I’m Just a Mom

I'm Just a Mom-2What I wish I could say when someone asks what I do for a living…

Well, I’ve been in my current career for 3 years now. 

I started out in the “entry-level” engineering position, which lasted about 9 months. In that position, I was responsible for creating the most complex information-processing “system” in existence. It required a command center that could perform 38 thousand-trillion operations per second using more electrical circuitry than all of the computers in the world combined, with a structural support system as strong as granite that housed over 60,000 miles of tubing responsible for keeping the system running. Once completed, the system was required to be capable of self-repairing any damages and utilizing the five traditional senses, along with 15 others including balance and temperature, in order to be self-sustaining.

Luckily, I had an overseer in this position who did most of the work. Thank goodness, because while spending 9 months building this creation, I was put through some pretty intense hazing rituals, which resulted in constant sickness, aches and pains, sleep deprivation, and ended with a trip to the hospital. As a matter of fact, almost everyone in the engineering position ends up there, and in rare cases, some don’t ever even make it back out. From the very beginning, I was required to be willing to sacrifice my own life for this career.

And the engineering position was only the beginning. The real work began afterwards, once I was promoted. Since those first 9 months, I’ve been promoted approximately 346 times, give or take. It’s hard to keep track, really. I’ve been promoted to behavioral and family therapist, personal chef, night guard, finance manager, daycare provider, janitor, chauffeur, nurse, detective, and teacher, just to name a few. The skillset required for this career is vast, to say the least, and with every promotion, I’m usually required to take on the new responsibilities without giving up any from my prior roles. 

Did I mention that I am often required to do all of my work with a 10-20 pound weight in my arms, strapped to my chest, or hanging from my ankles?

My bosses are pretty harsh too. They don’t care where I am or what I’m doing, when they need me, they need me IMMEDIATELY, no matter what day or time it is. Sometimes, they even require my attention at the exact same time, and I must be available for them all, no questions asked. The ability to multi-task is crucial for my success.

I work 168 hours a week. I don’t get a lunch break, or any breaks for that matter. Since the day I started, I have yet to take a sick day, and even when I try to take a vacation day, I’m never actually “off duty.” Last year I worked enough hours that if I had been paid minimum wage, I would have made $110,000 dollars. But would you believe it if I told you that I was paid nothing and did the job anyways?

My job is so physically demanding, emotionally draining, mentally challenging, and permanently life-altering that 20% of people in my position suffer from depression and 15% with anxiety or other mood disorders.

As a matter of fact, my job is so important that the entire world sees it is their duty to critique every single decision I make and action I take. There is zero room for error.

I guess you could say my job is pretty intense, but I truly love it. The sacrifice is great, but the rewards are even greater.

Yeah, I’m just a mom. What do you do for a living?

(Data sources: 1, 2, & 3)I'm Just a Mom-1

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They Will Always Be My Babies

They will always be my babies 2I sat there on the living room floor. My husband was out of town, so I couldn’t watch “our shows” and binge-eat tortilla chips like we would normally do after the kids had gone to bed. Instead, I shuffled my way through the toys in the living room, pondered how Elsa had ended up topless under the dining room table eating a piece of plastic chicken, and set the remains of a bottle of wine next to me as I plopped myself down. I dumped a massive pile of outgrown clothing that had been toppling over in my childrens’ closet on the floor in front of me.

There I sat on the living room floor. I was determined to finally sift through and organize the clothes that my children had seemingly outgrown at record speed.

I picked up a pair of my daughter’s turquoise corduroy pants. The tag read, “Size 18 months.” I remembered buying those pants like it was yesterday. I bought them off the clearance rack at Target for $2 when my daughter was about 3 months old. I remember thinking that she would never actually fit into them, and I was certain that at this rate, and with my bargain-hunting skills, my children would never be without a full wardrobe of oversized clothing to grow into.

But, there I sat. The outgrown, discarded corduroys laying stained and worn on the floor in front of me. They smelled like fabric softener and had slivers of woodchips from the park wedged permanently between the fibers. I continued to pick through all of the clothing that my children had outgrown, holding up each piece and reminiscing about the ordinary days gone by.

This was not a concept I had prepared myself for. This was not possible. It just wasn’t. My kiddos were never going to grow up. As a matter of fact, I was forever going to be looking ahead, wishing for the next milestone, the next stage. I would forever be looking at the moms whose kids could all wipe their own butts and buckle their own seatbelts with envy. Right?

But, as I sat there, a mountain of tiny clothing surrounding me, I started to cry. I cried tears of happiness for the blessings that my happy, healthy children had bestowed upon me. I cried tears of relief and sadness. I cried tears of utter disbelief that my children had already worn and outgrown so much. 

My babies are growing up. My daughter is walking and talking and saying witty little things too cute for her own good. And my second baby? Well, that forever newborn has somehow managed to sneak his way out of newborn-ness without my knowing. I swear, he literally army crawled his way right out of the carrier strapped to my chest. Yesterday, he was waking in the middle of the night to nurse and then falling peacefully back to sleep, snuggled up close to my beating heart, and today, he has no patience for laying calmly next to mama when there’s a whole world to explore.

Maybe I’ll have another baby one day, and I’ll get to open up these clothes bins and tie new memories to each little outfit. But maybe not. Maybe, as I tenderly folded each tiny onesie and said goodbye, it was forever.

They say babies don’t keep and they’re right. I’ve spent a lot of days wishing away the long hours, the long days full of nap-boycotting, tantrums, and permanently soggy spit-up stained clothing. I’ve wished them away and I’ve felt guilty about it.

But, let’s face it, even if I hadn’t wished away some of those days, that wouldn’t have stopped them. I still would have woken up one day, wandered into the nursery to find that my babies were babies no more. Day by day, week by week, the mountain of outgrown clothing will continue to pile-up. I can’t stop my babies from growing.

But, there are a few things I can try my darndest to keep them from outgrowing. There are ways I can keep my babies my babies forever.

I can spend these early days making sure that 30 years from now, my babies will walk through my door, no matter where that may be, and feel at home. I can make sure that they don’t bother knocking, but barge right in unannounced and help themselves to the last piece of cake on the counter. I can pray that they’ll revert to their old ways, retreating to their spot on the couch, leaving their dirty dishes on the end table, and whining when I trap them in my embrace, dramatically smothering their cheeks with sloppy kisses. I can hope that they’ll call me on a Tuesday after an embarrassing encounter at the grocery store, just to have someone to laugh with, or to ask for the lasagna recipe that I made all those cold wintery nights. I can hope that no matter how big their problems, or how heavy their responsibilities, they will feel a bit lighter when their mama is near.

I pray that not a day goes by for the rest of my childrens’ lives that they ever question my steadfast, enormous, unbreakable love. Because, let’s get something straight – no matter how many pairs of shoes or socks or turquoise corduroy pants they outgrow, they will always be my babies.

And If I’m lucky, I’ll find myself here again some day. I’ll plop myself down on the living room floor, my baby’s baby in my arms, and dust off an old box of familiar clothing.I'll always be their mama 2 Continue Reading…