Monday, March 30, 2009

Just a mom

On Saturday night, someone told me that she wanted to be me for a day.

I laughed. I said ‘thank you.’

I imagined this friend running around my house like an over-caffeinated chicken with its head cut-off. I laughed again for a different reason.

Wouldn’t it be great to walk in someone else’s shoes for a day? Yes, you can read what I write, but I can only give you a small slice of my day. If I had that much time to write, I would have nothing to write about. Even so, my high school friend recently told me that, after reading my work, she felt assured that I haven’t changed.

She knows me well enough to not want to be me for a day, but only our children see anything close to the whole picture.

What does my day look like? I am just a mom. The details would bore you.

In the past few weeks, my agenda for next year has congealed into a thick and sticky plan. Without considering my writing on line, I have accepted four very different hats to wear. I should mention that I have rejected two others formally, and ducked and dodged other such responsibilities. Each year I hope to hang a few more hats on the hook, and each year I am thrown a few new ones, greater challenges, bigger honors, something new.

Swept away in the tide of possibilities and challenges to overcome, I don a few hats.

I comfort myself by knowing that I am a better person when I am engaged. The power to improve my world, even by the nose-nudge of a puppy, propels me forward. I imagine that by my example of achievements my children will thus achieve. As I strive to see the world through their eyes, the world they know best now is the one I bring to our doorstep.

And, then, I remember Ted. Once again I am humbled.

The other day, Gladys’ preschool asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. On the paper I read: “When Gladys grows up, she wants to be a mom.”

At first I felt a little sadness well up in me. Life presents so many opportunities, and my daughter aspires to be a mom. If she had been in the room when I read the paper, I might have said something like:

“Dear, you know, you don’t have to be just a mom. You can be a mom and something else too.”

I am glad she wasn’t in the room. She knows that I used to get paid. She knows that women can do whatever they want (and should do it without hesitation). She knows what I do all day now. She even knows why I go to meetings, and how I try to make a positive impact on the world.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot to tell her that she shouldn’t be proud of being a mother. I probably even forgot to mention that it isn’t considered the most important job in the world. She probably doesn’t know that.

She sees more than a small slice of my life. I am her definition of ‘just a mom.’ I guess she wants to be like me for a day too, or maybe even longer.

Maybe I shouldn’t have laughed so easily.


Jen said...

You bring great meaning to being just a mom, so enjoy the compliment that your daughter wants to be a mom too! She must see it as the wonderful job it is. I like your comment " I imagine that by my example of achievements my children will thus achieve". That is a good way of looking at everything we do, we are the examples our children will hopefully follow! So much pressure!! And we thought it was pressure working our way through corporate America...

Anonymous said...

The more I see of the world, the more I realise that being a good parent is the most important job - ever.

If I could, I'd like to walk for a day in the shoes of our Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown. Then I could give my husband several hefty boots up the backside for the way he's messing up our country.

MIT Mommy said...

splodge - There are plenty of stories in US history of first ladies doing just that - and doing a lot of good for the country!

AreWeThereYet? said...

I have been at this place too with my daughter proudly stating (in ink) that she wants to be a mom. I decided to tell her that I was proud she wanted to be a mom, but challenged her to be a better mom than her role model.

Brigette said...

Fear not. When she gets to college she'll have plenty of people tell her she has no reason to be proud to be a mom.

One of my daughters wants to have 14 children, and another says she will NEVER be a mother, because I work too hard. Maybe I'm not doing a good enough job of making her appreciate the wonderful parts of it.