By: Nicole Unice
I have needed to write this for a long time.
I was standing over some chicken last night and it came to me that I have so much to say to every stay-at-home mom in this little blogging land. I was cooking that chicken and it tasted good. It tasted good, I tell you. I don’t know how many of you mommas out there can make consistently good chicken but it is not me. I tasted a little piece of that chicken and I thought holy poultry I finally made a piece of chicken worth eating. That’s the kind of mom I am. I’m sort of scattered, absent-minded, can’t-keep-a-calendar kind of mom. I’m all over the place, one foot at work, one foot in the kitchen, one eye on the email, one eye on the chicken.
Maybe that’s why the chicken is usually bad.
But my overall impression of my mom-ing is that I’m mediocre. I’m just OK at it. For whatever ideal image I hold in my mind of a mom, I’m doing OK. Maybe it’s because I’ve never made a scrapbook. Notice I didn’t say I was mediocre at loving my children, because I love them something fierce, something wild, something that can only be summed up in one word: lioness. But we are women and we are made up of all kinds of materials, and some of us are really good at being at work. And some of us are really good at being at home. And many of us are just doing what we can to survive, and that’s worth appreciating too.
So when it comes to my mom-ing, I need my stay-at-home mom friends. I need my mom-friends who know the bus schedule and why we have September 26th off this year. (Yom Kippur. Thanks Suzy). I need my friends who do sub-committees for PTA and go on field trips and become the room moms and send me emails. I need my friends who have room in their heads for details like teacher appreciation week and ice cream socials and room in their hearts for preschool playdates. Women who handle preschool playdates are made up of some special stuff.
But it’s not just the things those moms do to support the school. It’s their ever-presentness. There is something about my SAHM friends that lets me let down. When I am with them, I want to talk about teachers and tantrums and sleepovers. I want to know what to expect in middle school and how do you handle a tween boy and what to freak out about (not really that much) and what to let go (most of it).
And I love my stay-at-home mom friends and I want them to get their due. Because staying at home means there are no manager check-ins or bonuses or annual performance reviews. There is no “employee of the week!” or special parking spots or even email-shout-outs. There certainly aren’t raises. Or paychecks. And we live in a world that likes to measure our performance so when you get measured you feel good. It’s not a good system, but it’s our system.
So if you are a stay at home mom, can I tell you something? You are awesome. I give you superior in every area of life. You multi-task. You meet your children at the bus (and sometimes my children). You host great kid parties. You run schools. You appreciate teachers. You are smart. You are talented. And you have given yourself to the task of serving your children, and my children. If you are a woman of faith, then you are also shaping your children’s worldview. You are teaching them and showing them the best kind of love, a love that shuttles and shuffles and signs homework, a love that isn’t always perfect but is always present.
And some of you think that you are failing at that, but you are hard on yourself and you probably don’t have anyone telling you enough that you are doing a great job. But sometimes the main part of your job is just showing up. You are going to bed tonight tired and you are waking up to start again, every single day of the week. You read books about parenting and children and good dinner for tonight. You probably make good chicken. You are so good at what you do.
You serve me and every other part-time, work-at-home, or full-time working mom. Because you are present, we breathe a little easier when we are absent. So if you’ve ever felt like less than–if you’ve every felt overlooked–if you’ve ever wondered if it would just be easier to go back to work and decide that work isn’t work without a paycheck–let me say, on behalf of every mom that works–we need you. We appreciate you. You make the world go round. And today, right where you are, you make a difference.
Nicole Unice is a works part-time, writes part-time, and cooks chicken as little as possible. Find out more about her blog & books at her blog or connect on twitter @nicoleunice or Facebook at Nicole Myer Unice.