Will you be asked at an upcoming Christmas party, “What do you do for a living?” The typical answer is to share a job title along with a list of many successes. When I answer that I am a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes get a blank stare. (This title doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as being a lawyer, nurse or doctor.) I usually receive a polite comment like, “How nice.”
After all, what is glorifying about doing laundry, dishes, and diaper changes? And what determines my “success” as a stay-at-home mom? I can’t claim the mom of the year award, though I think there should be one. I can’t point to a Ph.D. hanging on the wall or how I single handedly changed corporate culture for the good of a company. My company is Mom, Inc. with no employees and daily duties that never end.
And though the accolades of corporate success may not be received by stay-at-home moms, our contributions are as valuable as those received in the workplace. And all without monetary reward. Our motivation does not come from a boss, but from raising a little person.
My friend, Kristin Mauceri, explained it this way: “The most important role we have in this world is to make them (children) feel safe, unconditionally loved and valuable.”
Moms have a most critical role. To care and nurture the family. What a great reward to keep your family happy, well and safe. I’d say that is as important as any corporate goal. Do you feel successful in your role as a mother? How can you keep motivated and encouraged? Especially when the dishes are piled high, the laundry never ends, and you have goo in our hair. (Yes, I have been there.)
Here a couple of thoughts:
1. Achievement redefined
Getting my son fed may not seem like a mighty achievement, but my son greatly appreciates it. I can affirm the value of caring for my sweet one by saying, “I’m so glad I can do this for Samuel.” Or, when tackling laundry, I can see it an act of accomplishment as CEO of Mom, Inc. If you like to use lists, write down “feeding” and then check it off as an achievement. Read your completed list at the end of the day for an extra sense of satisfaction.
2. Catch those thoughts
“I didn’t do anything today.” Replace with the positive. “I helped my son/daughter make a better choice.” Kick out the sneaky self-sabotaging thoughts the moment you become aware of them. If my son has a clean diaper, is fed and happily playing with books, I am doing something right. Focus on the positive. Seeing my child flash me a brilliant smile or to hear him say, “Mama,” is my great reward. This is my encouragement.
3. Grab a quiet moment
Sneak in quiet moments where ever you can get them. Lately, I have been staying up in the wee hours of the morning, when everyone is asleep, to get some “me” time. Or have a friend, baby sitter or husband watch the kids so you can enjoy a long, relaxing soak in the tub. Find what gives you peace and work it into your mom schedule.
Remember to give yourself grace. The beds may not be made, and you may feel you have accomplished “nothing,” but a clean, happy sleeping child is the proof your day was a smashing success. As you focus on this truth, joy will permeate your day knowing you are accomplishing something great. Something quite great, in fact: raising the next generation. You go, Momma.
And when someone asks you what you do for a living, say you are the Chief Executive Officer of Mom, Inc instead of a stay-at-home mom. That should be an interesting conversation starter.