Definition of ‘Mum’.
One person who does the work of twenty. For free.
“I’m just a mum.”
I used to say this when people asked the dreaded question “what do you do (for work)?”. I began to wonder why I was so ashamed to tell them I was a mum privileged enough to stay home with my son.
Why did I think being a stay-at-home mum who didn’t work full time was something to be embarrassed of?
I kept a journal for a month and recorded everything I did as just a mum to prove to myself the word “just” had no place in my vocabulary. And it doesn’t deserve a place in yours either.
It seemed for being just a mum, I do some pretty kick-ass shit;
I am a mum. I am a wife. I work. I help run a household.
I make healthy breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners and do the dishes for each meal. I make sure everyone is drinking enough water.
I put on washing, hang it up, bring it in, fold it and put it away. I vacuum, sweep and mop. I change the bed sheets and bath towels. I dust furniture and clean the bathroom and toilet. I change the empty toilet paper roll, I’m the only one who ever bloody does! I clean the stove top, I’m the only one who ever bloody does!
I kiss boo boos and calm fears. I get up to the cries in the night. I clean vomit, poo, boogers and blood. I check temperatures and give medicines. I calm tantrums when there’s feelings of overwhelm. I encourage when there’s doubt. I intervene when there’s danger. I support when there’s risk.
I pick up toys and play in the sand pit. I do kindergym sessions. I do swimming lessons. I do monster truck mud pits. I do playgrounds and bike rides. I play cars and read books. I do crayons and fingerpainting. I do puzzles and pretend play. I praise good manners, good hygeine, good language, inclusive and individual play.
I make sure there’s always hats and sunscreen when outdoors. I pack the opposite clothes needed for the predicted weather ‘because you never know’.. I also pack weather appropriate clothes. I pack extra jocks and socks to be safe. I never forget blankie on long car trips or nap time cross-over. I always have a spare toy.
I enforce nap time, bed time, bath time, teeth brushing and potty time. I ensure vegetables are eaten before the bad stuff. I ensure fruit is eaten before the bad stuff. I don’t always allow the bad stuff but when I do it’s so terribly bad but tastes so good. I take away toys when they’re being used to hurt. Appropriate punishment is given for hits, bites and kicks but it’s always given with love and followed up with love – a hug means more than harsh words.
I put 25 bajillion pillows on the bed so hubby has a nice bed to climb into after a shit day at work (even though he doesn’t understand why we “need” 25 bajillion pillows and we take them off before getting into bed anyway). I cuddle and kiss. I ask “how was your day” even though I already know the answer. I leave the fan on because he loves it, even though I hate it. I snuggle when I can’t be bothered as well as when I can. I always sip his coffee before I give it to him to make sure it tastes nice.
I work. I write articles, take photos, film and edit video. I book thousands of dollars in advertising. I manage advertising campaigns. I manage clients. I manage a team. I create sales proposals. I manage deadlines. I source new business leads. I manage emails, websites and social media accounts.
I am almost always smiling on the outside when I am not on the inside as I do all these things and putting myself last, being just a mum.
I am almost always running on four hours broken sleep when doing all these things and putting myself last, being just a mum.
I am almost always hungry or busting for the toilet when I’m doing all these things and putting myself last, being just a mum.
How do I do it all?
Some days everyone is fed but the house is a mess and there’s still washing in the machine from yesterday, as is the case while I sit here and write this.
Some days the house is clean but there is no food in it because I spent the day doing housework and having fun with J man and ran out of time to grocery shop.
I rely heavily on my husband to be a team player and help keep the ship tight. I’m lucky enough that he helps with the housework and cooking.
Some days J man and I are happy but my husband is not.
Some days J man and hubby are happy but I am not, it’s like the whole world crashes on top of me and as a result I do nothing at all because one simply has no more fucks to give. I call in my village to help while I retreat and recover, thankfully this doesn’t happen too often.
It is iniquitous for a mothers role to be reduced to an overqualified babysitter. What role could possibly be more important or deserve more respect than raising little humans, teaching them what is right and wrong in the world so they may grow up to be amazing?
It is not embarrassing to be a stay at home mum.
We are not just mums.
We’re fucking awesome.