You know the question. We’ve all heard it. We’ve all asked it. Whether we’re chatting with our neighbor sitting next to us in the window seat, standing serpentine in a line at the grocery store, or sipping cocktails at the hippest place in town,
me? yeah right! ninety-nine point nine percent of the time someone asks, “So, what do you do?”
When I was a Stay-At-Home-Mom the guilt over not having an ‘outside’ job in addition to my familial responsibilities left me sputtering like a dying carburetor. Out loud, I’d hem and haw about how my adventures with the frantic four left little time for anything else, but inside I was asking myself how the focacchia did my mom-peers find the time to be welders, bio-chemists, lawyers, and artists between changing diapers and cleaning up barf? And why was I feeling like I should be keeping up with them?
I get it though. Heck, before I had children, I too used to wonder what a mother did at home all day without going insane. How many times could she blow on a boo-boo, clean a toilet, or fill the washing machine?
For years, I felt like a slacker. I could see that same thought reflecting back at me in people’s eyes, too. Or at least I thought I did. Thankfully, that did change when a now, dear friend innocently asked that loaded question, only this time ending it with “all day.” Armed with an answer that had been stockpiling for years, I shot back, “Well, typically, once the children have been taken to school, I change into turn of the 20th century lounge wear, grab a good book -preferably one with little or no plot- drape myself across a plush divan,
and sip a range of Martinis all day long:
Cosmopolitan, Milky Way,
and even ‘dirty’ ones when I’m feeling particularly frisky.
Between drinks, I suck sumptuous goo from an assortment of bon-bons until 3:00 pm,
to pick the rug rats up from their after school activities,
before following the scent of cinnamon rolls back to the house to advise the chef
when dinner should be ready.”
After an apology and a good laugh together, I felt much better about myself. Although the question did continue to haunt me for a time in every OCCUPATION box on standardized forms that crossed my path – things like tax returns or patient questionnaires – until finally, upon further reflection, the sun set on the answer…
SEE ATTACHMENT in bold black ink would speak more to the truth of the matter:
“Besides being the housekeeper, laundress and cook,
I am the hugger, the kisser, the unconditional love dispenser,
the daily event organizer, the entertainment director,
the transportation administrator, the procurer of supplies,
the banker, the accountant, the psychologist,
the counselor, the teacher, the tutor, the religious instructor,
the etiquette professor, the integrity enforcer,
the judge, jury, and both defense and prosecution lawyers,
the nurse, the coach, the cheerleader,
the arts and crafts director, the fashion consultant, the travel agent,
the pet supervisor,
the electrician, the plumber,
the butcher, the baker,
the candlestick maker.”
Applause and hugs to all the mothers in the world.
Especially those of you employed outside the home or doing it all on your own.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom, your patience, your never-ending sacrifice,
Your recipes, your love, your guidance, and advice.
😘 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 😘