Friday, February 6, 2015

What Do You Do?

Last night my husband had a work event, a farewell for the Command Sergeant Major. I usually don't like going to Army events because they never start on time and always run late. When you have to pay a babysitter, on top of the $40 dinner per person, it just doesn't seem logical for me to go. I'm also not your typical Officer's Wife, in case you hadn't noticed. I don't participate in the FRG, I don't live on post, I don't socialize outside of these events with the other wives, and I have a bunch of kids. In fact, most people are surprised to find out I am an officer's wife. Most days I don't even feel like a Major's wife and I even made the comment that I am not cut out for that type of socializing and commitment to the Army way of life. I would never make it as a Commander's wife because that's just not my style.

Usually when we have these types of events to attend I spend the majority of the time sitting by myself, sipping on a drink, watching my husband run around socializing and getting things ready for presentations and making sure things run smoothly. More often than not that also means we are running late. Not last night, though.

I was already ready to go when my husband came home at 3ish and we left with plenty of time. We actually arrived early. We were the third couple to sign into the guestbook. We found our way to the cash bar and chose a table towards the back of the courtyard during social hour. We really only socialized with people that came by our table and that was fine with me. I have a terrible time remembering who people are even though my husband introduces me to them every.single.time. we attend a work event. My brain just cannot retain that information and in all honesty, I really don't need to remember them because I won't be socializing with them outside of that circle. I have enough to remember without being able to name all the soldiers my husband works with.

As social hour continued, I spent my time chatting with my husband and people watching when no one was coming to talk with us. I avoided the appetizer table because it was nothing but carbs. Potato chips, pita chips, tortilla chips, and bread. I was already drinking a rum and sprite and I was adamant that I was going to watch my calories before dinner since I did not want to waste the $40 plate. The plate that was covered in some kind of mushroom gravy and yet still very bland. But, I digress.

Dinner actually started on time, and I was pleasantly surprised. We, again, chose a table towards the back which I would later be very grateful for when I had to pee so bad from all the water I drank and the CSM was still giving his farewell speech. I just couldn't wait any longer so I made a beeline for the back exit. Prior to that, I sat mostly quiet at the dinner table until the dreaded question was asked of me by the only other female sitting at my table.

This woman could talk. She was pretty much the only one talking at our table. She turned to me and said, "You are so far away, I feel like you can't hear me." I nodded and smiled and she asked, "So, what do you do?" The question took me off guard but yet I expected it. It's one of those questions that you ask people in an effort to get to know them because it's kind of impersonal but yet personal all the same.

I let out a little laugh and replied, "Uh, nothing really." Which is so true of the way people see stay at home moms. We don't work. I quickly added, "Or everything." which is also so very true. I'm a stay at home mom.

I make sure the bills are paid on time and manage the budget. I play taxi driver between sports practices and after school activities. I homeschool my 3rd grade son three days a week. I babysit for a friend the other two days of the week. I manage the family calendar and the chore chart. I sign papers and write checks for various school related things. I do the grocery shopping and make dinner on the nights we aren't ridiculously busy with sports. I do the laundry, I sweep the floors, I let the dog in and out 100x a day. I blog. I bake. I make crafts. I take the car for an oil change and the dog for a spa day. I pick up kids from school for dentist appointments, snuggle them when they are sick, and I research future schools. I even make time for myself to workout. I do my best to insure that everyone in my household is well taken care of and happy and healthy. And yet, the answer that is always given to that question is "nothing" but it couldn't be further from the truth.

I try my best to do it all and to do it all well enough to not get Child Protective Services called on me. I don't get paid to do what I do. Even the payment of appreciation is completely lacking. Yet, every morning I get up and I do it again. So when I am asked "What do you do?"and I respond with "nothing" I am doing a great disservice to all the stay at home moms out there.

We don't do nothing. Aside from bringing home a paycheck, we actually do it all. And we should not be ashamed of that. The next time someone asks you what you do, tell them everything because you are a stay at home mom. Or be creative. Tell them you are a CEO where you are on call 24/7 specializing in household operations. Take the credit for all that you do and be proud of who you are. Not everyone is cut out for being a stay at home mom, not everyone can afford to be a stay at home mom, but if you are lucky enough to have that title, don't be afraid to own it. Even if you do just tell them you are the CEO of HHO and they don't get it, at least you will know what it means and you will have a smile in your heart while being all that you are because we shouldn't have to feel like we do "nothing" just because our day to day job doesn't pay the bills.

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