Recently, I had a friend who blogged about her dislike for the SAHM label. I have to say that I dislike the term as well. In so many ways it is very limiting. I was asked today if i "work outside the home" and I almost made a crack about how sometimes I take my kids into the yard.
"I am an adjunct professor at OC." is what I answered, because I am polite.
And I thought about the work I do. It's true, I take care of my children, and I teach, and I manage a home. I struggle to keep up with all these things. The individual tasks are not difficult, by any means, but the combination of watching children while trying to make dinner, or grade while my house needs to be cleaned, and laundry done.
This is not the hardest work I do.
Every morning I wake up and before I get out of bed I remake myself. I have to do this every day, or I will revert to the person I used to be. This new me is someone who has to remain calm and lead. I must be someone who absolutely puts my family first; well ahead of my own needs. I must be someone who is patient and kind even when I am very tired from lack of sleep, or frustrated from being unable to accomplish small tasks with ease. I must be a focused example for my children, loving and respectful toward my husband, efficient and thoughtful in the tasks I am given. It's a lot, and often I am not successful.
But the work I do must first, and foremost, be on myself. I can accomplish every task, grade every paper, dress and feed my children, but if I do not have a joyful heart, no matter the complication, I fail at my work. This is the work of a mother. It's a process that will change you or galvanize a coldness of heart. As a mother, you are softened by pregnancy, destroyed through selflessness, and reborn in love.
This is the work we do.