I hadn’t really pondered it in the months that have preceded. I hadn’t even thought it would matter. But there it was. Staring me right in the face. Half-mocking me as I sat with my screaming baby in the waiting room of the walk-in clinic (on a Sunday, 15 minutes before they closed, no less). Sidenote: Ear infections are the worst.
Never has a blank caused my heart to skip a beat and my brain to panic faster. I’ve always had a title. Cashier. Office Manager. Escrow Assistant. Customer Service Rep. But now…
What was I?
The answer I knew was a stay at home mom (or SAHM as the internet has affectionately monikered it). But I felt weird writing that. No, I felt ashamed. Now, I’m not going to go into a long diatribe about the validity and importance of mothers at home. I’m not. We’ve all heard it. It’s an incredibly important role. It’s hard work. It’s a vastly underpaid position. Mothers are frickin’ incredible. That wasn’t the point.
This particular moment was just about me and how I never even realized how connected I was to my career. To having a title. To having an attribution besides mom of 2, keeper of house, wife of the tall guy. And how disappointing it was to be reduced to it on a simple medical form.
Who are you and what do you do?
Is that all we’ve become or are to become in this world? I settled on “homemaker” and scribbled it messily on the blank, turning my attention back to my squirmy 6 month old. But the thoughts lingered in my head for the next few days. What followed a few days later, comically, was the same topic at my MOPS group (a group for mothers of preschoolers). Basically, it boiled down to owning who you are and not settling for saying that you’re “just a mom”.
Honestly, it has never bothered me to say that I’m just a mom. In my heart, I know that being a mom is incredibly hard, important, blessing-filled, irreplaceable, etc. and I’ve never felt I’ve needed to justify that to anyone who asks what I do. I’ve not required a more important sounding title than mom, at least not for myself.
But something about seeing it on paper, in black and white, felt so definitive. It had to be declared right then and there. It was a weird sting that I didn’t expect. I guess I am still coming to terms with all of the changes in my life in the last two years. In a lot of ways, maybe I’m still coming to terms with motherhood as a whole. It’s a wonderful journey full of such massive twists and turns. I’m grateful for it. That I cannot mistake. Grateful for the title of MOM. And super grateful for the ones I get to work with everyday. For them, being mom will always be enough.