I have heard women when introducing themselves say something like: “I am Ms. XYZ, a working mom…” and I wondered if the answer to the question “What do you do?” Shouldn’t be “I am Ms. XYZ, I am a …. (you say what your profession or business is)? We don’t get to hear men saying “I am Mr. ABC, a working dad” ever, so why women? I have often wondered what the motive behind it is. It seems all moms with the exception of a few are Working Moms! And with that came all manner of terms for the sake of those who don’t quite fit in, like Stay-At- Home-Moms (SAHM), Work-At-Home-Moms (WAHM), and then Moms in Business, career mom, momprenuers… and more to come.
Who really is a Working Mom? What do you tell people you do? How do you define yourself? With confidence or with a lack of it?
Let’s hear what a few moms had to say:
“Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I guess, SAHM is just easy for most moms to identify with, though it almost gives an idea that you are just at home – not working. When I worked full time, I never said I was a working mom I responded with my profession. Now that I work only a few hours out of the home, I don’t know how to respond. Usually, I just joke and make something up.”
“You know I never really thought about it. However, now you have me thinking ….I guess I will need some more time to think about it.”
“Just a mom? I can’t stand it when people say, “You’re JUST a Mom” Yes, I’m a mom and a damn good one. That makes me an alarm clock, cook, maid, waitress, teacher, nurse, referee, handyman, security officer, counsellor, chauffeur, event planner, hairdresser, PA, ATM and I scare the boogie man away. I don’t get paid holidays, sick pay or get days off. I work day and night. I’m on call 24/7 for the rest of my life. That’s just BEING A MOM! I may not be anything, but I’m everything to someone.”
I got the last response from social media, and it sounded like someone was frustrated at being called just a ‘Mom’, with all she has to do? Maybe ‘Working Mom’ would have made her feel a little better. And we ask “What is in a name?”
Let’s take a look at the definition of ‘work’: To do a specific task by employing physical or mental powers. Ok, got that. We all know the definition of Mom don’t we? Just in case, a mom is female parent, a person who performs the act of mothering – nurturing, protecting, and caring for her child.
So if we put the two together – A working mom is a female parent engaged in physical or mental activity to do a specific task while nurturing, protecting and caring for her child/ren.
But that is really not the definition we are all used to right? Take a look at this:
Working Mom, as a label, refers to a woman who is a mother and who works outside the home for income in addition to the work she performs at home in raising her children.
You will observe that in the first definition of work, it does not state where ‘work’ takes place, that means it can be anywhere – at home or outside the home. It also does not say there must be some form of payment or reward for the work done. But over time, the term ‘Working Mom’ has been accepted as a woman with children working outside the home and earning a living. That is to say a woman with children working at home (basically taking care of the home) and not making any money is NOT regarded as a Working Mom. So, a lot of women who fell in this category were left without a title with all their hard work and no pay, so to speak.
Imagine your child was asked at school to say what his mommy does, and when he comes home the first question he asks you is, “Mommy, what do you do?” For moms working at a job or doing business it’s not a big deal, but for an ‘at-home-mom’ it’s a hell of a question!
To be honest, it probably doesn’t matter on a daily basis but it does matter when it comes to respect, equality and evolving in the 21st century. And I know that whatever we call ourselves, that is what we will be called. You could just say whatever comes to your mind, but if you find that you are totally lost, just borrow this from Susan Heid of The Confident Mom:
I OVERSEE THE MOST IMPORTANT ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD WHERE HUNDREDS OF DECISIONS ARE MADE DAILY
WHERE PROPERTY AND RESOURCES ARE MANAGED
WHERE HEALTH AND NUTRITION NEEDS ARE DETERMINED
WHERE FINANCES AND FUTURE ARE DISCUSSED AND DEBATED
WHERE PROJECTS ARE PLANNED AND EVENTS ARE ARRANGED
WHERE TRANSPORTATION AND SCHEDULING ARE CRITICAL
WHERE TEAM BUILDING IS A PRIORITY
WHERE CAREERS BEGIN AND END.
POSITION: I AM A FAMILY MANAGER!
Don’t go cramming the whole job description ready to burst out at the next person who asks you what you do, they are there to give you a sense of worth in what you do as a mom, which no one bothers to describe so nicely this way.
You are a Family Manager, a Working Mom, SAHM, WAHM whatever, but the confidence and pride with which you say it is what really matters.
Enjoy your work moms!