What do YOU do?

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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.

Photo Credit

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  • http://terrisonoda.net/ Terri Sonoda

    Absolutely a 24/7 job and anyone who has been a Mom would concur.   Awesome post, Erin!

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you, Terri! ;-) xoxo

  • http://tiaras-and-trucks.blogspot.com Angela

    This is soooo true.  And so honest!  There is so much that goes on behind the scenes.

    Also, uncloset yourself :)  I just love reading your writing and can’t wait to meet you at Blissdom next month!

    • Erin Margolin


      Thank you, sweetie! I can’t wait to see you IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!!!

  • http://twitter.com/MadWomanDiary Mad Woman

    AMEN! And yes, come out of the closet you writer, you. Because, girl, you are one, an AMAZING one. 

    Domestic professional has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you, Mad Woman!
      I did it again—came out of the closet in today’s post. B/c damn it, I’m mad!

      And yes to domestic professional. Or CEO of the household. Or CHO?

  • http://janasthinkingplace.com/ Jana A (@jana0926)

    LOVE THIS POST! Yes, I love it so much it needs all caps! I wish I was going to Blissdom :(

    • Erin Margolin


      I wish you were coming to Blissdom, too. Sad face. I’m grateful you came over to read and that you liked this post!! ;-)

  • Mommynanibooboo

    The last one for me hardly leaves time for anything else on your list.
    I’m tired.

    • Erin Margolin


      I SO get it. How are you feeling/doing? Meatball? Are you sleeping anymore? How’s the reflux?

  • http://www.frumesarah.com/ Frume Sarah

    It is a relief to know that I am not crazy for feeling a similar resentment when my husband says, ‘So what did you do all day?’

    I have often reminded the aforementioned husband that he’ll be screwed if anything, God-forbid, ever happens to me.

    • Erin Margolin

      Frume Sarah,

      I think perhaps I should begin reminding my husband of the same….! What is his reaction when you do?

  • KG

    You’re the President of your congregation???? I’m impressed!

    • Erin Margolin


      Yes, I am, but I fear it’s taking up a lot of time….time that could be spent blogging/writing. And I’m not convinced I’m the best person for the job, either!

  • bywordofmouth

    yes, one day Ian said mid argument  …’all you have to do is take care of this house and homeschool the children …’
    and he lived …

    • Erin Margolin

      You let him live after that comment??? OMG. You are one really nice woman!

  • Laura

    You are forgetting the “constant ‘Mommy mommy mommy’” line item… While anything that may come out of their mouths following “Mommy” may fall under one of those other categories, I don’t think everyone appreciates the 24/7 aspect of constant chatter requiring your attention and the toll that can take.  Not to mention the delicate balance of where your attention goes when your husband is actually home. I swear, the hardest part of my day is minutes before dinner, while I am trying to get it on the table, and the two loves of my life (husband and daughter) are competitively whining for my attention–nevermind that I’m overwhelmed and haven’t had a chance to have a silent thought to myself all day.

    I only have one 3-year-old and a full-time nanny while I work full-time from home. While I may have a response to “What do you do?” it doesn’t stop the guilt or the resentment… I feel like I should be doing all of those other things on your list, but am not, or realize that one day as she gets older I will have to be, and have ZERO idea how I’m going to squeeze that in. In short, I can relate even though our situations are very different. And I know I would be totally resentful if I were in your shoes. I think I am already… Maybe I need a list too.

    • Erin Margolin


      You DEFINITELY need a list and I like your addition of the “Mommy Mommy Mommy” line!

  • http://www.misselaineouslife.com Elaine A.

    Under “children” you need to add “ass wiping”.  WHY am I still doing this, even if they are potty-trained?!?!? ;)

    p.s WE ARE irreplaceable!!!! 


    • Erin Margolin

      omg—I still  have to wipe asses too. not all the time, but occasionally there’s a messy one and i have to help…. EWWWWWW! hahahah

  • http://twitter.com/crackedmum crackedmum

    And that’s why I can’t stay at home, my sanity would be seriously jeopardized. More power to every mom who can handle the workload of staying home with their kids!

    • Erin Margolin


      I think we all think the grass is greener on the other side. I don’t think I could work outside the home and juggle the kids—so more power to YOU! and thank you for reading and commenting!

  • http://oldtweener.com Sherri

    Totally irreplaceable…

    • Erin Margolin


      Yep. I came up w/ that line/word at the very end. I think it’s completely appropriate.

  • http://twitter.com/AdrienneSFTS Adrienne


    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Thanks!! :-)

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thanks!! :-)

  • http://vinobaby.blogspot.com/ vinobaby (Kerry Ann Morgan)

    I shall forward this list to everyone who repeatedly asks why my book isn’t finished yet, since I’m ‘just a SAHM’ with all the spare time in the world. Great post.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin


      I shall forward this to everyone who asks why my book isn’t even STARTED yet! LOL! Thanks so much for stopping by to read!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I shall forward this to everyone who asks why my book isn’t even STARTED yet! LOL! Thanks so much for stopping by to read!

  • http://www.lifesdewlaps.blogspot.com/ Jen {Life’s Dewlaps}

    You are definitely irreplaceable! My head starting spinning when I read your list. Yup, us moms do it all, and then some.

    • Erin Margolin


      Yes, there’s definitely lots I left off this list! But didn’t want to lose everyone. THe post would get waaaaay too long! lol

  • katery

    it’s true, moms never get “off” work, it’s a 24/7 job for real and we are irreplaceable.

    • Erin Margolin

       Yep. Just wish more people realized, you know? Maybe the ones who DON’T realize are the ones who haven’t actually DONE it.

  • http://www.postdivorcechronicles.com LeeBlock

    I LOVE this post.  Because this just goes to show that we are can not be replaced and what we do is friggin hard work, takes organizational skills and you just wrote my resume for me, thanks!

    • Erin Margolin


      Now can you write MY resume? LOL

  • http://twonormalmoms.blogspot.com/ Ally

    When someone asks you what you do all day, be it your husband or someone else, hold your head up high and say “I worked all day. Do you want a list of individual tasks?” Seriously irreplaceable.

    • Erin Margolin


      You’re right. I’ve just got this problem w/ holding my head up high. Or holding it up at all. LOL.

  • http://twitter.com/juliecgardner Julie Gardner

    Is it pathetic that I actually write a list out of every little thing I do during the day and draw lines through each one? And then I leave the list lying around…

    I think it may be more for me than anyone else because I’m not sure Bill even glances at it.

    But it reminds me of all I’ve accomplished. And if he happens to catch the eleventy-million items on the list, all the better…

    • Erin Margolin


      ooooh, I LOVE that idea—to leave it LYING around. And love what you taught me with that post from last week! you are so cute.

  • http://www.thewatson6.blogspot.com jessica

    I cringed the other day when I was behind a woman at the doctors who said “I’m just a mom” when they asked her what her occupation is. This list is much longer and more demanding than most job descriptions. And also? You never get to go home or be sick. Ever.

    • Erin Margolin


      Exactly! We don’t get sick days! This list is much longer, but I was getting tired…HAHAHAHA. Maybe you could write Part II?

  • Kimberly All Work And No Play

    Hell to the yes.
    We’d be millionaires if we got paid for all that we do…and all the holidays and weekends and OT?

    • Erin Margolin


      What do you think our salaries should be? For realz….

  • http://www.babesrockinmami.com/ stephanie

    I think I need to save this for my resume if I ever venture out into paycheck land again.

    • Erin Margolin


      Hmmmm. wonder what a potential employer in paycheck land would think of this “resume” and whether or not the tasks on it count for anything….Ha!

  • http://www.btdas.blogspot.com/ Anita

    Quite an impressive resume. I recognize many of those skills. :)
    My husband has never asked what I’ve done during the day. I used to wish that he would so that I could TELL him!
    Until the last few years, I’d volunteer a few accomplished duties during my day, and he seemed totally uninterested; which was not the affect I was looking for.
    Now, I get it. I’m blessed with someone who realizes that he’s blessed with me; and that the details of why everything is held together is not that important.
    Sooo… I blog, ride horses, play tennis, and run on occasion without any guilt.
    Ps. My three daughter are in school!!!
    You’ll get there. :)

    • Erin Margolin

      Thanks, Anita!
      2 of my three are in kindergarten….but still very needy at this age. I think in another year or two lots will be different. I love that you do everything you do without guilt!

  • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

    I feel like you have left a LOT off of that list!  I think being a ‘stay at home mom’ is the hardest job in the world – with the least recognition and appreciation!  - and usually the lowest rate of pay – like you said – it is a 24/7 job!  

    Wouldn’t it be nice if your husband came home and gave you an award or recognition for such a great job?  like pointed out something every month (or week – ha) that you just rocked!  - yes, i’m laughing as I type this… but it would be nice!