Recently I was at the checkout in my local supermarket with my eighteen month old son, when the women behind the counter asked whether it was my ‘day off’. Writing this now I think to myself ‘bloody cheek!’, but at the time I admit to replying with a ‘yes’?!! To question whether she thought spending the day with my eighteen month old (baby as far as I’m concerned) was deemed as unacceptable, or not ‘work’ enough didn’t feel comfortable at the time. Instead I actually felt wrong for saying that I was a full time Mum.
It happens frequently. When speaking to people I don’t know, friends of friends for example, the question ‘What do you do for a living?‘ is soon asked. To reply ‘I’m a Mum’ always seems to be a conversation killer (unless on meeting another Mum, in which case your on safe grounds!).
I realise that some of the feeling comes from myself. Its true that I still feel the urge to achieve some form of career, and feel that my degree and Masters in Psychology has currently amounted to absolutely nothing (except enjoyable memories of learning for fun… and proving to myself that I have a brain cell or two). But I know having spoken to others that many are in the same boat, feeling that being a full time mum isn’t deemed as enough.
As my eight year old daughter would say ‘But why?’. Why do people deem motherhood (or fatherhood) as a day off? Some I can understand are naive to what being a parent involves – but some parents seem to frown upon it too.
Now I don’t have the answers (clearly) as to why people deem full time parenthood as an unworthy ‘job’ title, but I would like to take the opportunity to say that being a full time parent is OK. In fact its more then OK. Its the most acceptable, natural, instinctive ‘job’ that one can have. It’s also hard work, and not a ‘day off ‘by any means. We can go for hours without adult conversation, have to remain patient at all times (even when you really do feel like you’re about to blow), can’t go to the toilet without being watched, have to somehow manage to tidy up and do other boring chores at the same time, and are probably doing most of this having had not much sleep, or having been up since 5.30 am at best.
For those of you who wonder why we don’t just do what we can to avoid this, I would like to also point out that it really is the most rewarding job anyone will ever do. Bit cliché I know – but it’s also a very fortunate position to be in, to be able to mould your little person into what they become, to watch them change each day and learn something new, to share your time with someone who absolutely cherishes your company, and to know that the energy you put in now will take that little person through their childhood, and make them into a big person that hopefully (if all has gone well) flourishes, and reaches their own dreams and aspirations because of what you put in from day one.
Basically – full time Mum’s be proud, don’t do what I did and be made to feel that being a mum isn’t worthy of being classed as a job, hold your head high knowing that you have one of the most challenging and important jobs in the world.