I'm a full time Mom, but at one time (long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, so it seems) I worked outside the home. I had business cards with my name boldly printed on them, along with a fancy title meant to impress others and convey my importance in this world. I had succinctly composed goals and objectives. My progress was reviewed annually and my salary was adjusted commensurate to my performance. When people asked what I did, I had a great and impressive answer and it generated lots of questions and conversation. In short, I was working and I had value in the eyes of others.
Now I'm a full time Mom. I don't receive a paycheck or an electronic funds transfer once a month. I don't get personal or sick days off. I don't get paid vacation days. No company holidays either. My goals are long ranging, far reaching, and sometimes difficult to articulate. My objectives are fuzzy and can often shift from day to day or hour to hour. When people ask what I do and I answer that I'm a full time Mom, I get a rather sickly sweet smile and a nod and all conversation comes to a screeching halt. No questions...no interest...nothing.
Sometimes I press on and say that I LOVE what I do - which is the absolute truth - and I say that I work harder now than I ever did in the corporate world - which is also absolutely true. Then I get that question - you know the one - "do you think you'll ever go back to work?" as though Motherhood is a temporary blip of insanity in an otherwise sane and properly lived life. I usually say, "absolutely not", but what I REALLY want to say is something more along the lines of, "I know you think I gave up something grand and important just to wash clothes and vacuum carpets, but really, I gave up nothing and I have gained everything. And, if I spend all of my day and all of my week giving my time and energy to the corporate world, who will love my children?"
I have nothing against working Moms and Dads, and I know they love their children deeply. Some people enjoy working and they're probably happier people and are, therefore better parents because they're happy. But that's not who I am, and that's not how I feel I best express my deep, deep love for my children.
A Mother's love is indescribably deep and wide. It's unconditional, ever enduring, unending, and it has an amazing quality that makes you feel like it's a real, tangible thing that you can actually touch, while also feeling like you could never possibly hold it all in your arms at once. It feels like you are surrounded by it on the outside, and yet you hold it all inside of you, all at the same time. A Mother's love begins before the child is born and lasts forever and ever. I heard a woman once say that a Mother's love is the Mother load. Yes indeed, it is.
I would love, just once, when someone asks what I do and I tell them I'm a full time Mom, to have them smile in amazement, shake their head with wonder, and say something like, "That is such an important task and I am so impressed that you devote so much of your time and energy to your children's physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being." I am, after all, touching the future.