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I feel I should preface this post by divulging that right before I started writing, my brother arrived with a bag full of assorted whiskey bottles and announced we were going to do a taste test. And so we did. That being said, I’m surprised I can still remember words like “divulged” and “preface”, but I still have time for the alcohol to kick in so my grammar and vocabulary might devolve by the end of this. My punctuation is already shot. But I just used devolve properly in a sentence, so punctuation can suck it!

So, this month’s theme is ‘Work’. When I was growing up, I internalized that my work would be getting married and having kids and keeping the household running. I could be reading things wrong, it’s always tricky to look back on the personal experiences one’s had as a child and get a clear picture of the truth. But I do know I went to Sunday School faithfully every Sunday for two hours and was taught how to be a good wife and a good mom. And to get a good education. So there’s that.

But the whiskey is sidetracking me. My point here is that I have given up a career path to follow the “stay-at-home-mom” path. Many in this tribe of “SAHM-ness” make homemaking their job. I don’t disagree…staying home with kids to be the primary provider of their needs is a job. A hard core job. It’s the workiest work ever. Always on call, always thinking ahead, always being asked the who/what/when/where/why, always being the go-to…it’s extreme!

But! Knowing how hard it is to work as hard as I do, I enjoy the hell out of the perks. So while it IS my job, I don’t call it “my job”. First of all, no one in their right mind would apply to this. Seriously. The hours are 24/7. The pay is nothing. You’re around whiny, stinky, demanding people all day. Who would sign up for that?!

But omg, the perks are fanfuckingtastic. Especially if you can work it out so you do a little something called “unschooling”, which is like homeschooling but without all the curriculum crap to tie you down. If you’re an unschooler, then you just play with your kids and go on field trips all day. It’s pretty awesome. This week, the kids and I explored tide pools at the beach and then the next day hung out at the pool.


(photo mosaic courtesy of two amazing iphone apps: PicFrame and Instagram!)

In the past there have been park days, days at Disneyland, days in cardboard forts, days picnicking in the mountains, days and days on roadtrips, party days, hula hooping days, days at the beach…all kinds of days.

These days fill me with happiness and gratitude.

But nothing turns me into a shrew faster than someone else making snide comments about how they wish they could just sit around all day at the pool. Or hang at Disneyland. Or play at the beach. I don’t even have to have whiskey on board to get me all feisty with that kind of shit. Nevermind that when I’m at the pool, I’m always on guard against my kid’s accidental drowning or some kind of blunt force trauma to the head via running/slipping/diving/jumping wrong. Nevermind that while at Disneyland I’m hyperaware of some kind of getting lost/getting snatched/drowning in the Tom Sawyer River scenario. And the beach?! Please. It’s no day at the beach when I’m at the beach with my kids. Hello a little something called: riptides/kidnapping/pervy dude hiding in the public bathroom/falling over the handrails on the pier/drowning/getting suffocated by sand (I saw it on Rescue 911 people!!!)/getting 3rd degree sunburn.

I’m not particularly paranoid or freaked out, I’m just aware and on guard. It’s my job. Or, I should say, if it were my job I would quit it and ask for disabilities in the form of PTSD therapy. Instead, it’s just what being a mom is all about.

Those snide comments put me on the defensive. Like, excuse me. When you have put your hands in someone else’s shit and cleaned it up on average of 3 times a day for approximately 9 years, then you can talk to me about pool days. When you have turned the other cheek for an accumulation of 15 years towards the fruits of your loins who you love more than life itself but who won’t stop kicking/licking/throwing up/biting/whining/crying/screaming/harassing/hounding you…then we can talk about a day at Disneyland. When you have spent an average of 5 hours a day between the hours of 6 am and 3 pm pointlessly cleaning up after children that go about making the same sort of mess even in the midst of you cleaning it up…then we can talk about lounging at the park at midday.

I hate getting all bitter and defensive like that. It makes it sound like being a mom is such a chore. And it is…but it’s not. If I made it my job, then it would be a major buzzkill. So I don’t think of it as my job. I think of it as my life. My crazy, awesome, busy, messy, chaotic, blissful, non stop, round the clock, intense, passionate, loud, noisy, constantly changing life.

So here’s a toast to everyone living their lives in whatever form it takes. Working, playing, living, sleeping, putting in long hours, nurturing, office working, asskicking…whatever it is you call work. Or whatever it is you work at and call life. I raise my whiskey cup to you. Hell. I raise the entire whiskey bottle up. Cheers to you. Well done. May you dig deep and hang in there when you need to, and enjoy lots and lots of perks for your efforts!

I’d like to know…what do you call your life’s work? And does it vomit on you at unsuspecting times?

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  1. April 11, 2012

    I am a Massage Therapist by trade and I am working on my undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a emphasis in Management and a concentration in Health. That said, I have but one job at the moment and I am hoping to land a part time one later this afternoon. My job is school. At 37 I have realized that I can’t do school full time and work even 30 hourws a week and still make the Deans List. Humbling but true. Massage is a lifestyle for me and I tried and failed to mesh both being a student and keeping up with my work. Working as a LMT I do have people ‘throwup on me’ so to speak with their bad hygience and moral lapses on rare occassions like the middle school teacher and his pregnant wife who burst into a treatment room, interrupting a massage in progress and started rubbing her husbands head and making references to how ‘stimulating’ it was for him to have both her and another person rubbing his body at the same time! And this at a four star, four diamond resort on the late shift at night with security on another floor and out of ear shot if I needed to scream for help. I decided they were swingers and stopped the session and asked her to leave. she did. But, he still took it upon himself to expose himself at the end of the session. So yes, I know crap and I know bad behavior in relation to my job.

  2. Linda #
    April 11, 2012

    But! But! But! Where are the whiskey-tasting notes?!? πŸ™‚

    And whatever you had, the Stranny’s Snowflake is gonna blow it out of the water!

    • April 11, 2012

      I’m drooling for the Stranny’s! Soon, my precious! Soon you will be mine!!!!

  3. April 11, 2012

    From one ‘unschooling’ mom to another – fabulous, inspiring post!

    • April 11, 2012

      unschooling in the house! What what!!! Thank you πŸ™‚

  4. April 11, 2012

    First of all, you have an amazing brother who takes really nice care of you. Is he for hire?
    Secondly, as a mom/unschooler/small business owner, I totally get where you’re coming from. I spend a lot of days feeling overwhelmed. I realized recently that the hardest days are the ones where I focus on how overwhelmed I feel. It’s all about perspective. Calling it a “job” makes it drudgery, and changes how you feel about your day to day. Loved your take on this.

    • April 12, 2012

      why, thank you miss Carmen! From one mom/unschooler to another πŸ˜‰ mad love!

  5. Becky #
    April 11, 2012

    Loved this. Even though I can’t claim full sahm status, I just had a day where I couldn’t motivate myself to do a damn thing with the kids except keep them alive. You’ve just motivated me to get out tomorrow. We might not have the ocean but I’ll find something.

  6. kate #
    April 11, 2012

    Yeah, I’m a sahm and have finally figured out how not to let the “but what do you really do all day” BS get to me. Actually, I haven’t figured that out, but I do tend to distance and eventually drop the former colleagues, college friends, etc who’ve made a habit of asking (ask once, I’ll tell you, ask over and over and I get what you’re trying to tell me). I’ve taken to answering with “probably pretty much what you pay your daycare provider to do” (if it’s a whole shitload of nothing you think I do all day, why not leave your precious little mites home alone with a t-bone tied around their necks and the TV on?). Don’t get me wrong, working mom/sahm, it’s all good. But I don’t crap on anyone else’s parade, so don’t crap on mine.

    I don’t think of it as work, and you nailed it, it’s hard work, but damn the upsides are spectacular.

    • April 12, 2012

      I love this. I’m totally going to use that line. “I don’t crap on your parade, so don’t crap on mine!” LOL. perfect.

  7. April 11, 2012

    I think you are so fabulous and kick ass. *MUAH*

    • April 12, 2012

      *muah*! and right back at you πŸ˜‰

  8. April 12, 2012

    I’ve been home with kids for over 9 years now, after about 15 high-flying corporate years. I used to feel really guilty about the perks, but after a month a few years back where I had at least two day-of doctors visits every week – a fact that I only realized when I filled out the health care reimbursement forms afterwards – I had a major change of heart.

    My old jobs always had perks – fancy hotel rooms, delicious meals, corporate retreats, the occasional boon-doggle, so why, pray tell, should doing the most grueling and oft-times thankless work of my life come with a 100% pay cut and “0” perks. That’s wackadoo thinking. For every day I get out on an adventure, there are a handful of emergencies I’ve had to tend to – most of which involve malodorous bodily fluids and/or very late nights without comp time. Since then I’ve taken my perks 100% guilt-free.

  9. April 17, 2012

    Great post! I love Unschooling and this is only my first “official” year! For some reason I never get asked too much what I do all day. I must just exude some vibe that prevents it πŸ˜‰ I did get asked for the first time this winter if I did anything else, or what do you do, or something like that – while holding my 2 year old and my 5 year old in the background. The question irritated me more than I wanted it to!

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