15

Who I am vs. who I’m “supposed” to be.

So. It finally happened.

I was on the phone, today, with a deceptively-kind-sounding salesman, when he said something that revealed the wolf beneath his sheep’s clothing.  He asked me what I ‘do,’ and I replied that I’m a stay-at-home-mom. This guy replies, “Ah, one of those ‘domestic engineers,’ eh? I laughed for about 15 minutes the first time I heard that one!”

Wait.

15 minutes? It’s not that funny. And not all that far from the truth.

Perhaps I was already on edge after reading an article that an acquaintance posted on the lovely Facebook (if you must read it, you can find it here). The gist of said article is that women who choose not to chase after a career for fulfillment are inferior to women who do.

Say what?! Oh no, she didn’t! (But yeah, she really, really did.)

So here’s this poor guy who’s just said exactly the wrong thing to me at exactly the wrong time. Only, I’ve never been faced with this situation before and never even considered how I would handle it because it wasn’t until reading this stupid article that I realized people actually still feel this way.

What a slap in the face. First, some lady writes some obnoxious article arguing that the role I chose to take on in my family contributes nothing to society, and then this guy, this stranger whom I have never spoken with before, laughs at the term ‘domestic engineer,’ as if to say, “Why on earth would you compare something that doesn’t require a college degree to something that someone without a college degree couldn’t possibly have the aptitude to understand?”

Wait, wait, wait… Let me give you some background information.

I got my discharge papers in the mail yesterday. My attempt to go back to school courtesy of the United States Army collapsed around me in the wake of a surprise pregnancy.  And BAM: the unspoken-of, not-so-happy ending to that story arrives yesterday via certified mail.  I am no longer a member of the military. My bonus? Gone. My GI Bill? Nope. That 97 I scored on the ASVAB? Doesn’t. Mean. Shit.

So the message that I’m some sort of failure isn’t just coming from all around me.

If I’m 100% honest, it’s coming from within me, too.

I am so disappointed in myself.  I am such an intelligent woman… I have test scores out the wazoo to prove it. So why the hell can’t I finish anything I start? Why can’t I be that person who powers through college and walks away with a diploma to show for it?

The truth is, it just doesn’t matter enough to me… And the reward isn’t worth the risk. What I’m afraid of (and I think many men and women of my generation can relate) is taking out loans, investing four to six years of my time, doing everything everyone has told me I “need” to do to get ahead – and coming out with a job that pays just over minimum wage. Or, worse, not being able to find a job at all.

There are five or six things I think I would enjoy doing, but the only thing I have ever known I needed to do, the only thing I’ve ever felt called to do, was to be a mother.  I know I’m capable of graduating college.  I just can’t bring myself to give so much to something that matters so little to me. I’ve never been a career-minded person. I’ve always felt most alive with family.

I don’t know that I need to justify this to anyone else. After feeling angry over the whole deal for a couple of hours, I decided Ms. Amy Glass and Mr. Salesman-guy can suck it.

Sadly, I do feel like I need to justify it to myself.

So:

Dear Lindsay,

You are doing something so very worthwhile.  If you need a reminder, just look at the man who’s closest to you – look at the hurt he’s suffered at the hands of a woman who should have made sure he only ever knew what it felt like to be loved.  This world needs more mommies.  Its children need hugs when they’re afraid. They need someone to take their picture, so they know they’re worth remembering. Someone who will stop anything she is doing at any time to make whatever is wrong, right. They need someone to accept them just as they are, wherever they may be. They need to know that, yes, they can make mistakes, and yes, they are still worth loving. Someone in their lives has to take the time to create opportunities for memory-making. Someone has to perfect the art of making a house a home. Someone has to be patient enough to recognize that even though all of the little things she’s doing can sometimes feel like ‘nothing,’ together they add up to something really, really important…

…Love.

I know that sometimes you feel like no one sees the things that you do. No one recognizes the value in the person who washes the dishes and does the laundry and makes the beds and cooks the meals. No one sees the sacrifices you make for your mission, your goal.

But God does.

Please know that everything He’s brought you through up until this point has prepared you for this, and you will not fail. This is what you were created to do. Sometimes you wish you were one of ‘those’ people, and that’s okay. Go ahead and let yourself feel that way if you must. But after you’ve felt it, let it go. You are right where you need to be.

Maybe the people you’ve loved will, one day, recognize just how much of yourself you’ve given. But probably, they will never fully understand.  And that’s okay, too. What you are doing has a forever impact. An eternal impact. For now, make peace with not always being able to see the big picture. And quit trying to change your ‘stripes.’ You are more than enough.

Hugs and kisses,

Me

4

Mombie Attack

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I apologize – I know these images may be disturbing to some viewers.  Sadly, I must take the initiative in raising awareness of a nationwide epidemic. The Mombie Virus is running rampant, infecting new mothers across the United States every day. Risk factors include (but are not limited to) mothering a child under 6 months old, being a stay-at-home mom, being a single mom, moms who have chosen to breastfeed, moms whose babies are particularly fussy/high-needs, and moms caring for a newborn as well as a toddler.  If you are a mother who has recently given birth to twins or triplets, you are at even higher risk – please skip to the end of this article and follow the treatment described there as a precautionary measure.

Husbands/new dads, the following are signs/symptoms that your counterpart may be infected with the Mombie Virus:

  • Walking more than 2 feet across your bedroom requires at least one good light source.
  • Upon asking your wife when the last time was that she left the house, she spends more than ten seconds searching for her answer.
  • She’s spent more than one week cycling through the same two pairs of pants (particularly if they are pajama pants).
  • You’ve run out of clean drinking glasses before she’s gotten around to running the dishwasher.
  • You’ve asked your cleaning service to skip a cleaning to give you more time to get your house clean enough for them to clean.
  • She spends the majority of her day topless, as her baby requires constant feeding (this is especially concerning if she has subsequently forgotten what wearing a shirt feels like, and has ventured outside half-naked).
  • She hasn’t had 4 or more consecutive hours of sleep in longer than 6 weeks.
  • She complains of ‘phantom crying,’ believing she’s heard her baby cry when she’s separated from him/her, only to discover the  baby sleeping peacefully once she’s rushed to its aide.
  • She seems consumed or obsessed with the idea of being the perfect mom, and has neglected her own needs in manic pursuit of this elusive status.

If your wife exhibits 5 or more of these symptoms, please execute the following steps immediately – Start by having her spend no less than 45 minutes in a warm bubble bath. Then, send her out the door with your credit card and a map of the closest nail salon and massage parlor.  If she exhibits all nine symptoms, add the closest DSW to the map.  If you’ve followed these directions explicitly, you should see improvement within 24 hours.

**Note: This treatment is only effective if you remove the baby from her care before sending her on her way.