In the past week, I've had 2 totally different comments in regards to my role as a mother. Specifically, a stay-at-home mother of 4. Both made assumptions about my time availability, ability to handle a busy household, and ability to multi-task. Neither were fairly accurate.
One assessment was that being involved in my children's lives precluded me from other activities. I had been assigned to an organizational committee for a fundraising event. The chairperson questioned whether I would be able to commit the time necessary to the task given my children's schedule. Now, I'll admit, this is a fair question and I can appreciate the concern - whether it be for me or for the committee. But, truly, she had already made the conclusion that I couldn't before she even asked, and that’s what bothered me.
On the other side, I was speaking to an acquaintance who also has children, but her conclusion was that I had it relatively easy. As we chatted about the challenges of raising a family - helping with homework, fitting in exercise, and getting kids to their activities, etc. - she said, "but you stay at home, don't you?" The implication being that my day surely couldn't be as hard as hers, since she has a job outside of the home. My response to her was, "yes, I do. And where do you stay?" ignoring her implied comment, as if her question was about my residence rather than my work status.
I found it ironic that in both situations, these women made conclusions about my time, my level of stress, and my busy-ness based on my role as a mother. Neither sees me day-by-day, neither has conversations with me on a regular basis to know what my day is really like, I'm not even sure we are FaceBook friends. One has concluded that I surely can't handle anything more than being a mother, or perhaps, she thinks I shouldn't - not the first time I've gotten that interpretation of what I should be doing with my life. The other imagines my days as relaxing hours of eating Bon Bons then working out at the gym with my personal trainer (you know, the one I don’t have), surely nothing as stressful as hers (despite the fact that I have twice as many children), which would explain why I have time to help my kids with their homework and am a smaller size than her. Let’s not go there.
Now that I’ve ranted a bit, let me answer a few questions to make my point.
- Yes, I am a mother of 4.
- No, I do not work outside of the home.
- Yes, I am busy, my kids are active, my husband works and travels.
- No, I don’t have free hours all day.
- Yes, I do watch my favorite TV dramas, mostly late at night after everyone’s gone to bed.
- No, I probably get less hours of sleep than most folks.
- Yes, I can, usually, manage all my tasks, perhaps not in the way that you would expect, but I do.
- No, I don’t like when people make conclusions about me based on my motherhood.
- Yes, I do wish I had more time to sit and eat sweets, but I prefer truffles and M&Ms.