Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just Mom

My son is currently in the midst of a leadership workshop, and for one of the excercises, he was asked to list three people he knew that he considered to be leaders.

He came up with one, but said that he couldn't think of anyone else.

His father said, "Well, you know your mother is a great leader.  She really knows how to work with people and get the best out of them."

He, of course, was referencing my past work history, with a lot of it being supervisory in nature.  Hell, when I worked for world-famous think tank, everybody and their mother thought I was the bomb.  Hubba-hubba was also thinking of all the coaching I have done.

My son, bless his heart, (and I say that truly, not in the sarcastic Southern sense) replied with a disbelieving snort, "MOM? She doesn't lead anybody.  All she does is stay at home at watch my sister all day long."

And this, friends, would be the truth.

I don't lead anybody, and he was referring to the Mom he has known throughout his life, not the Mom that was Gina before he and his sister came along.

And for a moment, I was saddened that that was all my son thought of me.

Just a glorified babysitter, apparently.

But then I remembered that I CHOSE this role.  He knows many, many women who work outside the home (including his aunt and grandmother) so it isn't as if he thinks all women are good for is childcare.

He had no clue how his words stung me for that minute or so, but I can hope that in looking back on what I chose to do for him and his sister, he will be appreciative rather than scornful.

I hope.


Liz said...

I remember when I got my first, very tiny part time job after kids. My oldest was about 7 and when I told her about the job she said something like, "oh good! now when people ask 'what does you mom do?' I'll have something to tell them."

I'll never forget it, and yeah, it stung a bit.

And yes, they do grow up to appreciate all that you have done for them. Trust me on that.

Anvilcloud said...

You lead your family.

Ted said...

That does sting. But like you said, you chose this role, and he will understand the sacrifices you made as a parent. Maybe not today, but not too far in the future. Then it'll be clear to him what kind of leader you are.

marvel said...

Ouch. Is your son maybe a little jealous of all the attention his sister is currently receiving? His comment that "all she does is...watch my sister" sounds like he might feel overlooked at times--in other words, the comment isn't about your outside work/home life balance so much as it is about your son/daughter balance.

Also I think your husband should have some quality time with him, and explain what you gave up when you chose to be home with him--not to induce guilt, but just to inform him. Kids need reminders that their parents had lives before them and have lives beyond them. It's not good for them to think they are the center of anyone's universe! And your son needs to know that he once occupied the kind of attention his sister now requires, even if he doesn't remember it.

Also, I still think you ought to volunteer as an assistant coach for his volleyball league. It was volleyball, right?

Nance said...

Please try not to let it bother you too terribly. I was a high school English teacher for 30 years. My students--and I taught the gifted for the final 12 years of my career--still thought all I did was wander in and chat off the top of my head each day. Many of them had zero idea what had gone into the tests, quizzes, lessons, and activities I had created for them. Few realized that I rarely used The Teacher Edition of anything. Those that clamored, "I want to be a teacher!" soon abandoned it after less than a year in college, telling me that I and my colleagues had "made it look so easy!"

Kids rarely appreciate what you really do when you are good at it or it simply is woven into the fabric of their lives so effortlessly that they have come to take it for granted. It is actually a compliment to you.

When he is older, and you tell him what your first career was before you became his mom, he will be much more aware and appreciative.