Thursday, September 23, 2010

It all fell into place

"Motherhood is a blue collar job."

When I read that line, suddenly everything made sense. Both the things that I love and the things that I dread about being a homemaker/mommy are all wrapped up in that sentence. For clarification, I take "blue collar" to mean skilled tradesman (with the distinct possibility of being disregarded and/or underappreciated.)

Motherhood (by which I mean homemaker as well) is all about trades. And art forms. And trades as art forms. And LOTS of manual labor.

My husband is a magnificent man and a diligent, capable, hard worker. I am also blessed that he has the privilege of occasionally working from home. On occasion, when he is home, his appearance may be this: comfortably semi-reclined. Granted, he's generally dressed in business-casual and typing furiously away on his laptop and/or on the phone, but nevertheless, all 200+ lbs., 6.5 ft of him are propped nicely on a pillow or two. All this while I, the weaker (and pregnant) sex, am lugging loads of laundry up and down stairs, unloading groceries, mowing the lawn (that is my preference, btw), scrubbing floors/toilets/showers, and hefting 20-30 lb children around (not while mowing the lawn).

On days when I stop and consider this situation, it's hard not to laugh. Those are also usually the days when I tell my husband that he should quit his job and be a stay-at-home-dad and I'll go to work. It seems to make so much more sense, physically. (Except that my profession is nursing and I don't know a single nurse who will tell you that's not physical - but that's also because I guess it's more of a blue collar job. Go figure. In that sense, I shot myself in the foot with that career choice.)

But then there are the art forms of my chosen vocation (back to motherhood here) - the emotional/spiritual care and training of my children, cooking (generally a chore, but with all this practice I'm improving and with improvement comes increased satisfaction and joy), making my home beautiful, how to shop and beat the dollar to a pulp, wringing water from a stone (ie, making money/goods/services appear from thin air - or for the cost of a couple postage stamps).

And there are things available to me that will enhance our family's life together that I haven't yet tried in earnest: vegetable gardening, flower gardens, sewing, baking, freezing/canning, etc.

It's all just so beautiful, isn't it?

Until I wake up in the morning, desperately needing a) more sleep and b) my coffee, but I can't have either because all I hear is "NO, NEED MOMMY!" and all I smell is wet diaper in my face. And that's when I find myself in the trenches of the not-so-esteem-able aspects of my blue collar job. It's not glamorous, it's often not appreciated, especially by those who most benefit from my work (not you Mark; you're wonderful!) but it's got to be done and I'm the only one who's going to do it, so I'm going to try to give it my all for yet another day.

"Mark, would you like another pillow?" ;)


Anna Ray said...

Too funny! Reminded me of the other day when I was helping Joshua build an outside fort with large branches. He said, "Wow, I didn't know moms were strong!" My response was " Who carries the baby around all day on her back?", pointing to my one year old contentedly enjoying her view, from my back.

Karen said...

Well put :) I do feel a bit like the "blue collar" days become fewer and farther between as the kids get older... it's not always going to be so physically demanding! But then we do it again, eh? It's true... there is a lot of manual labor involved in bringing up children, and very often we feel so "underpaid" for our expertise. I suppose those are the moments we have to remember that the benefits, if not the salary, are why we do it :)