I should be sleeping, but instead my mind is buzzing with thoughts that I want to post, so here I am... remind me tomorrow morning why this seemed like a good idea!!!
About 10 days ago, I had an interesting conversation with a 6-year-old in Trev's Kindergarten class. I go each week and each child comes out in the hallway to read to me. When J came out, he sat down, looked me right in the eye and said, "Trevor says you don't work. What's that about?". What I can't convey online is the tone he used. There was contempt and shock and rudeness just emenating from this kid. I think the very idea of a mother not having a job outside the home SHOCKED him.
I was similarly shocked to have this question asked of me, by this person, in this tone. Don't get me wrong, I've been asked this question before, by adults (some rude some not), but not by a 6-year-old. I looked at him and said something about Trev having a younger brother and baby sister, and that my job was to take care of them. And we moved on. (or so I thought!!)
But now, this conversation has come back to me. In part this is due to a conversation friends of mine were having today about resumes and what to put on them now we've been "out of the workforce" for 3-5 years raising our kids. Along the same lines, a blog that I read had an interesting post today about the term "housewife" and what that job encompasses. And because of a book I've been reading, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr Laura Schlessinger. (Which I have to say, was not a book I EVER thought I would read, as I didn't think I was a big fan of her's, but I will admit to being wrong on occasion!).
Many times I will refer to myself as a "stay at home mom (SAHM)". But after reading the previously mentioned blog post, I'm not sure that title does myself justice. People who hear that seem to stop listening as soon as they hear "stay at home". Those that don't do the job might envision watching soap operas, eating bonbons, or sleeping in! Not things that I get to do very often!!!
My previously mentioned friends suggested terms such as "domestic engineer" which I've heard before and contemplated using. But I wonder if people really respect that term, or just think it's a bunch of "housewives" over-dramatacizing their daily responsibilities. It's a term that feels a little too politically-correct to me and like many PC terms, doesn't get the respect that it deserves.
So I might have to go with the idea of being co-owner of our "family" business. The actual FAMILY being the business. This is pretty much the idea from the aforementioned blog and it rang very true for me today. My job is to keep this family running in an efficient, effective manner. Which includes (but is not limited to): keeping the employees (all 5 of us, including my hubby) happy; helping the employees enjoy their jobs (for the kids that's both school and PLAY-an important job for kids); keeping the office sanitary, functional, updated, and useable; helping keep the business in the black, rather than the red (i.e. making sound financial decisions-with the other 'owner' of the company-hubby!); and on and on it goes.
Of course, there is that fact that my 'job' doesn't go from 9-5 from Monday to Friday. I don't often get to get away from my job and go home. I usually work my job from 6:30am-11pm, with my employees awake and demanding immediate supervison (and entertainment!) for almost all of those hours. And I am on call ALL the other hours of the day, pretty much every day of the week. On the up side, my co-owner is more than willing to give me time off when schedules allow it, so it's not as if I never get any time off!
Then of course there is the pay rate for this job. Many people will be quick to point out that SAHM's don't make any money. While that may be true, I can only imagine the amount of money that I HAVEN'T spent on daycare for 3 children for the last 5 years! (I'm gonna have to calculate that amount tomorrow!). But as co-owner of my "family business" there are the non-monetary ways in which I am paid. I can say that my son knows how to read (talk, walk, paint, etc.) because I helped him learn how. I can say that being there to witness every first for all 3 of my children is more valueable than any material item I could buy. And I should point out again that I am lucky to have a co-owner and not be running this business on my own! I'm glad to have found him!! There are invaluable ways that I have been paid doing this job.
And I think it's fair to say, that in a "real job" (lots of sarcasm there....) you get frustrated with company policies, with fellow employees, with job duties, etc. etc. I can say that with confidence since I had a "real job" for a number of years before "leaving my job to live this life of luxury as a SAHM" (more sarcasm!!). So yes, there are times when I get frustrated with parts of my job as "co-owner of the family business" and I am not so polite to the other members of the business, or that I don't enjoy my job duties (doing the dishes is my least favorite).
OH, in case you were wondering hat product does my "family business" produce?? We are proud to produce productive members of society. And it's my job to try and help all 5 of us be just that!