Yesterday afternoon, I went outside to retrieve something from the car. When I came back to the front door, I paused, realizing that the children were having a conversation about me. The door was slightly open. If I leaned forward, I could hear, without them knowing I was there. It went a little something like this.
Lucy: “Guys, do you ever think about the fact that our Mom is an author? I mean, a real author?!”
Sam: “I do. When I told all my friends, they couldn’t believe it.”
Jordan: “My friends believe it because she came and talked to my class about writing…”
And suddenly I felt like a rock star. I’m not ashamed to admit it was an amazing feeling hearing my children speak of me with such admiration. Since the book hasn’t been released yet, and honest to goodness readers are still a few months away, it feels good to know that at least my children think I’m awesome for what I’ve done.
Except, here’s the thing. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t care about the hoopla that comes with being published. I’m excited and proud of what I’ve done. I’m looking forward to the book release, book signings, promotion and all the fun stuff that goes along with it. BUT, and I want my children to hear this loud and clear, I would still be awesome if all I ever did was be their Mamma. I don’t expect I’ll ever overhear my children having a conversation about how impressive it is that I cooked dinner for them the night before, or that I made it three whole days without yelling. They won’t marvel at finished laundry, or respect how hard I work to sort out the logistical nightmares that come from basketball practices and karate classes and everything else that children do and need and want. Because that’s what Mammas do. We work and help and work and help and work and help. That isn’t to say there aren’t moments that make it worth it. Hugs and kisses and heartfelt thank-yous are more than enough to make me feel like my efforts are appreciated. I don’t mother because I want everyone to tell me I’m awesome. I mother because I love my kids and I love my husband and being a part of a family that loves me back is an incredibly wonderful thing.
Perhaps what I’m trying to say is that I hope my children know that this is my most important work. It’s the most important, and it IS ENOUGH. We live in a world where the efforts of women in their homes are largely taken for granted. Society needs individuals who are happy and stable, but largely forgets that happy stable people mostly come from happy, stable homes. Women who choose to stay at home and raise their children are diminished and belittled because, “really, that’s all you wanted to do with your life?” But not in this house. I want my children to know that while I love my writing, it’s just gravy. They are my meat. They are my substance. Of course, gravy makes stuff taste better, so please don’t ask me to give it up. But also don’t think that it’s what I care about most. I’m really proud that next year my book will be released and I’ll be an honest to goodness published author. But really truly, I am more proud of being a Mom.
(So I totally just re-read this post and decided it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn. I thought to change it, but then I decided that Mothers don’t toot our own horns enough. So. Let it be said. I’m a Mom. And I am awesome.)