Daily Archives: May 20, 2010

She’s nine

She’s 9 years old today.  Nine.  Again, I confess– last night was a bad night with homework, a frustrated and in moments not very nice Mama (me), a big cry (daughter, though we’d have been better off if I had done at least some of the crying) and in the end, a finished homework assignment, a cupcake, a candle and a Mama who does know how to listen and apologize.  A late night pre-birthday party.  Though I don’t always hit it right– I did have what seems to be a terrific-to-her, pink, teenage-ish, little girl-ish sparkly dress wrapped in a box with a ribbon on it, first thing this morning.  She put it on right away.  And was, as she is, gorgeous.  I think I got this one right.

This will not be a day with time to write all that I’d like to about an important day.  But I will say this to her, for all to hear.

On the day you were born, I didn’t know you were being born, and I am sorry I wasn’t with you right away.  From what I can tell, the first few hours and days were hard, lonely.  You made it, though.  You are incredibly smart, fiercely strong, so much fun, full of interesting ideas and wickedly funny.  You have as big and as open a heart as a person can have and your Mommy and I (your Mama) are both so happy you were born and lucky you are our daughter.  The world is far better, more fun, brighter and infinitely more interesting and hopeful with you in it.  You have many aunts and cousins and a brother and his two moms and a few uncles and two grandmas and many, many friends and family– young and old who love you so much– because you have changed our lives just by being yourself.  And on Sunday we are going to have what I hope will be exactly the very cool spy birthday party you are wanting. 

I love you, N.

xo Mama

Birthday girl, birthday dress, birthday #9 morning. May 20, 2010

The job of mothering

I posted a comment recently on Sarah B.’s blog which I like a lot (the blog, not my own comment, though I do like that as well).  The comment was in response to something she wrote, and in response to some comments she got about the question of whether mothering is a job or not.   This is one of those things I think about a lot, and since I’ve never tried writing about this particular thing, rather than speaking it in conversation, I thought I’d post it.  There was discussion, if I am characterizing it correctly, about whether mothering is too personal and personally satisfying and too motivated by personal choice–and whether the real crux of mothering– a give and take relationship, renders it ineligible to be considered a job.  Here’s what I said.  Slightly changed.   

I definitely do think of mothering/ parenting as a job. It is the most interesting and genuine good work I’ve ever done. I love it.  And I have had the chance to do some incredible and deeply satisfying, deeply connected, paid work.  Embedded in the discussion of why parenting shouldn’t be considered “work” there are some assumptions or assumed ideas about jobs/ work that I don’t agree with.

First and foremost, I don’t think that loving to do something or having a deep personal connection to something makes it other than work. I think there are jobs– many important jobs that have great love and passion and deep human connection at the root of them; jobs that have a spiritual dimension, and jobs– some of them paid– that are deeply and profoundly fulfilling– where you get as much doing the job as you give to it. So I don’t think that the fact that parenting can be and is, for many of us, all those things, moves it out of the category of work.

I think about mothering/ parenting as a job in the sense that world-wide it is an essential set of tasks to which large numbers of people (and though it doesn’t have to be so, it is large numbers of women)  must dedicate many years—in order that the world of humans and each society continue and flourish.

I think of it as a job because unlike things that aren’t jobs; for example, a hobby or a religious practice or some other things that you can pick up and set aside as your feelings ebb and flow—in the case of parenting, once you take it on, there is a lot of work to be done and you must do it—whether or not you’re in the mood on any given day. The world as a whole and the individual societies in which we live and actually the economies of our societies are as completely reliant on this work we do, as they are on the production of food, energy and shelter. Parenting, or again to say the word that reflects the bulk of the parenting work world-wide, mothering, is completely necessary to the world and demands so much of us over a sustained time—and that’s what I call a job.