What do you do? People ask each other that question all the time. It seems like a simple question that should come with a simple answer. But, sometimes it’s really not so clear cut. I was recently at the doctor’s office and had to fill out one of those patient update forms that ask you every question under the sun except for your blood type. After the name, address, and phone number areas, came the “title” and “place of employment” sections. For years, that was a no brainer. But, for once in my life, I actually stopped and stared down at the piece of paper like it was some kind of impossible S.A.T. question. I toyed with writing “unemployed”. I quickly decided that would be stupid. I thought for a minute and then remembered a conversation I had while I was at a baby shower about a month ago. Someone had just found out that I no longer work where I did and asked where I worked now. To my surprise, I blurted out “at home.” It was one of those moments where your mouth takes over for your brain and you don’t realize what just happened. It didn’t stop there.
I went on to say (and proudly) “I’m a stay-at-home mom”. Before my mouth could continue its hostile takeover of my brain, another woman chimed in and told me she was really glad I said that. She went on to talk about how so many people don’t think staying home is a real job. Sure there is no tangible paycheck or 401K plan to rely on, but it is still work. I have to admit I was one of those people who thought SAHM’s (as I learned we can be called) had it easy. After about a year into the gig, I can tell you that’s anything but the truth. If you think we sit around all day and watch TV, you are sadly mistaken. It’s a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. We are the entertainers, the maids, the cooks, the nannies, the drivers, the referees, the receptionists, and if we’re lucky, there’s time to just “be”, if you know what I mean. With all of those “real” titles under your mommy belt, you can sometimes question if you’ve made the right decision, although some may never fess up to the fact. But, then you hear your child tell you how much she loves you or you see your baby’s first step, and you know you got it right this time.
So, as I was sitting in the doctor’s office having this little flashback, I decided to write “Stay-at-Home Mom” on the title line. I even thought about writing the same phone number in both the “home” and “work” sections, but decided that really didn’t matter. What does matter is that more people should realize that staying at home with your kids 24/7 is truly a job and a real title to be proud of!