When am I going back to work?
I am asked this question, or a similar version, often. Do I miss work? Do I think about going back to work? What exactly do I do all day?
I have to believe that people do not understand the implications of these questions, or else they wouldn’t ask. Allow me to clarify.
I DO work, inside the home. I am a full time nanny, housekeeper, chef, budget analyst, and chauffeur. I doctor wounds, teach life skills, and counsel emotions. The current headline on my resume, SAHM, may not impress many, but it matters more than any job I’ve ever done.
I DO miss working in an office. I miss the commute when I sang the Hamilton Soundtrack at the top of my lungs. I miss my coworkers, our random jokes, lunch dates, and fantasy football banter. I miss completing a task and receiving recognition for a job well done.
Of COURSE I think about working outside the home. I spent years moving up in the music industry, finally making it to manager. It seems so silly sometimes that I stepped back to stay at home with my son. After all, isn’t the American dream to work hard, climb the corporate latter, and gain success in the form of title and salary?
This is what people are implying when they ask me when I’m going back to work. The implication is that what I am doing is not real work, not true success.
It’s taken a year to settle into life as a SAHM, and here is what I know now. Success is sometimes simple. It’s happily reading the same book to my son ten times a day because it’s his favorite. It’s persuading him to sip milk from a straw after he’s refused countless times before. Success is teaching a child to nap and watching him fall asleep on his own each day. Some days success looks like surviving, and the best I can do is keep everyone alive. Other days success is a clean home, cooked meal, and walk to the park. It’s ok that I don’t have a gig on the side, that I don’t work part-time or full-time outside the home. What defines success is not the lines on my resume, it’s the smiles and laughter, hugs and snugs that I receive from my son each day.
Please stop asking me when I’m going back to work. I am at work.
“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” Dr. John Trainer