There are so many ways in which my professional life and my mommy life intersect. Like many working mothers I feel pulled between my two worlds. “Mommy” is without a question the most important job that I hold. It is the job that fills my heart and gives my life meaning. But there is something about my professional job outside of my house that fills me up as well. For me knowing that I can go somewhere where I am needed, where I provide a skill that I am good at, where my voice and my input are not only listened to (without interruption) but are valued provides me with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I show up where I am supposed to be. I work against a list of targeted goals and objectives. I fight fires throughout the day. I make progress; move forward. At the end of the day I leave knowing exactly where I stand. Knowing exactly what is needed of me the next day. I know my priorities and I set a plan. And then I leave my job and I go home. To a place where goals and objectives are more like moving targets than fixed items in a corporate strategy. You see, the mommy job is a little less structured and predictable. The mommy job is “fluid”, ever-changing. And some days that is the best part of the mommy job; and other days it is the worst part. The mommy job is the hardest job that I will ever have. It is the job that makes me question and push myself in ways I did not imagine. It will push me to the edge of breaking and then in one instant pull me back and warm my heart with a love truer than any other. The mommy job is the best job in the world. It is also the most challenging job. But the rewards for doing a good “job” as a mommy are so fulfilling; watching the little people who call you “mommy” grow and change and learn is worth every single challenging moment on the job.
My professional job teaches me that people go through life building a resume of their accomplishments. And their resume is measured against a job description to determine whether or not they are “up for” the challenges that a job presents. In my professional world the first step to any recruitment is to clearly define the job description. To truly understand the objectives and requirements necessary for success. The criteria to which resumes are measured against. It all begins with the job description. Yet my personal life teaches me that no one presents woman with the job description for being a mommy. And most baby books cover the cutesy stages of development and milestones without spending any time talking about the real stuff. And so we find ourselves in this crazy amazing intense job as a mommy without knowing exactly what we were getting into. And we do our best. And some days we feel like we could write the book on motherhood; moving through the day with ease. And other days we wish someone would hit us across the head with the book and put us out of our misery. But in all reality most days are somewhere right in the middle.
But what if there was a job description? What would it say? Here at the intersection of my two jobs; mommy and recruiter, this is how I see it.
We are currently in search of a Mommy to join our team! The mommy will be the individual responsible for providing exceptional care to all members of the family; at all times of the day (Including of course: the exact moment that warm food is served, seconds after you sit down to do something productive, and at the precise moment you shut your eyes to sleep). The mommy will put herself aside to meet the needs of her family. She will overcome insane odds to deliver the highest quality results at all times; under all circumstances. She will do it with a smile on a face and love in her heart. She will go without sleep, food, and personal space to provide the highest level of care to those she loves the dearest. She will jump at a moment’s notice. She will give more even when she has nothing left to give. She will dig and push and fight and never give up. She will be your biggest alley and your worst nightmare. She will be a mommy; and mommies are invincible.
Essential Duties and Functions:
- The mommy will start each day at a time determined by someone else. This time will be variable; ever changing. This time will always be the earliest the morning after the mommy stays up late. This time will always be the latest on the mornings when the mommy has to get up early. (NOTE: If the mommy dare engage in an evening of alcoholic beverages, this time will inevitably be 4am.)
- The mommy will create, manage and navigate a schedule filled with events that are all of equal importance. The mommy will find a way to “do it all”.
- The mommy will spend ample time every day snuggling away tears and kissing away boo boos. These things will likely occur at the most inconvenient times and places. It is the mommy’s job to make sure the child does not feel like an inconvenience.
- The mommy will think 20 steps ahead; always. The mommy will see things a million different ways and will understand all of the possible outcomes. The mommy will think and rethink and then think some more in order to make the best decisions for her family. Sometimes decisions will not make any impact on life. Sometimes decisions will be life changing.
- The mommy is the fixer of problems. Missing stuffed animals, broken cookies, not enough milk, too many snacks, etc. No matter the problem size or magnitude the mommy will fix it.
- The mommy may break down and ask for help, but only after she has struggled over the decision for days. She will take herself to the point of breaking before realizing that she may not be able to do it all alone.
- The mommy will build a support network of loved ones and friends to help. This is essential to the mommy’s success.
- The mommy will cook meals, clean bedrooms, do laundry, prep lunches, make schedules, read stories, snuggle, and brush teeth daily. (A lucky mommy will have an excellent daddy to make this part a lot easier).
- The mommy will give parts of herself that she did not know existed for her children. She will push herself to her limits. And then she will create new limits and push to those.
- The mommy will sacrifice pieces of herself for her children; and she will not have any regrets about doing so.
- The mommy will say the same things so many times that her brain will begin to slowly shut down. She will also hear the same things so many times that she may experience selective hearing loss. This is normal and damage.
- The mommy will wake in the middle of the night worrying about things that are out of her controls.
- The mommy will replace abs workouts with bending over to clean-up toys.
- The mommy will fill in as needed as a taxi driver and a short order cook. There will be no notice before the mommy is asked to fill these roles.
- The mommy will advocate for their child. She will make sure that all of her child’s needs are met. And that anyone who comes into contact with her child provides exceptional care.
- The mommy will do her best to take care of herself too. She will schedule times for breaks (you know: eating, sleeping, R&R). This items should be scheduled on the family calendar to be sure that no conflicts arise.
- The mommy will not take any time to publically process her emotions and fears. She will do this at home; on her own time.
- The mommy will love bigger and deeper with every breath their child takes.
- All other duties as assigned by the kiddos. Or the hubby. Or pretty much anyone else.
- Insane amount of love in your heart.
- Ability to demonstrate nurturing and kind-hearted approach.
- Superior skills in time management and prioritization.
- Ability to manage multiple tasks at one time.
- Exceptional diaper changing skills.
- Tolerance for: Hitting, Kicking, Screaming, Biting, Arguing, Negotiating, and lots of other really annoying behaviors.
- Must snuggle.
- Demonstrated success putting out fires.
- Sitting: 0-15% of the time (Ha, year right momma. Not this job)
- Standing: Up to 100% of the time
- Climbing: (Does this include being climbed on?) Up to 100% of the time
- Bending: Up to 100% of the time (The toys will not pick themselves up!)
- Pushing Up to 100% of the time (Pushing yourself forward)
- Pulling: Up to 100% of the time (Sometimes pulling out your hair)
- Balancing: Up to 100% of the time (Balancing is an acronym for “parenting”
- Carrying: Up to 100% of the time (kids, laundry, toys, etc.)
- Ability to lift up to 50lbs
Ok, so being a mommy may not come with a role description. But if it did, I think it would sounds something like this. Mothers know how to live at both extremes; and they know to find peace and comfort when they get to spend time in the middle. Being a mommy is about knowing your limits and always being open to redefining them. It means finding the balance between loving your children and loving yourself. It means accepting that sometimes the best thing you can do for your family is to take care of yourself. To take time to recharge your batteries and refuel you soul. To remind yourself that you are good at so many things; not just changing diapers and kissing away skinned knees. The best mommas I know understand that they are not perfect. They give themselves permission to do it wrong; and then they come back a little wiser and a little tougher when they try to do it again.
Being a mom is the best job in the world. But the truth is; it really is not a “job” at all. It is an adventure and a blessing and an unpredictable journey. It will bring the highest highs and the lowest lows into your life. It will become a part of your life that defines you; and changes you. It will take over your life in ways you are not prepared for. And motherhood looks different for many families. There are very traditional and untraditional ways to become a mother. And no matter what your road to motherhood looks like; the destination is always worth the journey. I am blessed in my life to know so many women whose paths to motherhood looked incredibly different from mine. I know women who grew up not knowing if they wanted children, but then very naturally headed down the path. I have women in my life who struggled with fertility; and they pushed forward in the way that made sense for them on their journey. Some followed the path to adoption; others sacrificed years of their lives and their bodies and their marriages to achieve fertility. I know mommy’s who have lost a child; something more tragic and un-natural and heartbreaking than most mothers can imagine. To all of the mom’s in my life, and to the women out there still waiting to begin their journey, just know that each and every day…you are enough. What you are doing is enough. And sure, push harder if you can. Be better and keep learning and changing, because that is a natural and healthy part of life. But also make sure you celebrate you. Celebrate the sacrifices you make. The challenges you overcome. Give yourself permission to look at yourself in awe. For just one day; wear your cape proudly on top of your clothes. This “job” is a gift. And this gift is precious. Hold it dear to your heart. Cherish it and be thankful for it every day.
*This blog is dedicated to my mom, my grammie Shirley and my aunt Brenda. Three women who taught me about motherhood. About overcoming obstacles. And about stopping at nothing to empower your children to be great. To be filled with faith. To be 100% who they are. To live life unapologetically for your children, but a little bit for yourself too.