“So, what do you do?”
I was at an appointment in a somewhat swanky office, perched uncomfortably on a large leather chair. His desk was massive, the furniture grand looking. Everything here screamed “busy and important”. I was also well aware that my toddler was on the other side of that door with my husband, ever ready to let hell break loose with each passing minute.
“Oh, I’m a stay at home mum”.
I actually hate the way I say “stay at home mum”. I say it as though I’m apologising for being incredibly dull. I do it with friends when we have the rare opportunity to catch up. They’ll ask me what I’ve been up to, and I just flail my arms in the general direction of my kids. “Oh you know,” I begin to brush off. “Kid stuff. Nappies and school and Duplo and things. Never mind me, please talk about yourself narcissistically for the entire hour.”
I don’t mean any harm – but I totally degrade myself with just my tone. It’s maddening. And what’s worse, I’m not just degrading myself, but every parent who chooses to stay home and tend to their children. And I don’t even think that’s a bad thing! I think it’s a great thing! I honestly believe it is one of the most challenging, exhausting, important jobs in the entire world.
Yet I apologise for being boring. No one in the real world wants to hear about why I use cloth nappies, or how I found a rad recipe for homemade playdough online. No one out there needs to know my gripes about parenting and the daily struggle of maintaining just a tiny bit of sanity.
I fear that people won’t take me seriously, so I belittle myself so they don’t have to. It’s ridiculous. And I need to stop.
“That’s a very important job”.
The specialist was super nice about it, though I kind of found it amusing. This guy was a rather busy, rather expensive, professional telling me that I do important work. He even let my banshee in the room while the husband and I sorted out details and paperwork. I was so thankful for how welcoming he was.
I’ve been subconsciously apologising for being a stay at home mum for years. I had my first baby quite young, so I had little to contribute when friends would talk of going out, taking on jobs or university, or going on spontaneous adventures. I had the ingredients to make a cake! Boo took a nap yesterday! Toilet training is going well! Why would you be up at 4a.m. on purpose?!
And yet, this is not a reflection on how other people see stay at home mums – this is simply my own feelings. I’m most certainly not attacking anyone here. I admire people who joyfully stay at home to parent full time – and I admire people who can both work and parent, I think that’s amazing! People without kids are awesome too! Yay people!
So it’s time I started taking ownership of my role in the home, and stop quietly apologising for it’s blandness. I’m going to begin by creating new, exciting titles for myself.
Wonky Cottage CEO.
Chief Child Wrangler.
Expert Coffee Consumer.
Master of Sleep Deprivation.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sample some fine caffeinated beverages and review my itinerary. I’m very busy and important.