I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my job description because I loathe the question “What do you do?” and because I’m too chicken shit to call myself a writer when push comes to shove (and because I’m not “just a mom”). As a mother of twins and a newborn, I certainly don’t eat bonbons and sit on my bum. I feel resentful when my husband (a surgeon who gets a paycheck) comes home and asks what I’ve done during the day; however, I’ve admitted to being overly sensitive about the implications of this question and we’ve discussed it. So I thought I’d write it out and maybe seeing it all can help somehow.
You know what this exercise made me realize? Being a mom is 24/7. Moms are on call all the time. There is no end to our workday. One day rolls into the next, until they all swim together in endless waves. We are “on” all day and all night as well, whether kids are sick, up with bad dreams, or if we’re starting a load of laundry with barfed or peed upon sheets (not to mention the times I’ve been up with a barfing dog or cleaning up doggie diarrhea). And moms don’t get sick days, either.
So in addition to being a somewhat closeted writer (but that is changing, Blissdom is fast approaching, and I’m signed up for Allison Nazarian’s Write Your Own Mess series), trying to make and find time to write, and sneaking away to a writing/blogging conference…in addition to finding time to foster and nurture our marriage…and what about some time with friends? Pshaw. If I died tomorrow, these are the things that would have to get done. Somehow. This household cannot run itself. This is what I do, the bottom line. This is a list of what D would need to hire someone(s) to deal with if something ever happened to me:
- coordinating educational/social/extracurricular/play activities: scheduling sitters as needed when both parents are obligated to be away at meetings, work, fundraisers, whatever.
- facilitating communication: contact and support with & by extended family (grandparents, uncles, cousins, etc.).
- teaching at home on every level (formal teaching, homework tracking, etc. as well as behavioral & self-care). Also communicating with teachers, going to parent-teacher conferences, volunteering to help out with field trips, school parties, fundraisers, etc.
- transportation: taking children anywhere and everywhere they may need to go.
- overseeing health and nutritional needs: including, but not limited to: meal planning, grocery shopping, meal prep, packing school lunches, cooking & clean up; taking children to the doctor when necessary and getting prescriptions filled, dispensing said medications.
- Judaic heritage/tradition/practice: including, but not limited to, serving as president of our congregation, modeling and teaching Jewish life. Attending services on Shabbat, taking children to Sunday School and temple functions, teaching them the prayers and reading lots of PJ Library books together (in addition to plenty of other books, obviously!)
- pet care: feeding dog, scooping his poop, bathing him, taking him to groomer when his poodle ‘do becomes unruly. Managing his daily medications and taking him in for regular check ups, vaccinations, and/or whenever he is ill.
- bill payment: balance checkbook, schedule online payments, mail checks.
- managing the home: scheduling repairs and upkeep. Yard work, snow removal, leaf removal, pulling weeds, sprinkler system management. Putting out trash and recycling.
- cleaning: keeping a reasonably clean, organized and functional home; coordinating housekeeping support (1x/week for 1/2 day)
- laundry: for five family members daily. ‘Nuff said. Washing, drying, folding, putting away. Dry cleaning.
- children: nurturing three children from birth through babyhood, 24/7 bathing, diapering, feeding, teaching, playing, transporting, addressing all medical issues (pediatrician, dentist, eye doctor). Selecting and purchasing appropriate clothing, food and supplies, often with kids in tow!
Am I done? What am I forgetting?
P.S. I’m irreplaceable.