Wow-What-a-Mom! by Maureen Locher

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Maureen Locher photoDo you work? Three words. Simple enough question. Do you work? Words asked of me as I introduced myself to the only woman I did not know in a group of friends. Do you work?

“No.” I said no! One short and sweet syllable: no. What an idiot! I sat there like a bump-on-a-log and said no. A mother of four young men still living at home while they attend a local college and work through school should have said, “I’ve worked every single second for 25 years, performing endless jobs which no one happened to pay me for!” But did I say all that? Heck no!

To my no, this woman said, “That’s great.”

That’s great? What does that mean? That it is really great, or that I am being placated? Not sure. And I didn’t care to pursue the matter. I failed Everymom. I did not speak up for her; I did not speak up for me.

Next time, here’s what I’m going to say: “Yes. Yes, I do – have for 25 years, raising four sons, and now those sons, those gold stars on my mom resume, are working their ways through college while I, their mom, carve out a newer, improved life for myself. I attend daily Mass each morning, and ask God what He wants me to do, and I try to do it.

“I also happen to be copy editor and columnist for a magazine written by moms for moms. And I recently joined CatholicMom.com as a weekly columnist. I write two blogs at my own Web site, and try to give God to those who cross my path.

“I have written three books, and two of them are under consideration with a publisher right now.”

Wouldn’t my imagined soliloquy have gone over like a you-know-what in a punchbowl?

But really, ladies, let’s become a little more evolved, shall we? Let’s not ask that question of other women. Don’t all of us know what a mom does – how incredibly much she does? Instead of, “Do you work?” how about, “Do you work outside the home?” And if asked the dreaded question yourself, politely reply, “I sure do!”

Make no excuses for being “just a mom.” Just-a-Mom is a mythical creature anyhow; none exist on this planet. Think more along the lines of Wow-What-a-Mom! God’s multi-faceted prism of darkness-conquering light. How’s that for a job description?

Copyright 2009 Maureen Locher

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4 Comments

  1. Sylvia Broussard on

    Dear Maureen,
    I am not a whiz at the computer, but I am slowly but sure getting there. Have come across your web site tonight and tried to email you but cannot succeed. Keep getting popup I do not understand, so I am trying this way until I learn what the popup means. I am so anxious to contact you. I feel God has led me to your site tonight. I wanted to share a comment in the Mom Moments but could not do so as instructed by you to go to your home page under “contact me”. Hope you get this. I am giving it a try. Hope to succeed. Thanks.

    Sylvia Broussard

  2. Every Mom has had that moment when they downplayed their achievements of being responsible for someone else. Every Mom has answered that question, “Do you work?” at some point with “No.” probably because they were tired or thinking about the school paper that one child stayed up late working on, and the fact that she can’t quite remember when her daughter last washed her hair and whether she could cobble dinner together from what remained in the freezer for tonight. We’re Moms. We invented multi-tasking.

    But saying “I’m a mom” sometimes feels like when we tell our teens, “I love you.” and they respond, “Yeah, but you’re my parents, you don’t count.” This is the least we must do. We are the servants of our children, and to provide them with food, love, warmth, beauty and comfort, these are the very least of things we are required by God to do. So Saying “I’m a Mom” sometimes doesn’t feel like it counts even though it counts.

    We count, we count daily in kisses, in made lunches and fixed beds, washed socks and signed papers. We count with haircuts and extra school supplies and dinners with vegetables. We count with warm hugs and seasonal outfits and extra touches like thank you notes, hair ribbons and the occasional movie that kids are surprised to find out about. So you’re a What a Mom, a professional Mom, a seasoned Veteran Mom, a Full Time Mom. You’re somebody’s Mom and you know, that means everything even if the world doesn’t recognize it.

    Going to go call my Mom now.

  3. Sounds a little defensive, if you don’t mind my saying. That woman was probably asking the question innocently, not judgmentally as you’re assuming. It was a three-word question. I’m not sure why it felt so mean to you, or why you felt you should have put her in her place for asking. Unless she was giving you dirty looks as she asked. 😉

    For the record, I’m a WAHM. The “mom” part is the important part of my job, and I’ll never forget it.

  4. Here is another take on the question – I am an attorney and CPA, both accomplishments that I am proud of. I have been working from home since my first child was born but since my third child was born I have taken on very limited projects, and none at all now that I am expecting number 4. So when people ask “what do you do?” I always respond “I’m an attorney but I work from home to be with my kids,” and I don’t realize how dishonest it really is to say that. Because I’m a stay at home mom. That is what I WANT to do, and I am thankful that my husband has been so supportive of me leaving my career to do so! But I must have my own little insecurities there about the value that society places on that job, and I’d like to thank you for your post so that I can work on being more authentic about the value of what I really do. Thank you!

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