[A while ago, I gave you guys an opportunity to ask me questions and one of you asked for a guest post from my mother. Well, ask and you shall receive... after about six weeks. Because I'm bad at follow-through. And that explains her pirate comment.]
The World’s Oldest Profession
A guest post by Mom
So, one of Elise’s readers requested a guest post by me, Elise’s Mom. Did you notice the M of “mom” is in caps? That’s because it is part of my proper name. I am also known as Big Brother’s Mom, Sister’s Mom and Brother’s Mom and have answered to Dad’s Wife on occasion. Actually the commenter’s request was for a guest post from Elise’s Mum. Since I also answer to Mom, Mommy, Mama, Mamah (accent on the second syllable) and Mumsy, I think Mum must also be me.
[Sometimes, I even call her Marmalade... And sometimes, I call my dad Papaya. But that's neither here nor there. Sorry, I'll shut up and let Mom talk.]
When I first heard of this request I immediately thought that this was by big chance to tell all of Elise’s readers some fun little facts about her. You know, how she didn’t like to be called “Young Lady” because she was sure she was in trouble. She would say in her adorable little three-year-old voice, “I AM NOT A YOUNG LADY!” Trust me, it was very cute. Hard to stay mad when you are busting up on the inside. Actually, I now realize she was probably smart enough to know this would waylay whatever punishment was about to come, because truthfully, she probably was in trouble. (A small diversion here. I have never written out the word “waylay” and was not sure I had it right. So, I highlighted it and checked synonyms. Among the many choices was “bushwhack”. It was really tempting to use this word instead, since, at the moment I am writing this, Elise, Sister, Sister-in-Law and I are all preparing to leave today for an annual ladies’ retreat where the theme for the weekend is Pirates. YO HO HO! No rum however. It’s not that kind of retreat.)
Now what was I saying? Oh, yeah. The blog.
I was awakened this morning at 6 a.m. by a phone call. Since I have a job that requires me to be available at all hours, I was expecting it to be work. But it wasn’t. Even without my glasses, I was pretty sure I did not recognize the caller ID. When I answered, this gentle male voice asked, “Well, who is this?” to which I replied, “Who did you call?” He stuttered a bit and told me he was looking for his niece, Theresa. When I told him he had a wrong number, he said “No” in a voice that one would use if one had just been told Theresa was dead. I thought he might cry. I assured him there was no Theresa here (I actually briefly entertained the idea that maybe I should get up and check). There was a long silence before he hung up and left me wide awake and imagining the scenario.
So, lying there, in my wide awake state, I began thinking of all that I had to do to be ready to leave here by 10 o’clock with my favorite girls and realized that I had been given the gift of an extra hour from Theresa’s uncle. My thoughts turned to the blog. Instead of telling you Elise stories (maybe another post, another day) I think I will speak to my favorite profession. The world’s oldest profession. Motherhood. Had you going for a minute there, huh?
I realize that motherhood is not what most people think about when they hear the phrase, “the world’s oldest profession” but seriously. That cannot be. Eve was NOT one of those. Think about it, even if she wanted to be one of those, who was she gonna “sell” her wares to? If ever there was a faithful wife, she was. However, Eve was a mom. Now, it could be argued that she was first a wife. But, that is not a profession in my mind. It is more of a position. You know, like Queen. He’s the King and she’s the Queen.
But Motherhood. Now there’s a job. Also, a calling. But definitely a job.
Let’s look at a “job description” for Motherhood.
Mother: Must be able to stay awake for undetermined amounts of time. Must have the ability to problem solve while cooking dinner, sewing a costume, wiping a nose, baking enough cupcakes for the whole classroom (while remembering, Edward is allergic to chocolate and Amanda has to be gluten-free), at the same time being “on hold” for 15 minutes to schedule dentist appointments for 4. Must be able to endure sticky fingers, sneezes to the face (occasionally accompanied by baby cereal), and noxious odors. A mother’s job may (translated probably) include: scheduling, chauffeuring, nursing including minor surgery, nutritional guidance, interior decorating, zoo-keeping, toy repair, toy assembly, home maintenance, costume designing, plumbing, party planning, gardening, religious instruction and stain removal. Must be able to lift increasing weight, eat with one hand while holding a squirming toddler (on occasion two) and get gum out of hair. Mothers will be responsible for all holidays including having gifts available, serving dinner without a hitch and having a camera ready at all times. This applicant will also be in charge of waste removal, ranging anywhere from dirty diapers to the weekly trash. Mothers should be prepared to participate in on the job training in conflict management (clairvoyantly determining who touched who first), financial management (no you may not have money for designer jeans) and career counseling (selling greeting cards door to door is not a career). A mother will, on occasion, have an assistant depending on what’s on TV. All mothers must be willing to accept “other duties, as assigned”.Compensation for a mother is not measured in usual monetary units, but is a series of intangible benefits. Mothers often receive half eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bouquets of dandelions and a variety of bugs in a pickle jar. Wet kisses and crayon drawn pictures are common. Breakfast in bed may be served on Mother’s Day and typically consists of cold burned toast, a glass of orange juice filled to the absolute brim (and spilled over the edge) and a cup of coffee so full of milk and sugar that it is cold and syrupy. (But, hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?) Subordinates share many things with a mother including colds and influenza.Entertainment is one of the fringe benefits. Examples include: Knock-knock jokes, endless games of Chutes and Ladders, who can blow the biggest bubble with their bubble gum contests and brothers being dressed up in sister’s clothes.Shifts are 7 days per week, 24 hours per day. Time off may be granted for occasional retreats but must be preplanned well in advance. Sick time is also rare, but will be granted on a case by case basis.
So, you see, mothers have the hardest and often most thankless job in the world, but also the best job ever. No other profession influences our world as much as motherhood. No other profession knows the pride and joy of watching a ballet recital (for 2 and a half hours!), listening to the solo at the Christmas program at school (choosing to ignore the feedback on the microphone), seeing the little leaguers first home run (inside the park no less) and seeing the blue ribbon at the science fair (who knew staying up till midnight helping build a volcano could be so rewarding?). Who else applauds when a toddler goes pee in the potty or a kindergartener ties her own shoes?
At bedtime, when chubby arms come around your neck and a little voice says “I wuv you Mommy!” no amount of compensation in the world could tear you away from this job. Seeing the surprise on a child’s face on Christmas morning, wiping the tears as your 6 year old giggles because he just lost his first tooth, having your student run from the bus stop to tell you first that she just got the big part in the school play, or watching as your young man or woman walks to the podium in cap and gown is matchless joy.
I wouldn’t trade a moment. I have the feeling that millions of other moms across the globe feel just the same way.