Posted in Authors, Blog, Emotional wellness, Featured, Just for you, Life as a mom, Mother, Shawna, Wife, Working or staying home

Paging June Cleaver…

Though staying home with my kids is something I never, ever thought I would do, my new identity is mostly, and surprisingly, a great fit for me. Mostly.

Before I had kids, I spent hours wondering how motherhood would change my sense of self. The mothering part has actually been easy on my ego (relatively speaking). I am wholly a mom. I love being a mom. I don’t care if I have “mom hair” or wear “mom jeans” or any of that other insulting crap women’s magazines coin to make us hate ourselves.

I really do have fun playing with my kids day in, day out and while we sometimes have our rough moments, I usually feel like I’d buy a bumpersticker saying “My worst day at home with my kids is still better than my best day at the office.” Most days. The days I don’t, well, I won’t get into the bumpersticker I’d like to make. But I bet it would sell millions!!

Anyway, the mom part of my new life fits me, definitely. It’s the stay-at-home part that’s scary. I mean, I really love to cook, and I really love my neighborhood (and all the other stay-at-home moms on my block), and it’s not like I had a cleaning lady before or anything, but the constant daily pressures of a job that is so undervalued makes me feel like the punch line of a joke a lot of the time.

I’m not ashamed to say that I take pride in my work, by which I mean my kids and my cooking (as for the cleaning part, most days I’m pretty much just showing up often enough to not get canned). But there is one element of my new persona that kind of embarrasses me, and there’s really no other word for it than homemaking. I love it and I hate it and I feel weird about it.

I’m not sure why I’m admitting this out loud, I mean, I am a feminist. I have a master’s degree from Northwestern, for crissakes. I had a successful career and I intend to go back to it someday….I think. But these days it really, really makes me happy when my husband and kids are happy with something I do for them, like washing their clothes, changing their sheets, making them a good meal. It makes me feel of immense value. It also makes me feel worthless, almost in the same instant.

What I’m trying to say is I extract great happiness from pleasing them in my role as homemaker. That really shouldn’t be surprising or embarassing, but I must admit it sometimes feels like a dirty little secret from my past self.

It’s hard to spend your whole life thinking of yourself in a certain way, following a certain career path and then to leap from that path into a minivan and a pair of Tory Burch flats (In my case actually it’s an old Jetta and a pair of Tevas, but you know…).

It’s even more surprising to find that you love it and that you believe deeply to the core of your being that it matters. You could even catch yourself thinking that what people are doing in offices is just thumb-twiddling compared to the work you do holding together the basic building block of our society and probably the universe.

Now that I’m the punchline of the joke, I’m wondering why it was so funny.

 

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