Just a Mom

It all started when I nearly threw up on Governor Gray Davis. THAT, I believe, is THE moment I went from award winning reporter to Mommy. In one quick flash of morning sickness, I changed roles and my life was no longer the same. And I’ve been struggling with my identity ever since.

If you’ve read my blog for more than a day, you know I am having trouble with my current title. No, not Queen. I’ve always been one of those…but Mom. Let me just type the BIG disclaimer now, before I really get rolling: I would not and will not give up being a stay at home mom to go pursue my career. I KNOW what I do is more important. And I am LUCKY to have the means and the husband to make it all happen. I love my children. I love my life and I am so very thankful. Now…with that aside…

I can’t seem to reconcile the career woman in me and the mommy in me. They are fighting. And on any given day, career woman beats the hell out of mommy and mommy beats the hell out of career woman. I have this battle in my head all the time, but it hit me a little harder while at the Kaiser’s work recently. I packed up the minivan and drove down for lunch to show off the little ones and give Daddy a nice break in his day. Then I was asked THAT question. The one I get asked ALL THE TIME in any sort of social situation:

“So, what do you do?”

More times than not I nod my head in the direction of the destructive toddler pulling leaves off the office greenery or some such thing and say “you’re looking at it.”

Why does it make me feel inferior? Like I’m admitting I do nothing all day, living off my husband’s sweat and tears. When clearly anyone who has spent more than 3 minutes with kids knows this job is much harder than interviewing any politician. Yet for some reason it was much more satisfying to tell people or, better yet–when my husband would beat me to the punch and chime in “she’s a reporter over at KFWB…”

There were some comments in my “Stepford Wife” post about how many of us wonder how we got here. And let’s not imply we don’t LOVE here. Because we all love here. Its just…here doesn’t come with the title or the paycheck, and, I’ll say it-the respect. And despite the fact I know I’ve made the right decision for me and my family, I still feel small some days. “Just” a Mom. Am I failing? Am I supposed to be more? Am I supposed to do it all? Is that what we were taught?

I don’t want to make this a whiney “where’s the recognition for how hard it is to be a Mom” post. Its not. Its more just a rambling of my own feelings of NOT being comfortable in this role just yet. About trying to find my identity and defining who I am these days. Soccer Mom? Stepford wife? Former wage earner? Ex-newswoman? I think I’ll just stick with Queen and call it a day.


  1. Hmmm. I feel pretty today. Thank you web divas!

  2. I really do know what you mean. Even though I was never really happy with my job, and I was more than happy to leave it behind, I do still feel uncomfortable with the “what do you do” question. Or even worse, when my old coleagues ask me “so what exactly do you do all day?”. Ummm, I puree baby food, change diapers, feed Pumpkin, do the laundry, clean the house, make funny faces at my daughter while she giggles her addorable head off… Kind of hard to get them to understand how happy I am being there every day for my little Pumpkin, how I take care of my family and my home and it is really the best and hardest job ever.

    BTW, I love the new design

  3. YES! Its even worse when that question comes with that twinge of “so you just sit on your ass?” feeling to it! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to reporting (never say never) but its hard to shake that uncomfortable feeling when that question is thrown out there…

  4. Nice new skin you’re wearing, Queen! How’d you like working with the Web Divas? I’m thinking the Pail needs a drastic redo as well. That template is boring and oh so sloooow loading.

    So you’re feeling a bit of a conflict between the different yous, hmm? I can definitely relate.

    For me, it’s not so much the clueless nonbreeders and their “what do you DO all day?” questions as it is my own frustration over not having enough time to pursue all the projects I left half-finished before becoming a mom. I feel like a big part of my identity is tied to completing those projects, because I’ve invested a lot of time in them and feel I need to recoup something from my investment. I want the satisfaction of completing them so I can move forward with my life and focus on other pursuits.

    But of course, when you’re a mom, your time is not your own and I guess that’s just something that all of us must struggle to deal with.

  5. YESS DAME that’s it tooo! Like I’m on hold. Permanent hold.

    The divas were great. They were very easy to work with, I had a vision, and they made it happen. And they are NOT that expensive! A bonus.

  6. I know what you are, and it involves turkey pot pies…

  7. You are such a dork. Dorkus Malorkus.

  8. First – let me say, I love your new look, girl! That tiara is perfect.

    Don’t worry about what other people “think” when they ask “what do you do?” Unless someone is a parent themselves, they cannot fully understand that what you are doing is harder than any job out there, yet the most rewarding. You don’t owe them any explanations, anyway!

    I have to work, for financial reasons. But, I choose to work midnights so that I can be home during the day, every day, with my kids. Yep, I’m sleep deprived most of the time, but it’s worth it.

    You sacrificed what sounds like a really cool career for your little ones, and that probably makes it hard sometimes for you. But it’s worth it, and it will be even more worth it in the end, when they are grown up and have all the memories of their mommy being with them, rather than a nanny.

    Be proud of yourself, girl 🙂

  9. Most days I’m proud as hell! But some days…well, I have moments. Talk about sacrifing…Laurie YOU should be very proud too! I used to do early mornings 41m-12pm. I can’t imagine nights. Coffee. Yummy coffee.

  10. occasionally one of my husbands snotty little witch with a b coworkers will say “and what do YOU do” at first i said, i take care of my kids, unlike your snotty little heathens who go to day care because you care more about your suv than your son. but my husband said that was horrible of me so now i just tell them that i am devoting all of my attention to raising the next generation, i want my kids to know they have the love and support of thier family, not just an empty house and a little brass key on a shoelace around thier neck. i wouldnt give it up for a dream career either!

  11. Oh I feel ya’ Dak-Ind. Try having that conversation with the Mom with the Nanny/personal trainer/coke habit while she wears a size 0.

  12. I think all working women turned full time Mom go through this. My wife still goes through many of these same thoughts.

    Hats off to you and all full time Moms. Hardest job in the world? Oh yeah!!!

  13. I’m a working mom of 1 beautiful boy who is grateful to my son’s family caregiver for reinforcing the lessons my husband and I teach him. Like to be polite and share and love his fellow man. I nursed him until he was a year old and went through the hell of pumping at work so his “nana” could feed him breast milk. I am lucky to have a flexible employer who was once a working mom and lets me change my schedule when necessary. I don’t work so I can have an SUV and a personal trainer, I work because I have to. I also work so that my son knows it’s ok for women to have a career AND a family, and so I’m a better mom to him when I get home. My husband doesn’t make enough money for me to stay home, nor does he get any benefits like health insurance. Although I know that stay-at-home moms probably work much harder than I do on a daily basis (I once spent a week with my sister-in-law and her three kids), and while I envy stay-at-home moms I am happy where I am, too. I love the Royal Family and I’m very happy you are where you are in life(except for being on the opposite coast). I’m sorry that you have experienced a perceived lack of respect for your profession at the hands of jealous, snotty, ladder-climbing people. I can assure you that us normal midwestern folk don’t feel that way!

  14. Had that feeling this weekend, while visiting my husband’s new office. I missed it – the ‘corporateness’ of it all. I’m over it now, but for a brief moment, I could have run to the nearest cube and made myself busy.

  15. I’m like K – work ’cause I have to. And I get frustrated when the opposite occurs – when people *don’t* ask me what I do because they incorrectly assume that my husband is the primary breadwinner. Grrr … we can’t win either way, can we?

  16. thank you for supporting the health, balance, and happiness of the next generation.

    have you seen “the incredibles?” on the bonus disk, there’s a scene that got cut, with helen parr ripping (to SHREDS) a working lady snot face for poo-pooing being “just” a mom… i agree with brad bird. there is not a thing on this earth more important than the job you’re adjusting to right now. i wish you the best of luck.

  17. Ok, here is what I’ve learned since becoming a mother — no matter what you do, someone will think you’re doing it wrong. Guilt will follow whatever choice you make. I was a SAHM for four years, just went back to work full time two months ago. I can totally see both sides of this issue — and yes, staying home is harder! As mothers we feel like we have to defend and justify whatever decisions we make so that others don’t perceive us as “bad mothers”. This drives me nuts! Most of us are just trying to do the best we can, and I don’t think we can judge other mothers on the basis of how long they breastfeed, if they work, if they feed their kids sugary cereals in front of the tv…Hmmm, not that MY children would eat only the marshmallows out of a bowl of Lucky Charms while rotting in front of Spongebob Squarepants, while I’m busy blogging…MY kids wouldn’t be allowed to do that because then I’d be a BAD MOTHER!!! Ok, I’m babbling now, love your blog and your new look!

  18. GOD! I LOVE that everyone..Moms, not moms. wannabe moms, older moms, younger moms, working moms all joined in on this discussion. It makes me feel so very NOT alone on these issues!

  19. Love the new look, I won the pimp my blog contest so my site is being redone as we speak 🙂
    I know what you mean totally about the just a mom (mum) thing.
    Been there done that for the last 19 years 😀

  20. It takes time. I know it took me awhile to adjust and realize that I had something to say when people asked what I did. You have a lot of support out here!

  21. Queen – it makes me feel less alone, too. I cheat when asked by giving a big schpiel (sp?) about “well, I’m at home with our son right now but next semester I’m starting grad school and I would ideally like to be a Lit prof or an editor or…” blah, blah, blah. Why oh why do I feel the need to validate my reason for being at home raising my son? This post SO hit home, so thanks… Apparently there are a lot of us who have felt this way!

  22. I just stumbled on this blog & discussion following the Promapalooza links.

    It’s good to hear so many other moms who have the same struggles I do. I feel like moms who work or stay home all get heaps of undeserved crap from just about everybody. I personally hate answering the question,”What do you do?” because my simple answer leads to either an awkward silence or unfounded assumptions about everything from my ambitions to my political beliefs. And I hate giving a longer answer because then I sound defensive. And on top of it all, I was quite ambitious in my youth and whenever I run into anyone who went to school with me, or worse, a former teacher, I feel like a disappointment (Smart Girl married a professional instead of becoming a professional herself).

    LOL about glamorous moms with personal trainers, nannies, housekeepers and probable eating disorders. I actually know a few SAHMs who do all of the above. Kind of funny (well, other than the eating disorders).

  23. This was an absolutely lovely post. I followed through Housewife Mafia (doesn’t that ring rock!!) and I appreciate your well presented thoughts on this age-old issue. I so relate, I really do. I think we all do, no matter where we are in life. The whole “what do you do” question popped up at a party the other night, after I’d been involved in a good conversation with someone for about thirty minutes. When I said I stayed at home with my three kids, it nearly cleared the room. The person I was talking to was obviously not impressed, and practically turned bodily away from me.

    Jerk! Besides being p.o’ed at him, I was also saddened by his ignorance. Cause I’m cool, and worth knowing… being a mom doesn’t mean you’re not a person.

    Whoa, didn’t mean to go on so much! Great topic to open up. Thanks!

    Shannon- at http://apog.nolablogs.org

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