How are you feeling on this day? Probably a bit tired from ripping and running and cleaning and cooking, and basically, trying to be everything to everybody in your home. It takes a lot of courage to make the choice to stay home with terrible tantrum throwing toddlers, and to be there like no other for…well…terrible tantrum throwing teenagers. The work of the stay-at-home mom is never done. And to think, as the child of one, when I was younger I used to think you didn’t do much of anything.
When I was young, I really didn’t understand all the work you did, or why you would do it. So when people would ask me what my parents did back when I was young, I would say the following: “My dad works in the schools and my mom, well, she doesn’t work.”
I guess I forgot that she woke up at the crack of dawn to wake me up that day, made breakfast so I wouldn’t fall out during first period, and drove me to school when I could have been a flunky on the bus (no offense to the kids who rode it though) battling for a seat in the back. And what was interesting was that when I would say she didn’t work, my elders would correct me: “Oh, she’s a homemaker.” Yeah, my mom worked all right.
In fact, she’s always been the hardest working woman I know. She was working when she was pregnant with most of her children (she’s had six), waddling to the train station to make it into the city to work, and when she came home, she was still putting food on the table and making sure we got our homework done. She’s wiped noses, combed obscenely tangled hair and greased dry scalps, made our favorite cake for our birthday, kept us fresh to death in all the coolest stonewash jeans and jumpers, read over my early journalistic endeavors (and she still has my horribly illustrated self-made books from childhood), and still found time to look beautiful in the bleachers at all of our football, basketball, volleyball and track meets/matches. Yeah, my stay-at-home mom with her degree in criminal justice and six kids worked for sure, even if she didn’t get a salary for it. But I’m sure there were some benefits (Get it!?).
But don’t get me wrong. Working mothers deserve the same amount of credit for all they do as well. All mothers work hard and you deserve your props. So that’s probably why the recent “battle” between stay-at-home moms and working moms made by the media and political pundits made absolutely no sense. Sparked by the words of Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen, who questioned Mitt Romney’s choice to seek advice from his stay-at-home wife about women’s issues, she said that Ann Romney had “actually never worked a day in her life.” It kicked off a firestorm about working moms and stay-at-homes, who does more, who does less, and so on and so forth. Folks tried to make Ann Romney the spokeswoman for the self-sacrificing stay-at-home mom, and instead of praising both kinds of mothers, Republicans used the conversation and used these mothers to point fingers and make it a “teaching” moment. Uh, thanks, but no thanks.
I don’t need Mrs. Romney or anyone else to open up my eyes to the great wonders of the stay-at-home mother, because I see you up at the crack of dawn on the train making sure your child gets to school on time and safely. I see you trying to grab little hands and moving to and fro on the streets while trying to lug around groceries at the same time in the early afternoon. And of course, I see you in my own mother, who even now, with grown up children, still sends handwritten notes and cards that say “That’s My Baby!” to congratulate us on our success. We were her “job” for all these years, and it doesn’t seem like she’s ready to retire. That’s why, now that I’m an adult, I have to applaud stay-at-home mothers. You guys could have been anywhere in the world, gone and done anything you wanted, made a stack of money in the profession of your choice, but you chose to be there for your little ones 24/7. You do what a lot of people, including myself, probably wouldn’t want to do, and that’s why you’re so amazing. Just in case I don’t get to tell you on Sunday, Happy Mother’s Day!
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