Sunday, November 29, 2009

mothering is what i do.

I wrote this last week after we got home from Florida but sort of forgot to post it. So here it is:

We got back from Florida last night and the flight (two) plus the 2-hour layover in Baltimore an hour past their bedtime are stories in and of themselves, but that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about mothering as a job.

Florida was great--and it was vacation in the truest sense. Grandparents to entertain and cajole and carry and periodically change a diaper, plus two girl cousins between 8 and 11 who think my two kids (and kids in general) are so cute in the puppy kind of way which is GREAT and means they help the kids get dressed, read books to them, hold their hands at the carnival, let them hang out while watching Hannah Montana in their room. A vacation. And today I'm back at work.

This vacation crystalized for me what my job is in this specific kid-stage. It all goes in stages, as any parent knows, and my job differs from stage to stage. I find that in the little baby months it doesn't feel like a job, but is my life. But now, maybe for the first time, I'm able to separate it out as a job. And today, without a doubt, I was back at work.

I wiped up spilled compost off the kitchen floor and wall, I wrestled with Clark through every single diaper change, I chased and grabbed and carried little people back so I could wrestle their socks and shoes on, and then their socks and shoes again as they pulled them off. I argued and reasoned and bribed with cookies. I used to think the phrase "A mother's work is never done" was meant theoretically, but now I know they mean it quite literally: there's always more to be done. More laundry, more cooking, more faces to wipe, more diapers to change.

Today I'm tired and it definitely feels like work, but I'm glad this is my job and not another. And I'm glad I can see it as a job and not as my life in full, though it sort of is.

1 comment:

Paige said...

What a great post. I think sometimes thinking of mothering as a job is really helpful - in my "real" jobs in the past, I generally try my best most of the time. And I got paid in dollars. In this job, I should try my best most of the time. So I can get paid in wonderful adult children.

So I think it can be useful to ask, Did I deserve to get paid for the mothering I did today? Or would I have been written up at work?