October 28, 2008

Can I have Westminster Abbey?

After Madeline was born, I didn't like being asked, "What do you do?." Even though staying at home was always enough for me, I wondered what people thought and if they admired my choice or thought I was lazy.

Some people didn't leave me wondering what they thought; they just told me outright.

"But what do you do all day? Doesn't she take naps?"

To which I always responded, "I eat Butterfingers and watch soaps. Passions is my favorite."

For the first few months, I was compelled to announce that I used to actively contribute to society.

"I used to do non-profit public relations but now I just stay at home with my daughter."

But then I grew up.

I fully grasped the value of staying home and knew it was the desire of my heart. Now, I simply don't care what people think and have since removed the justification, the "but", and the "just."

I also add in "get to" because I want you to know that I chose my work and I see it as a privilege.

"I get to stay at home with my daughter."

Or, if I'm feeling spunky, I just say, "I'm a trophy wife," and stare them down.

(Try it. It's pretty fun, especially if they don't know you well enough to know you are sarcastic 83 percent of the time. The last guy I tried this on said, "Oh" and sputtered for words to follow up with.)

But even though I no longer justify myself to others, I still have days when I wonder if my work is really all that important. I don't believe children who have nannies or go to day care automatically grow up to be punks, jerks or Patriots players. So is what I'm doing really all that important?

When I'm going through the valleys and questioning myself, it's good to get real, solid reminders. Not shallow ones that make me feel like I'm lying to myself so I can keep staying home. Instead, reminders that speak truth, "Yes, my work is valued, important and worth my everything."

Last week, Kristen at No Small Thing was my reminder. She wrote a beautiful post on the legacy we can leave as mothers: that our children can know that they are loved. I'm printing it out for my Mom Binder so I can go back and read it. (Yes, I really do have a big ol' Mom Binder. But that's another post.)

And she linked to another kick-in-the-pants reminder from Lisa at Take 90 West who wrote my favorite blog post ever, Building My Own Cathedral. I'm printing out and keeping on my fridge. It's that good.

If you're a mom, go read it and be encouraged. Then go back to doling out Cheerios and mopping the floors. Go back and keep building your cathedral.

Yup, it is worth it. And Madeline is my Westminster Abbey.


Jen said...

Ha, yes, I was there when you answered "I'm a trophy wife"--SO funny.

Also laughed at "Patriot player". ahahahahahhaa

But seriously, good post.

jruetz said...

:) what you do is important! and you've got a cutie to prove it ;-)

hey when did you guys go out the the orchard? jodi went last weekend and said they didn't have raspberries, but you got a ton! i may go out there on friday...

Beth said...

I love that little crinkled up nose! :)

kristen@nosmallthing said...

Woohoo! I made the binder! That's pretty darn cool. Thanks for the mention!

Oh, and I'm going to use that trophy wife line. That's a good one.

alyssa said...

My sister-in-law sent me the story about the cathedral. When we email she will often say "how are the cathedrals doing". Thanks for the reminder about that story.

I do want to hear more about the "mom binder"

And, I'm going to have to mention the Patriots comment to my mother-in-law.

Katie said...

Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder. Its so true but it can so often get clouded.

Kirsten said...

My mom, though she's always worked full time, made time for making good food (hence my food-love), sewing Halloween costumes & tucking me in. But my dad stayed home with me for several years while freelancing occasionally. I can't imagine that I would be who I am without all that time & love.

Though, of course, like you, I see that there are so very many children that don't have the same experience but who can & do realize their potential all the time.

But it is a special gift to any parent to have that time with their little ones.

Jennifer said...

This made me laugh so hard!!! I love you, and I look forward to your blog everyday :-)

Jen said...

Well said. I did the same thing today. I read Kristen and Lisa's posts last week and they came at the perfect time for me. What great reminders.