Monday, November 9, 2009
The questionnaire came compliments of the American Girl Magazine -- great magazine, by the way. Cara loves interaction, activities, anything that promotes togetherness. She's very bright, creative and fun to be with.
At any rate, Cara had this "get to know you" questionnaire, and one night before bed, she asked me if we could do it together. So, I climbed up onto Cara's bed, and she handed me my form while she held hers.
The point was to fill in the blanks about the other person in order to discover how much you really knew about her. Some of the questions were: What is your daughter/parent's dream destination? What is your daughter/parent's favorite color? Who is your daughter/parent's hero? What does your daughter want to be when she grows up?, and the corresponding question to "what does your daughter want to be when she grows up" was on Cara's form, and read, "What is your parent's occupation?"
I glanced over the questions, and Cara and I lay on her bed with pens in hand, surveys ready. When we finished answering the questions, we went back and forth telling each other what we had written down for the other. Cara knew that my dream destination is Hawaii. I knew that Cara's dream destination is New York. We both did a pretty good job getting our answers right. We know each other pretty well :>) We also learned a little about each other too.
That said, in regard to the question: "What is your parent's occupation?" Cara wrote the word "nothing"! WHAT!!? NOTHING?! For a second, I was speechless, a little hurt and definitely feeling under appreciated. I decided, though, to use this as a "teachable moment."
I explained to Cara that my occupation is a mother. Being a mother is a job, and it's very important. Cara replied, "Mom, that's not a real job!" Oh, boy. My blood started to boil, and I'm sure my face was beat red with anger and confusion (how could she not know that "mom" is a job). Instead of getting angry, though, I decided that I must not be doing a very good job at my job... at least not in communicating the significance of mom.
So, Cara sat and listened while I explained the importance and significance of being a mom. I told Cara, "Honey, being a mom is a full-time job. It's not a job you get money for, but it's a job that continues for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week -- forever. Once a mom... always a mom." I described the hats that I wear to Cara. I'm a cook, a housekeeper, a taxi driver, a listener, a doctor (of sorts), a dog trainer, a lunch maker, a gardener, a decorator, a laundress (on occasion, as Don really does the wash), a mender of the broken-hearted, a travel agent, a buyer (clothes, groceries, etc.), an activity planner... I could go on and on. It didn't take long for Cara to get the point.
While I know that Cara's intentions weren't to slight me and my position as a mom, I did want her to understand the undeniable significance of being a mother, the value in staying home to raise the kids. My salary is not monetary. My benefits are not $10 co-pays.
As a mom I earn a "salary" in terms of my children's welfare and well being, how each adjusts in society and how each treats others, and ultimately what kind of men/women each turns out to be (at least to some extent). As a mom, it is my job to raise my children into adulthood, and I want to do it with intentionality, compassion, love, patience, gentleness, kindness, honor, goodness, respect, all the while teaching each one life lessons and and how to learn from our mistakes, hardships, and even heartaches. What job could be more important? What job could have more significance and influence in our society? There is no comparison.
My benefits as a mom include hugs and kisses, the "I love you's" at 18 months, 8, 18, 28 and beyond. They also include precious time together -- walks, talks, and, yes, even surveys and questionnaires! The benefits go way beyond even my ability to imagine them. The benefits are endless and incomparable.
I told Cara that my dream job as a little girl was to be a mom. Many women have careers in addition to their careers as moms; however, I'm only talking about me here. "So," I told Cara, "I'm living my dream." I'm blessed beyond measure, beyond understanding, beyond belief. Truly my cup runneth over when all things good and bad are considered.
As moms, we take the good with the bad, the beautiful with the ugly, the impossible with the possible. The profession of mom is no less valuable than the profession of doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief, :>)etc. The job of mom is a lifetime of commitment and, for me, a dream come true.
Cara and I chatted a little more, finished revealing our survey results and hugged each other while I tucked her in bed (benefits!) Before I left, though, Cara said, "Mom, I was going to put FaceBook as your job." WHAT?!
That's a whole 'nother story...