I am a work at home mom.
There is so much myth, stereotype, urban legend, and flat-out untruth that obscures the true identity of a work-at-home mom. This is my attempt to set things straight…let the fruit cups and Teddy Grahams® fall where they may. (Cue inspirational music here.)
Let the record reflect, I am neither an indoctrinated and oppressed barefoot-and-pregnant slave to an overbearing husband, or a lazy, welfare-sustained leech eating junk food and watching reality TV all day. (That’s pretty funny, actually.)
And while we’re at it, let me clear this elephant out of the room: I don’t judge you for NOT staying home. First, it’s really none of my business to put my nose in your business. And second, I’m pretty busy just minding my own business as a wife, a mom, an educator, and a writer. My days are spent changing diapers, teaching my kid how to read, and keeping the baby from climbing the table while I’m stirring dinner and writing articles. I get that it might not be your cup of tea. Really.
My choice of professions is no judgment of yours. I am not sitting here all judgmental, thinking how surely, I am so much better than those work-for-a-boss-and-get-a-paycheck women. (See above.) Also, there is no room for pride when you are brought nose to nose with your own shortcomings on a daily basis by tiny people. Humble pie, once you get past the gag reflex, is a fairly nutritious dish…I eat it often. (Like at the grocery store recently when the boys tag teamed putting the manic in their mama’s Monday. They alternated between feats of stunning danger to life and limb, such as standing up while seatbelted into the cart, and causing me to run around like a chicken with my head cut off picking up dropped shoes and dinosaurs. Combined with Child #2’s black eye, which he acquired while massaging the stairs with his face, I got quite a few weird looks.) No, I am not judging you. For reals.
I’m a woman, just like you. I’ve got good days and bad ones. Just like you. Some days we soar, and some days we crash, and most of the time, we just kind of have normal. I think it’s both wonderful and terrible that I can wear sweats and a ponytail all day and no one cares. (If I ever need an intervention, please, please don’t hesitate. I’m begging. In my yoga pants and pony tail.)
I’ve got a job, just like you. The benefits are fantastic, but the pay in terms of dollars isn’t terrific. (I am so understating.) But I can’t put a price on little hands wrapping around my neck and little voices saying “I wuv you, Mama!” I feel blessed to do this work (I know that some people wish they had my job) and I hope you feel blessed in your profession, too. I happen to work for the people I love most in the world, which is both awesome and hard at the same time. Awesome, because I get to be around them all day, and hard because there is no break, people. At all.
Hence, I am a little socially awkward right now. Frankly, that’s what spending 24/7 with people who come up no higher than my belly button will do. Please forgive me if I offer you a juice box or ask if you need to use the potty. (Help us, Lord, may it never get that bad.)
You need to know that I have done the unimaginable in the name of love. For instance:
- I have ridden huddled and shivering in the back seat clad only in jeans and a coat on my birthday, not because of some wild night of partying, but because my 9 day old baby shot explosive poop all over me, my clothes (most especially my shirt), and the interior of the car during a diaper change. Also, I have wiped poop off of walls, shoes, my purse, the carpet, my face and hair, my arms, the washing machine, and many other unexpected places. Magic Erasers, we are BFF’s for always.
- I have caught vomit in my hand. And been thrown up on, all over. Again and again.
- I have spent an impossibly huge amount of life wiping small posteriors, emptying smelly garbages, and scrubbing stains out of clothes.
- I have spent nights walking the floor with a wailing infant and days desperately lonely as a new parent and years wondering if I’m completely messing up these little ones.
In spite of all this, I chose this life. Actually, I like this life. I’m not a victim of my circumstances. Right about now, you’re probably wondering why in the world this crazy lady enjoys her crazy life, but bear with me, will you? It’s hard to quantify calling, but that’s just what it is.
I am living out my calling, putting feet to the Gospel in my own tiny corner of the world. I’m pushing a broom for Jesus, wiping little fingers and faces for Jesus, and making PB&J for Jesus.
I’m watching you, living out your calling, being Jesus to your corner of the world. You inspire me, you strong, faithful women, courageously and faithfully shining the light of Truth all over the world. In your office, your classroom, your lunchroom, everywhere.
Because of Jesus, we’re not so different after all.
Grace and peace and pass the fruit rollups (they’re kind of tasty!)