All us mothers get asked various questions about life as a parent. When we’re a new mother it is those concerned about our well-being who ask us how we’re handling this new change, if we’ve been able to adjust well to this new life. But as time goes by, and we’re settled in this new role of motherhood, the questions start to change a bit. They wonder now that the baby is out, we must have a lot of free time on our hands and they really want to know what we do with it. Uh, Hello! Curious much? Out of all the questions a mother gets asked, one stands out clearly apart. “Are you a working mother or a non-working one?”. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been asked this. The only sensible and immediate response that comes to my mind is to laugh out loud and ask rhetorically – “Isn’t that an oxymoron – ‘a non-working mother’?” But I stop myself. Because then I’ll have to explain what an oxymoron is, I’ll have to clarify that it doesn’t mean that they’re a moron for asking such a question and what I’m referring to is a figure of speech. Sigh. So I decide, a smile and a matter-of-fact reply would have to do, for now.
This lack of introspection and proper information is the reason why someone unwittingly comes and asks a mother a question like “Do you work?”. I finally have an answer I’m not afraid to say out loud, on behalf of all the mothers, if I may. – Yes! I work. Day in and day out. Everyday. 24×7. 365 days of a normal year and 366 days of a leap year. Without leaves. Without the luxury of even taking a sick day. My day job could be at home or at an office. It shouldn’t matter.
It shouldn’t matter if my day job is at home. I single handedly and dedicatedly look after my child with my own two hands all day. I see to it that I personally do everything needed for my child to grow happily. My choice. It’s what makes me happy. I do the best I can to ensure that I’m there for my family, at their beck and call whenever they need me. I may have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, but let me assure you, I don’t just stay at home. I’m always running. It’s not a stress-free life for me to be the driver, the cleaner, the teacher, the errand boy, the peon, the cook, the doctor, the day-planner, the housekeeper, the babysitter, the one who can’t be but still needs to be omnipresent. That’s the life of a home maker. I may have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom because I don’t have a support system that would allow me to go out and work at this point. Or I may have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom simply because that’s how I always wanted my life to be – to manage my home and family, from home. Maybe I believe I’m really good at this job and it adds value to the lives of my loved ones and that gives me inexplicable happiness. Whatever my reasons are and whatever work I choose to do, it shouldn’t matter. I work, but at home, doing homely things. It is still work. So, when someone asks me what I do to spend my time at home because it must be so boring with so much of nothing to do, they’re just showing their naïve assumption that as a stay-at-home mom I must be sitting at home and watching TV all day or visiting the parlour when I feel like. Seriously? Have you seen my unplucked upper lip and eyebrows lately? Or noticed why I wear full sleeves and jeans instead of my favourite t-shirt and shorts? Or wondered how my hair is so unkempt sometimes? Ask me where’s the time for self-care and I’ll tell you that sometimes it’s hard to find time to even go take a bath without being interrupted! The doorbell is my worst enemy in this regard. It’s hilarious, but it’s true! Ask any mother that. She’ll tell you. I’m not a slob, I clean up pretty nice when I have to. But on most days, I’m my last priority.
We’re moms. Our jobs don’t even end at night. Even in bed, we’re making to-do lists. And after a day full of work, we’re wondering where the day flew by. We can’t put a finger to any particular measurable thing that we’ve accomplished. We don’t have it easy. But we like it. We’re actually happy with ourselves. But when someone comes along and asks us what it is that we did all day, it gets us tongue tied. We don’t know what exactly to say. Should we list out our entire day’s activities to show you what work we do? It’s like we do so much but we can’t quantify it. The results are as good as invisible. It’s hard for me to tell you how I spent my long tiring day. If I’m not busy doing something, I’m busy planning to do something. 24 hours seem less time in a day. It’s as if everything had to be done yesterday. Today, we’re behind schedule, always. It’s a thankless job really, but gratifying at the same time because our KRA’s are the happy faces of our loved ones. We’re not told often, or even ever, how much we’re valued, but we know in our hearts.
If you really want to know what a typical day for a stay-at-home mom looks like, step into her shoes for a month. I say a month and not just one day because anyone could do anything for just one day. It takes conviction to do it longer. Of course, she won’t let you, because she wouldn’t trade places with anyone for anything in this world. She likes her job and her invisible cape way too much.
© 2020 Aanchal Nithin Prakashan All Rights Reserved.
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I wrote this article for First Moms Club. This article was published on March 07, 2019 on their official website – https://firstmomsclub.in.
First Moms Club is India’s leading community of over 1 lakh urban Indian mothers across 60 countries. FMC aims to encourage the women behind the mothers to find emotional, entrepreneurial and social identity.
Link to this article on the First Moms Club website – https://firstmomsclub.in/no-such-thing-as-a-non-working-mom/