Back in September, I watched Miss Colorado’s monologue on being “just a nurse.” I knew why she was saying “just a nurse,” but I also cringed when I heard her say it. There is no such thing as “just a nurse.” Nurses are important and simply amazing human beings to do what they do. I immediately thought of moms and how, when asked what they do, many respond that they are “just a mom.”
When I became a stay-at-home mom, there was a certain amount of guilt that I brought along with me. I very rarely, as in extremely rarely, allow myself to just sit and relax. There is always something to do. I feel odd about the fact that I am not bringing in any money. I have always pulled in a decent salary and felt a sense of accomplishment that I was able to support myself, and that I was contributing to the family. Now I am “just a mom.” Except I refuse to answer the question that way. I’ve decided to look at my new journey as a new career.
My new career is to raise my daughter—and it is no small feat.
In my eyes, my job is to take care of my daughter. I am her teacher, her caregiver, her rock, and all things in between. It is my job to make sure she is fed, clean, well-rested, and learning new skills (everything from how to talk, walk, and distinguish colors and shapes, to being polite and well mannered). The scope is massive. I used to teach high school chemistry; now I teach everything.
Since I am home, and my husband works to provide for our family, I also see it as my job to take care of our home. My husband disagrees and thinks this is a mutual job on both of our parts, which I respect him and love him so much for. He believes that my sole job is to take care of our daughter and that we can both pitch in with the cooking and cleaning. This makes me the luckiest wife on the planet! While I agree that my biggest priority is raising our daughter, I wouldn’t feel right if I expected him to come home from work and cook and clean.
So, in my mind, my job is to do everything that needs to be done. Number one, I focus on our daughter. But then I try to squeeze in doing the grocery shopping, taking care of the laundry, cooking our meals, cleaning the house, taking care of the yard, picking up odds and ends at the store that we need, scheduling appointments, paying the bills, fixing the car seat recall, getting the oil changed in my car, etc. You name it, I try and take care of it.
I also still have this sense of guilt for not bringing in any money, however. And, since I am the one doing the grocery shopping and buying our everyday necessities, I feel like I am the only one spending our money. Because of this, I decided to find ways online to earn a little income. I don’t earn much, but I make sure to carve out a little time for these opportunities. It is certainly not necessary for all that I do, but it makes me feel a sense of accomplishment and that I have something to myself, so it is worth finding the time to do.
When we decided a couple of years ago that I would transition into being a stay-at-home mom, I knew that I was going to feel a sense of guilt. I knew that, as a proud career woman, I might be so inclined as to answer the question of what I do, with a response such as “I’m just a mom.” The reality is that there is no such thing as “just a mom,” and I have the privilege of being a mom. I have the privilege of embarking on an amazing new journey. So, my new career is to be a stay-at-home mom. My new career is to be anything and everything that my daughter and my family need me to be. My new career is nothing for the weak at heart. It is a highly demanding job that only the best of the best can do and do well. My new career is to be as strong as humanly possible in all scenarios that are thrown at me- to be as strong as a mother.
No one could have mentally prepared me for what it means to be as strong as a mother. Mothers have a strength that is indescribable. Mothers don’t look at themselves as strong, though. I’m guilty of it for sure. I just know that I am doing what needs to be done, and that I am doing it to the best of my ability. It’s when I look at other mamas that I see the strength that it takes. When I see my sister (who has 3 children), I see strength. She has more children than she has hands, yet she is always able to lend a helping hand to each of her babies. I see strength when I look at my daughter. At 10 months old she is already so strong and so brave. So my challenge is to recognize that she gets that strength from someone. My challenge is to recognize that the strength I see in other moms, is in me too. I am strong.
I am as strong as a mother, because I am a mother—and I am the best mother I know how to be.
Katrina Villegas is a former process engineer and high school chemistry teacher. She is now taking some time off and enjoying being a new mama. In her new career as a stay at home mom, she is enjoying every new experience and loving every minute of it. Because she is scientist and engineer, it should come as no surprise she did her fair share of research before her baby arrived. She fell upon the Babywise and Baby Whisperer theories and knew immediately that it was a good fit for her family. So, she is organizing her chaos one baby step at a time and blogging about every success (along with all of the trials and errors) along the way. She is a mama that uses schedules and sleep training, but also cloth diapers, makes her own baby food and breastfeeds. Head to Mama’s Organized Chaos to see everything from her baby’s schedules to her fertility journey and more!
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