“So, are you employed?”
“Yes. I work about 60 hours a week. I teach my eldest daughter 5th grade, and I am her full-time nurse. I train our service dog. I run a household of four. I am a contracted writer and an amateur painter. I also volunteer my time for a couple of non-profit organizations on an ongoing basis.”
Long, drawn out pause.
“So, you are unemployed then.”
Last night, our family attended my husband’s work holiday party. I appreciate that his company allowed for it to be a family affair. I also loved the creativity as the event had a Star Wars theme. My daughters were thrilled to see Star Wars characters menacing the halls bedecked for the holidays, and every child (including a few parents – myself included) were gifted light sabers and storm trooper masks.
My husband’s office is absolutely amazing. Situated on the 29th floor of a building whose lobby currently adorns various color-themed Christmas trees, marble inlaid in the floors, and adorable storefronts with every imaginable trinket for purchase, it also boasts 360 degree views of Portland.
I was so enamored by it all, that I even took a picture of the sign above the women’s restroom.
This night had a star next to it on our family calendar.
My eldest has been in a lot of pain for the last couple of days. We gave her a large dose of meds prior to the event and because of my role as her nurse, I found myself with about 15 minutes to get ready for the party.
My daughters fought the entire ride there, and besides the excitement connected to receiving light sabers and seeing characters, the two were out of sorts and complaining.
My expectations were so grand for the evening – a night out in downtown Portland, an incredible office I had longed to see, and I was excited to take the girls to see the Christmas Tree in Pioneer Square – a short distance by foot. Magic!
We stayed just under an hour.
I have been thinking about the conversation above.
I have been thinking about how difficult it is to admit that sometimes I really do not enjoy being a stay-at-home mother.
I have been thinking about how taboo it is to say that out loud, or in this case write it, because inevitably my inner voice responds,
“You are so fortunate to get to stay at home!”
“You are so fortunate to be a mom!”
As you read this, Dear Reader, you might be thinking the same.
Can we be honest and just admit that sometimes it can be both?
I AM fortunate.
I am aware.
I so get it.
Having acknowledged that, I find that it is equally important to recognize the longing and the tension and the desires that creep in where if I could trade places with my husband and work from the 29th floor in Downtown –
I believe the Giver of All Things referred to the tree and the branches in order to remind us as a humanity that every Beloved has value and that every Beloved has a role to play that creates synergy and allows that tree to grow and to flourish.
When a branch is cut off, the tree loses strength and vitality.
My current branch is stay-at-home mom. A title that I long to see permanently removed from the dictionary and replaced with,
Renaissance Woman, Doer of All the Things
(or something similar)
or at least give me a box under the employment option on the forms I have to fill out that states,
“a Human with Value”.