Country-Fried Mama

A Yankee “mutha” raising kids in the deep, deep, DEEP South

You’re just a mommy

Posted by CountryFriedMama on Feb-5-2009

When Country-Fried Daddy first went back to work after his unfortunate ankle incident (read this), the girls and I ferried him there so he wouldn’t get busted for driving under the influence of narcotics.

Miss D. has since been asking lots of questions about what CFD does in that big building, and she recently asked me what my job is.

“I’m a mommy and a teacher,” I said.

“No, you’re just a mommy,” said Miss D.

I sighed, counted to five, and tried not to freak out.

Some context: I never considered myself the stay-at-home type.  Before Miss D. was born, CFD and I both assumed I would go back to work.  I don’t remember even discussing other possibilities.  But once my maternity leave ended and I went back to my job as a high school English teacher, both CFD and I found that leaving Miss D. at daycare everyday was painful.

I started to feel desperate about her being there. It was a really wonderful daycare, but all I could think about every day was that I was spending my time with other people’s children instead of my own sweet baby.  I felt like I was doing a crummy job as a teacher and a crummy job as a mommy.  I was beyond relieved when CFD got a job in a more affordable part of the country and I could plunge into mommyhood full time.

I am still relieved.  I would not trade being at home with my girls for anything, and yet…the world seems very small on some days.

So when Miss D. said, “you’re just a mommy,” I felt a little sick.  When I had to leave her each day to work, I soothed my guilt with the idea that at least she would grow up knowing that mommies have important careers, too.  I still want her to know that.

So I tried to explain that the laptop permanently attached to my body is not just for online mah-jongg, which she is inexplicaby interested in.  “I teach classes on the computer,” I told her.  “When you sleep, I’m a teacher.”

“No,” said Miss D., who gets her stubborn streak from me.  “You’re just a mommy.”

Sigh.

I’m guessing that anyone who reads this knows there should be no “just” in front of “mommy.”  Being a mommy is important.  I know that.  I care far more about the measurable outcomes of my performance as Mommy than I ever did for any job outside my house.  That’s the big picture.

The little picture is that my peanut-butter-sandwich-making, laundry-folding, spit-up-cleaning, Little-Einsteins-watching days are not always fulfilling and I fear my brain might be turning to mush.

I was on my hands and knees under the kitchen table yesterday scrubbing my baseboards, an activity I don’t recall ever performing when I worked full-time, when I had an almost uncontrollable urge to start screaming.

“I have a Master’s degree!” I wanted to yell, but I didn’t want to scare Belly.

I am not housebound.  I go to playgroup.  I go to book club.  I go to the grocery store more often than I would like.  But sometimes, my world seems uncomfortably small.  Is it shrinking?

Someone should alert Al Gore.

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  1. Nicki at Domestic Cents Said,

    Oh yes … what stay-at-home mom can’t relate to this? There are days when I feel thrilled and supremely rewarded for my choice to be at home. There are also days when I feel like I’m slipping into un-relevant oblivion. *Sigh* You’re in good company :-)

  2. Good Reads: Mismatch : Domestic Cents Said,

    […] Country-Fried Mama talks about being Just A Mommy. […]

  3. Liz Said,

    While I don’t have a Master’s degree I can relate to the just part. I was filling out applications for part time jobs recently and was trying to figure out how best to market the skills I have acquired in my role as Mommy.

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