If someone asks what you do, would you say you are ‘Just’ a teacher? ‘Just’ an events manager? ‘Just’ a chef? Or ‘Just’ a PA? No, I think not. So why do so many of us who stay at home with our children say ‘Just a mum’, when asked the same question?
I include myself in this number, I am almost embarrassed if I am out, particularly with non-baby friends and meeting new people. They might discuss what they do and when it’s my turn I worry. I’m not quite sure what exactly the worry is. Could it be that I worry what they might think of me? What I think of myself? That I don’t have much to contribute to the conversation, or any funny anecdotal stories that don’t involve my children?
It can feel like you are left out of the loop, struggling to keep up to date with the latest… Well, everything! For example, music, I’m pretty sure Old McDonald doesn’t count? Or current affairs, that doesn’t include the rumours at the school gate about Mr Matthews and Mrs Smith (names have been changed/ made up) Current affairs as in world news. It’s hard to keep up with the bigger picture when at 7pm all I want to do is catch up on WhatsApp and go to sleep by 9, that doesn’t leave much time for keeping abreast of current affairs. Sure we may get caught up in the day to day. The first thing I do when my husband calls or gets in from work is give him a detailed account of the children’s day. What was said, the lovely things, the challenging parts, who they saw, what they ate. When I see friends I talk about sleep I have had, or more accurately, not had. The latest funny line my toddler has come out with. What the children are doing this week. I may have been known to discuss the children’s bowl movements when they were babies (sorry about that). Many of my stories are about my children, but so what?? Is this any less interesting then if I worked outside the home and recounted my day in the office? Or out with work? We all talk about what is happening in our lives. We share the things we are living now. It doesn’t mean we don’t have anything else to say or don’t think about other things. It is just a snapshot of where we are now.
So SAHMs (I’ve always wanted to use that acronym) do not be put yourselves down. Don’t utter the words ‘Just a mum’ and shift uncomfortably when you can’t think of a story or event that has happened this week that didn’t include your children. Be proud of what a fabulous job you are doing! You are in this moment a stay at home mum and there is nothing wrong with that. For really the reality is, when asked the question ‘what do you do?’ you could in fact say all of the above. You are a teacher, events manager, family PA, chef, to name but a few. There is no such thing as being ‘JUST a mum’.