Out of no where, the words howled like the wind swirling around us, “Why don’t you just get a job?”
A thoughtless statement spoken by an ill informed adult. A thoughtless statement spoken to put me in my place. A thoughtless statement that hurt and forced me to gulp back the tears that threatened to burst forth.
For a second, I couldn’t respond. I was shocked, caught completely off-guard. The only words I could conjure up: “Good thing I have a job.” I wish I could tell you the conversation ended, but it didn’t. It never does. The person I was talking to viewed me as just a stay-at-home mom, and being a stay-at-home mom is not a job … apparently. This wasn’t my first conversation with an adult who had no idea what it means to be a stay-at-home mom … unfortunately.
So, to all my mom readers, in case you didn’t know:
You can apply to be a janitor at a community center, but don’t think cleaning your three bathrooms after basketball practice is a job.
You can apply to be a guidance counselor at the public high school nearby, but don’t think sitting on your teenagers bed listening to their woes and helping them apply to colleges around the world is a job.
You can sign on as a cook at a local restaurant chain, but don’t think putting 21 meals a week (plus snacks) on the table for your family is a job.
You can work at a day care up the block, but don’t think caring for your own children is a job.
You can decorate cakes at a bakery, but don’t think you’re holding a job if you bake cookies and cakes for your child’s birthday party.
You can be a nutritionist at the an adult living center, but don’t think taking charge of your family’s health is a job.
You can become a world-renowned interior designer, but don’t think having a beautifully decorated home is a job.
You can be a journalist for your city’s gazette, but don’t think chronicling your family’s life in a lined journal is a job.
You can be a chauffeur for a limousine, but don’t think carpooling your kid to and from school (and anywhere else they want to go) is a job.
You can go to beauty school and create beautiful hairstyles or be a barber, but if you cut your children’s hair (and hubby’s) don’t think it’s a job.
You can be a CEO of a company, but keep your finger on the pulse of your own home and you’re out of a job.
For each woman, the job is different. For some, it might be putting on the fancy pumps (I’m jealous), taking her kids to school, and arriving at the office just before the boss all while wearing banana (and sometimes boogers) on her skirt. For some, it’s bare feet, an apron, and herding a group of children to the library for toddler time and reading after naps. Both are jobs. Both require sacrifice and hard work. Both are worth saying “thank you” for. And both receive pay whether one receives a W-2 or not. If that’s what this job retort is really all about, it just looks different.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or a career mom, we all have jobs – important ones at that.
And for the record, can we stop saying I’m JUST a mom? We are moms. We are God’s children. We are loved, cherished, adored, and bought with a price. Let’s not make little of what God holds so dear. We’re moms, created to give life, and we have a job to do.