“Just a Mom”
Once again, it’s Monday. The start of another work week. Only my work week technically never ended. You see, my name is Christy and I’m a stay at home mom. This means I’m on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No paid vacations, no expense account, no sick days. My company car is a six year old Nissan Rogue which was really cute and practical when I bought it, but has now become too tiny for our family of four plus cargo. My ‘me time’ has been reduced to the two hours (hopefully) of quiet my children allow me during naptime. Time with which I fold laundry, mop the kitchen floor, meal prep, and squeeze in an episode or two of my current Netflix addiction which is at the moment Frasier.
I’ve only ever had two real jobs. Retail, which was six years at a local health food store, and teaching for FWISD. I left my last job teaching kindergarten for nearly a decade after giving birth to my beautiful son. He was born a month before my father’s Parkinson’s put him into the hospital. As my FMLA ran out I sat at my father’s bedside every day, newborn son in tow, and watched my mother-his wife of over 45 years-nurse him tirelessly. Dad was now in home hospice care. Dad had always been responsible, overly cautious, even paranoid my entire life. I asked him if I should quit my job to be with him and mom and give a hand where I could. He said do it, and I did. I had no plan but I never looked back. I was there practically every day, supporting my mother, administering meds, massaging his legs, encouraging him to eat, and soaking up what was left of him. Dad died after six grueling months. Those nurses were amazing, my mom was amazing.
Now three years later I also have a daughter and I’m still at home with my babies. I’m JUST a mom. Now, that sounds horrible because it implies that there is something wanting in the word. The reality is that I’m a firm believer that being a mother or parent for that matter is the single most important job anyone can have. So why the ‘just’?
Well, to be honest, some days I think I was never meant to be a mother. I was happily married six years, making a comfortable living, and working in a career I was pretty good at. My maternal instincts were pretty much satisfied by the twentysomething children I taught and yes, practically mothered five days a week. Really, I had it made. We traveled often, ate out when we wanted, had friends over till the wee hours of the morning, whatever the heart desired we bought. Yet here I sit, dried Cheerios stuck to my shirt, no makeup, hair a mess (did I even put on a bra?). My idea of ‘me time’ went from white zinfandel and pedicures after work with friends to old reruns muted with the captions on and eating an old jar of Nutella while doing housework. I don’t know why it happened but by age 28 I inexplicably felt the undeniable urge to bring…forth…offspring. A year later I did and boy was it a game changer.
I think sometimes I feel like I’m ‘just’ a mom because part of me still mourns the loss of my old identity: thin, young, money to spend and time to burn. Not to mention all of the quality time my husband and I got to spend together alone. But I think these occasional negative feelings are perhaps more of a result of our culture’s expectation of women. We must not only be wonderful mothers and homemakers, but have successful careers, and an exciting social circle all while maintaining an athletic body dressed in designer clothing! Breathe. Maybe some people can, but I could never live up to that standard. When I feel this way I stop, assess, and list all of the things for which I am very grateful. At the top of my list are a black haired, brown eyed three year old boy and a dirty blonde, blue eyed one year old beauty both of whom love me unquestionably. Next on my list is my incredibly supportive husband who always strives to put us first even when other responsibilities beckon. I am grateful dad got to meet his first grandson. Man, am I grateful for my mom. I am grateful that we have the means to allow me to be at home with my children.
So, rather than begrudge the loss of the Christy that once was, I shall learn from my past, embrace my present, and create my future. I have come to the realization that a single person can have many roles in life, and can play them well as long as they have passion and a pure motivation. To be able to share your story and your thoughts in hopes that others can be encouraged by them, I believe, is a worthwhile thing. My name is Christy, and I am many things: a daughter, a wife, a mother and now, a writer.
Written by Christy Ortiz
Fort Worth native, former educator, mommy of two.