Is mothering really work?
A judge once asked my dad where my mom worked. My dad dismissively replied that she didn’t work. She just stayed home with the kids. Incredulous, the judge questioned his assessment that raising four kids wasn’t work, stating my dad truly spoke like one who’d never spent much time with kids.
Today, people often ask my work at home mother friends questions like, “What do you even do all day?” Other times, they express envy that these mothers get to lounge around the house all day and do, well, not much of anything. Like the judge who once questioned my dad, I can’t help but think, “Spoken like someone who hasn’t spent much time with kids!”
I’d like to offer some job title suggestions for work-at-home parents asked what they do all day. Because I work within IT (“Information Technology”), my offerings are based on IT jobs. Use of this shorthand to explain your job might make it more understandable to some monetarily recompensed professionals. As a bonus, it should take less of your time.
“Among other things, I’m a . . .”
* Project manager: This person is responsible for planning, executing and closing projects.
Some of your projects are smaller, such as submitting a preschool application having compiled all the requested references, vaccination records and information about your child’s development to date. Other projects are more complex, like planning a twenty-child birthday party with various stakeholders–such as grandparents and godparents–telling you what would make the party even more special. You constantly juggle dozens of projects, without the respite of a real weekend.
* Technical support analyst: This person is responsible for resolving users’ product issues.
You are constantly troubleshooting user problems with things like toys, mystery coughs, and missing necessities like pacifiers and teddy bears with users who don’t really speak your language very well. Your peace is contingent upon their satisfaction.
* Security analyst: This person is responsible for protecting users data and data users.
You are vigilant about assessing and protecting your children from inside and outside attacks. You are constantly aware of and responsive to changes in the multiple environments through which your children pass. You not only establish rules, safeguards and procedures to keep your child as safe as possible, but constantly update them based on new information from multiple pertinent news and safety sources.
But will it work?
There’s no guarantee any other person will understand the true complexity of your profession, which combines these job roles and many more. But maybe, just maybe, with translation into a language more familiar to them, they’ll come closer to seeing it’s so much more than sipping martinis in sweatpants.
Have you been asked what you do all day? How have you replied?
What other job titles do you think motherhood encompasses?
Get Dr. Greene's Wellness Recommendations
Sign up now for a delightful weekly email with insights for the whole family.