Earlier this week, I was having a conversation with a mother of two great kids. Her oldest, a girl, is in the same kindergarten class as my daughter. Her youngest is only two and quite the handful. Her daughter always has on nice, clean, matching clothes, and her very long hair is always fixed and cute. Her son, though I haven’t seen him much, is always clean (quite a feat when dealing with a two-year-old boy) and happy. This mother is attentive and loving to her children, and she is quite obviously intelligent and creative.
After a lengthy conversation about our girls in kindergarten, the conversation turned to mutual appreciation of the kindergarten teacher. We both have great empathy toward the amount of stress and chaos she must deal with daily, and the emotional toll it must take on her mental health. The other mom, we will call her Mrs. L, while empathizing said something that has stuck with me all week.
She said, “I’m just a stay-at-home-mom”…
Mrs. L was saying how stressful it is taking care of two children, so she could only imagine how it was trying to teach twenty-two kids. Her statement is still bothering me. She assigned her job as being “just” a stay-at-home mom. She summed up the single-most rewarding and simultaneously horrible job there has ever been as being “just a stay-at-home mom”.
Dwelling on her statement that minimizes something she should say with pride, made me think about my own life for a bit. I frequently (almost daily) feel inadequate, poorly educated, insecure, and even more negative descriptors depending on the situation. When was the last time I gave myself a pat on the back? I don’t remember.
If I look at the women closest to me in life, I see the same pattern. Each important woman in my life (even those that aren’t mothers) has a history of downplaying her importance in her family’s life, her accomplishments both in and out of the home, and her personal achievements.
I don’t like to make generalities, but I’m going to make a general statement anyway. The biggest critic in a woman’s life is herself.
This Mother’s Day, I plan to make sure all the women I love know that they are great people, not “just” mothers.