in the last few months, i've had a few friends ask me, "what do you do all day?" the first time i was asked, i was immediately at a loss of words... at first i felt judged because i felt particularly frumpy that day & wondered if the person was sure i'd never heard of exercise before. but that's just my own issue, i know. i didn't know what i did, cause i didn't teach anymore. i didn't have productive answers like, "read with children, recess duty, lesson planning, disciplining 2nd graders, or teaching regrouping." i ended up pathetically defending myself with, "not much." i wasn't offended at being asked that. everyone that has asked me this doesn't have children. most are teachers. and i remember how busy teaching is. how by the time i went off track, i was usually so exhausted that it took me almost the whole 3 week break to finally have the energy to go back and face the demons. or students.
but that question got me thinking. i started formulating a list in my head. and i'm going to share that list.
mikey: i nurse. i hold. i puree. i feed. i comfort. i read. i play. i change. i diaper. i buy clothes. i wash clothes. i fold clothes. i organize clothes. i store clothes. i clean up spit up. i lotion eczema ridden skin. i worry. i listen. i photograph. i document.
me: i blog. i read. i facebook. i communicate with friends/family. i nap. i snack. i exercise. shut up - i'm trying.
my home: i clean. i tidy up. i do laundry. i grocery shop. i plan menus. i make smoothies.i cook dinners.
garrett: i engage in activities that i know he enjoys. i try to keep the romance alive. i will spare you details. i'm not just talking about s-e-x. we work at having a strong relationship. we laugh a lot. it keeps us both happy.
but still. sometimes i go to bed feeling like i had a very unproductive day. obviously, i don't do all of those things, every single day. but i try to do many of these things. i can see where - to an outsider - my life might seem unfulfilled. boring. but to me, it is anything but.
i was 29 when i got married. most of my friends got married in their early 20s. and by the time i had mikey, many of them were having their 3rd of 4th child. i have been in the same boat, wondering "what do you do?" hell, maybe i even asked this question out loud. i spent so much time thinking that i was going to be single forever and that i would never get to what i wanted most in the world - to have kids, that i consider my simple little life that i have now to be one of the greatest blessings ever. it is part of a bigger picture, being married to my best friend, a better person than i ever dreamed of, and having his children... but it is everything i ever wanted.
then, this last weekend, someone said to me, "do you miss teaching? do you miss that validation?" she's a housewife. has been a mom since her early 20's. she knows motherhood isn't glamourous. she knows that poop stinks. and i could easily respond to her, "i miss my friends and i miss my students. but i don't miss the work of teaching. i love being home with mikey." cause i don't and i do. i loved it & i'm so glad i had the 9 year experience that i did... but if i never teach in a classroom as a paid district employee again, i won't be sad. i don't need the validation of being a teacher.
i guess it just comes down to where we are in life. my friends without kids wonder what i do. my friends with kids wonder if i miss being a teacher. the bottom line is i know that i'm in the best place i can be. home, on the floor, playing games with my baby. reading books to him. helping him learn and grow. smiling and laughing with him. holding him when he needs to be comforted. maybe i don't get paid in money for what i am doing, but claps and smiles and drool are a more fulfilling paycheck to me.
the point of this blog post was not for me to say i was offended by questions asked, i wasn't. it was a place for me to organize my thoughts and feelings. so that the next time someone asks me, i don't have to make self deprecating excuses. i can honestly, cheerfully say, "i take care of my son." i realize that it might take someone who has kids to understand the simplicity and complexity of it... i hope they have the chance someday.