I hate meeting new people. I admit I'm a bit of a homebody to begin with; but in general I just hate the idea of small talk, and the awkward feigned interest in other's peoples lives. A few drinks down the hatch usually eases the uncomfortable silences but the worst part of every new conversation, at least for me, comes when they ask the inevitable question "what do you do?"
Whenever anyone asks this particular question I smile broadly, talk about my beautiful kids, and murmur under my breath that I'm a "stay at home mom". Unless you are speaking with another "non working" mother, the general consensus is that being a stay at home mom is not really something you do. It's at this point people usually smile uncomfortably and then ask me what I did before I had children; as though whatever I did before I gave birth and decided to raise my own kidlets was somehow more worthy of their interest, and of greater societal value. Of course when I answer "chambermaid" they look as though they want to run away from me, as though they have found the bottom rung of society and must detach themselves from my side, lest they be led down the road of mediocrity too. But I digress...
Why do people act as though I must be someone who is lazy, or stupid, or unwilling to have a "real job" when I say I raise my own kids? And let me just be clear that it's not something that is easy, or comes naturally - child rearing. The learning curve is huge. You aren't just wiping butts, feeding, cleaning, and putting them to bed; which by the way, isn't a piece of cake, but people seem to think motherhood amounts to chambermaiding, and nannying. It's does not. I stay at home with my kids and teach them things like cooperation, dispute resolution, manners, morals and values, ethics, and in case it's not something that is inherent at birth in all human beings, I also make sure that I establish in them a conscience, a sense of sympathy, and when applicable feelings of empathy.
My "job" may not be a paying one. I may not have an established career that brings in a measurable incremental amount of income. But I contribute more to the sustainability of our society than even my lovely cop of a husband does. For I am an active member in my children's lives. I am the mediator, the general, the boss and caretaker of the next generation.
But no, it's not a job, and if you really want to put a label on it, than I suppose it's more of an art form. I am creating beautiful little pieces of art. And I alone have the creative license to do that in a way I see fit. I can change palette's when things aren't working properly. I can brush in broader strokes when life is moving a little too fast. I can meticulously add a bit of shading, or infuse some light to the lessons in life, whenever I need too and whenever I want.
What do I do? Hell. What don't I do? I'm a Stay At Home Mom.