So what do you do?
I pointed at my two boys.
Her: No, but really, what do you do?
Me: My boys, that’s what I do.
Her: I get that, but that can’t be all that you do, there really has to be something else you do.
Me: Well, I home school my eldest.
Her: And? (Seriously staring at me like Dora the explorer does when she asks you where are we going next? And you find yourself saying river, bridge, tallest mountain.)
Me: Obviously uncomfortable now and just wanting to be done with that conversation, I blurt out that I have a small business I run out of my home, effectively placing me in the WAHM category.
She obviously found that satisfactory, because she then smiled at me, said a few nice things and left.
What I chose not to tell her is that, I am first and foremost a mom, their mom, and whatever else she considers important in life comes second to that. The business I run out of my home, my writing, they only come out when the kids are in bed so I really, seriously just do my kids!
This obviously got me thinking, is there a hierarchy in motherhood? Are we secretly striving to be crowned the most sacrificial group? I know we have the SAHMs, WAHMs, the work from home moms and last but not the least, the work outside the home moms.
I have been in three out of those four groups and I can tell you, we still all get shamed at the end of the day. Here are just a few doozies I have encountered in my seven years as a mother.
SAHM – “I have to work, can you watch my kids last minute? If you can’t watch my kids, can you introduce me to your other SAHM friends so they can watch my kids?” (The word free is implied in this sentence.) “Oh! You stay home with them? How nice. I wish I could stay home with my kids.” How do you expect us to reply you? By telling you how much we sacrificed to stay home? Or to tell you how truly amazing it is to say I taught my son to read? Truth be told, both of those answers, no matter how true, give me the cringe factor, so I just paste a smile on my face and pray for it to be over.
WAHM – You get the, “Wow! I wish I could work from home, you know kinda eat my cake and have it kinda deal,” or the people who say, “I should totally do what you do, I mean how hard can it be to make a headband and sell it on etsy?” To these people, I seriously just wanna yell, well then do it already! I know I make it look so easy, but be like Nike and just do it.
Work Outside the Home Moms – “Sorry we cant hang out on the weekends, its family time for us. We do play dates when daddy is at work on weekdays, if you didn’t have to work…” Or, “Wow! You’re working so hard! When do they get to see you?”
Here’s the secret, you just can’t win. I feel like we have all just been raised by society to bicker and assume whatever side we fall on is the best. Can we all just be able to genuinely say, hey you’re an awesome mommy and don’t you forget that? No matter what group you fall into, your child still thinks you are amazing and honestly as a mom that is who you need to be impressing.