Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I didn't grow up wealthy. I grew up with enough. Some months were lean. My Dad was a NYC firefighter. We always had really crappy cars. One car, it was a yellow Pinto, had a hole in the floor board. The drivers seat was held up by a brick. I used to like that as we drove, I could see the road. We had enough. We had a car. Only one. Not the nicest, but it got my Dad to and from work, and took all of us where we needed to go.

My Mom, due to the one car situation, and limited funds, stayed home and took care of us. She cooked and cleaned. She had breakfast ready for us waiting at the snack bar in my house, every morning. Complete with a vitamin, a sectioned grapefruit (which made me gag, but she insisted) and either oatmeal, or eggs. I won't get into the chicken liver omelets she would occasionally whip up. Oddly good, but when I mention them to my husband, he gets an instant look of nausea across his face.

When we got off the bus, she had an afternoon snack waiting for us. And she would listen to our ramblings about our school day, and check our school bags, and question why we didn't finish our sandwich, and get mad when I told her I bought chocolate milk at school, instead of white. All the minutia of our young lives.

She would start dinner, and make us do our homework. She always provided a quiet place for us to do it, and sometimes, depending on the amount we had, she would put down one of our beer glasses that had been monogrammed with my parents initials, filled with cut up carrots and celery sticks. A little energy, she would call it. Some fuel for our brains.

She served dinner, and cleaned it up after we were done. She washed our clothes, and picked them out for us for school, the night before. Baths and bed. Prayers, and kisses. And the warm safe sounds of the big pots being hand washed from downstairs, lulling us to sleep.

 My Mom did it all. She took the thinking out of it for me. Meaning, I just thought all of these things appeared. I never really thought of the work and effort behind it. I never thought about the clean bathroom that I used every day, and how it got that way. I never thought about my drawer full of underwear. They just seemed to always be there. Summer clothes just popped up and winter coats suddenly would hang on my hook. All taken care of, and never mentioned. Without fail.

Being a mother, is a massive job. One of the hardest things to do, and a position, that I never fully understood until I had my own babies, that has repercussions. Everything I do today, shapes my girls tomorrow. I have always thought that I have nothing to do with the people that they are. I feel like they are like flowers. Blossoming before my eyes, revealing who they are, despite all that I am doing. That I know is true. But my conduct, and example...the home that David and I provide for them...this place that shapes them, and provides love and security for's a really important job. It's everything.

Being a Mom, is tremendous. Some days, I feel like I never clock out of my "office". Even when I get a house cleaning job. Guess who is with me? My toddler. Guess who is demanding a bagel with cream cheese as I write these words? Same toddler. Then I think of the mom that works out of the home, and then comes home to work more, at her other "office". It's overwhelming. Work loads that are never ending. No fifteen minute coffee breaks. No sick days. No "clocking out".

Any way you slice it, being a Mom, and making life just flow, and taking the thinking out of it for your kids, and smoothing the edges for everyone, without fanfare, and most days, without anyone noticing, can be incredibly trying. Some days, downright exhausting. The salary is awful. And it's not always butterfly kisses, and dandelion wishes. But the payout. Wow!

 It's incalculable.

1 comment:

  1. So true.

    My parents had a yellow pinto as well that I seem to recall being able to see the road as we drove along from the back seat.