I was listening to a podcast today and they were discussing, how no one ever recognizes raising kids, or being a carer as a full time job. That it should be celebrated, appreciated and quantified in value. Yet, I am not writing this piece from the stand point of “hey look at how hard this job is”, or how much work I do, everyday, all day and night. As a parent you also do the night shift. Check me out – I am a warrior against bad dreams and bed wetting.
What I want to share is the silent shame that seems to be woven intrinsically into being a full time mum. At age 32 I became pregnant with my first child, at the time I was a project manager for a media company. I am also a 2:1 graduate with a Sports Science Degree, and have been a top 10% student for my whole schooling career. In the past I have been a fashion buyer for department stores and Levi’s Europe, an assistant Pastry Chef, blogger and recruiter.
BUT as soon as that wiggly single sperm fertilized that big ass mama egg, I became a “mother”. On a dime I decided to give up work, and work hard at being a mum. In that single moment all my education, and my entire career just faded away. From then on, all people would see, was a disheveled woman with kids!!! With snot on her shoulder and a small, dirty handprint on her thigh. All they can see is a bearer of screaming infants, and not the intelligent being that lays dormant beneath. I basically became a walking womb! A person who could not do both, who could not parent and hold down a paid job simultaneously. DO not get me wrong I tried to do both, but I crumbled, I was up working at 5 am and starting again at 9 pm and trying to parent in between. I could not do either job well, and I was failing miserably.
Today I cried when I heard that podcast, because, I do feel like life has kind of passed me by when it comes to work. I am a 44 year old mother of 3. Seriously no one wants me, when you read the numbers. When people cast their eyes in my direction and look me up and down, I want to scream, “PLEASE see me, I am smart, I have ideas, I can create and be creative, Hey hey hey I can still do mental arithmetic in my head, go on, go on, test me.
Yet, why? Why do I feel like I need to hang my head as I mumble, yes I am a full time mum, full time care giver. Is it my own internal shame of working failure, or did society create this. “Oh you don’t work”??? What you settled into the homemaker role, what a cop out. “Dumb bitch” !!! I am not going to sit here and list all the shit I do every day. The continuous work I do as a parent of three. I hold my hand up high, yes I took the role willingly, but that does not make me unintelligent, so why do I have this driving need to make sure people know I have a brain
I will admit at times I feel so unbelievably lost. A languishing amoeba floating in a sea of meal planning, bed making, wound cleaning and ferrying small humans around. Yes I am single cell creature fighting to be more. Yet life right now just doesn’t see me, I am an aging shadow that no longer has the time to be fleshed out.
What do I want to be when I grow up? I still want to be an architect, a painter, an antiques buyer, museum curator, a historian, a writer, a sneaker designer, a run shoe tester, a gallery curator, a merchandiser…….
I still have work dreams. However, as a sit up at 2 am cradling a small frightened child on my lap, stroking his hair and telling him mummy loves him, I do know I have the right job. I was made to be a boy mum, a strong mum, a fair mum, a loving mum, a mum who will always be there….. To pick you up, take you to the dentist, to hold your hand, to take you to the zoo, to rush you to hospital, to clean a bloody knee, to make you pancakes in the morning, to bring a forgotten lunch, to see your first steps, your first smile, to hear the words mama first, to have your warm arms around my neck and your face buried in my hair, just loving you. I was made to love you.
Yes, that may not tell the world my IQ, but that makes me amazing to them, to the little people I created. It grants me the time to watch them blossom and grow, forge their own path. AND that is why I gave up work, I gave up so I could be everything to my children. AND I must stop feeling guilty about that.
That is who I am and will always be, a mama, a mother, a mum, their mom, mummy…