10.17.2013

Please, Don't Call Me That...

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Seven years ago I was fresh faced college graduate, degree in hand, thinking I was going to spend the rest of my life living gloriously in the professional world. Working was where it was at. Working was the thing to do. By God, if I wasn't out in the workforce then I wasn't doing much of anything!
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Never would I have dreamed that I would one day end up 1,700 miles from home, and keeping myself busy at home *GASP*. At the ripe old age of 23 my brain could not FATHOM wasting such time.

Now, here I am with an almost 19-month old, and I'm at home with him. All day. Every day.

Are there days I wish I was still working? Absolutely. Are there days I miss the career I started post-college? For sure. I loved that job, I loved my co-workers (shout out to my Shawnee Parks and Rec family), and I loved that paycheck. 

But now? Now all my efforts that were once put forth to help other people, and other people's kids... Well, I am able to focus all of that time and energy to my little man. 

When people ask what it is I do often I've found myself saying, "I'm just a mom." Down-playing my job. In all actuality, it is the most important, most demanding, most stressful, and most rewarding job I've ever had.

Some would call me a stay-at-home-mom. And, to be totally honest, I despise that term. Let me explain...

Too often the verbiage, "stay at home" is portrayed negatively. Staying home seems to implicate days are filled with endless hours of free-time, lazy afternoons spent channel surfing and eating bon bons, and naps galore. It's quite the opposite. 

My days are jam packed. I have to plan out breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Then I have to prep said meals (with a toddler hanging on my leg), make said meals (with a toddler hanging on my leg), and figure out how I'm going to get my little man to eat said meals without a full-blown melt-down. Meal times can be daunting, and exhausting. Let's not even venture into the world of running necessary errands (ie. grocery shopping, post office trips, Target trips) with a toddler.

Aside from meals, days are spent teaching right from wrong, left from right, circles from squares, blue from red, and on and on. There are also play dates that need to be arranged, and toddler classes that need to be attended - interaction and stimulation with others is vital and necessary for both my main squeeze and me.

Each day when I wake up I put on several different hats and become the jack of all trades.
I'm a nutritionist.
I'm a chef.
I'm an educator.
I'm a moderator.
I'm a translator.
I'm a psychologist.
I'm an organizer.
I'm a janitor.
I'm a story-teller.
I'm an arts and craftser.
I'm a sing songser.
I'm a bruise-kisser-make-it-all-betterer.
I'm a dishwasher.
I'm a rules-setter.
I'm an enforcer.
I'm a to-do list maker and checker-offer.
I'm a nature explorer.
I'm a swim teacher.
I'm a lifeguard.
I'm a chauffeur.
I'm a building-blocks-builder.
I'm a master toy-truck-driver.
I'm a walk-around-the-block-6,329-timeser.
I'm a clothing and hair stylist.
I'm an exercise therapist (get outside and run, little one!).
I'm a bath giver.
I'm an affection showerer. 

That's just Monday.
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According to this site, if a full-time mom was to be paid, her annual salary would be $112,962.
My job is vital. And, I know every working-mother feels the same about her position. I'm not here to argue working versus staying at home. We're all trying to survive and make our lives work the best way we know how. At the end of the day we are all just doing what we think is best for our kids.

One last thing. I have a small favor to ask...
 Please, do not call me a stay-at-home-mom, or a SHAM. What I do is so much more. If a label needs to be placed, then please, call me a full-time mom.


Post-publish edit: After chatting with some moms who work full-time it has been brought to my attention that working moms aren't huge fans of the terminology "full-time mom." This carries the implication that working mothers are only part-time moms. Not the case. In order to settle the terminology dispute, a good friend of mine (thanks Andrea!) suggested I go with the term "Domestic Engineer." I like it. I'm using it.

19 comments:

  1. Great post! Although I will say it's so hard to figure out what to call ourselves because it seems the battle between work outside the home moms and work inside the home moms is so heated, everyone is touchy about it! I know that many working moms get very offended if you call yourself a "full-time mom" because it implies they are only a part time mom, and they feel they are a mom all day every day too, even when working outside the home (just throwing that out in case you get comments about that haha).

    I will say I"ve greatly enjoyed staying home with my girls the last 3.5 years but I'm also really excited to go back to work soon. Being home all day every day with your kids is HARD! :-)

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  2. Ha! Love it. There's SO many more things I can add to your list... 'nose picker and poop wiper' being just two of many.

    The "full-time mom" thing always rubs me the wrong way, though, as it implies that I'm not a full-time mom just because I work. I don't consider myself a "part-time mom" just because I chose to work full time. :( Trust me, there's not really a winning term. Let's just all call ourselves "full-time workers with different jobs"!

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  3. I'm a walk-around-the-block-6,329-timeser. That made me laugh. Ha!

    You probably do more in one day then most people who work. Marcus is one lucky kid! :)

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  4. Great post! Either way its a job and a hard one! But oh so rewarding and I love it!

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  5. Domestic engineer. Love it!

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  6. There are days I long to be back at work so I don't have to deal with another tantrum from a very emotional 3 year old, but I know I would miss them like crazy. As you know, I am trying to find a job to help our financial situation, and it makes me sad to know my time at home with them is limited.

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  7. Domestic engineer. I like that. One of my friends calls herself a CHO (Chief Home Officer). With 3 girls and a husband, I thought that was pretty appropriate.

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  8. I like the "my job is vital" part. What works for one doesn't work for others. There are so many aspects of this issue that people never know. If someone were to ask me why I choose to work instead of stay home, I don't think I could answer it fairly very quickly. So I usually just say something like "I love teaching and want to keep doing it." Which is true. But only part of the full equation.

    I also sort of hate all these terms for mothers.....SAHM, full-time, etc etc. How about just Mom.

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  9. I haven't found a term I like either so I just usually go with SAHM because people understand it... wells sorta. I really like this post. As moms there is no one right way to raise our kids or be moms or women. We all just have to do what we think is best and works for us. I think you said that really well in your post. Being a mom is hard work plain and simple.

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  10. You are so much more than a Stay at home mom. This is something that will never end. Moms who stay home with their kids versus moms who work. You know what?!?! It's not a competition. Not every situation is the same.

    I think it is great you get to stay home with your Marcus. In fact, before I had Molly I just knew that I was going to stay at home with her. Guess what.... Not only could we not do it financially, but I realized that I am actually a better mom to her and Brady because I work. It has nothing to do with the things we can afford because of a double income. It has to do with the fact, that my brain is just not wired to be home. Never mind the fact that my because of me working, my kids have awesome relationships with their grandparents (who watch them during the day). I am envious of their relationship. Does it hurt me sometimes when we are together, and they go to their grandma or grandpa when they want something? Not going to lie. It stinks a bit.

    It also doesn't help that I live in a part of St. Louis, where 90% of the moms stay home with their kids. So, I feel like I am always defending my decision for working, instead of staying home. But, even though I work, I am at every field trip, go to every class party, and if I get a call that my kids are sick, I drop everything and am out the door picking them up and taking them to the doctor.

    I think you are awesome....



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  11. Yes, yes and yes! You made me tired even thinking about all we do but couldn't agree more... Most rewarding job ever!

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  12. isaiah says im the CEO and hes the CFO. hahaha.
    i hate the war some moms (working or non) bring to the table. moms need to empower one another!
    loove love loooove this post!

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  13. Love this! People just don't understand anymore today how demanding being a mom is!
    Our Fairy Tale

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  14. Happy about the insert at the end I really dislike the term full time mom! But like you said we are all doing our best for our families/children. Kudos to all moms and dads!!!

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  15. Wonderful post. I completely agree, moms are a vital part of the family, whether they work full time or go to school or are able to be domestic engineer. We do it all!!

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  16. Great post :) I am on the other side, been working full time since the wee one was 9 months :( Do I wish it was different, absolutely, would I trade my life, nah :) Respect all around for all types of mamas :)

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  17. What a great post! I've never really liked the term SAHM and I didn't really know why. I think you explained why for me!

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  18. So true. ALL of it. I came to your blog from my blog :) (http://solkoblessednest.blogspot.com/2013/10/wtf-wednesday.html) and we sound like we share much of the same opinion on mommy-ing full-time. I agree there is no great name for it. I have always disliked the term SAHM, but there isn't a better way to say that I don't work outside the home. Because to say "I don't work" is a lie! Staying at home with kids is sometimes much harder than going to a job!

    Love the post!
    Keep on rockin', my fellow domestic engineer!

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