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I do my best thinking in the shower.

Now, I’m sure there are many medical reasons why this is possible- maybe the warm water increases circulation or the water pressure from the shower head helps knead out the stress from my shoulders, which lowers my blood pressure and THAT helps with better circulation.

I personally think, though that it has nothing to do with medical reasons and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that its the ONE place in this house where I can hear myself think without fear of interruption.  With the water raining down on me, it drowns out the incessant pestering.  For the 5 minutes I get to take for myself, I get a chance to recoop and relax.

Yes, 5 minutes.  I learned long ago how to take “Army showers”.  5 minutes is the perfect amount of time to get the necessary stuff done while ensuring I’m not gone long enough for fires, explosions, or massive bodily harm to occur with the boys.

It IS long enough, however, to get some serious thinking done, and today I was thinking about my life.

Its amazing to me how we measure ourselves by what we are rather than who we are as individuals.  People in our lives- not our personalities- usually define us.  I  get it- its difficult to really find a distinction

  • I have kids- I’m a mom.
  • I have a husband- I’m a wife

We even measure ourselves by what and who we are NOT.  In my case, I’m not a career driven woman- I’m a stay at home mom.  I’m not like my brother and sister, with their medical field goals- I’m…

What?  Lacking a true career path?  Lazy?  Without ambition?  Settling?  Ordinary?

During those precious 5 minutes, I thought about who I really was- not according to others or labels thrust upon me- but ME.  What makes me, me?

  • I’m outgoing.
  • I’m sarcastic.
  • I’m a wanna-be chef.
  • I’m goofy.
  • I’m friendly.
  • I’m a neat freak.
  • I’m determined.
  • I’m sensitive.

Its true- I’m also ordinary.  My job is SO ordinary and boring that -not only do I NOT get paid for it- but most people don’t even want to waste time writing it out, so they write SAHM.  Its not considered a career choice; its an in-between- something you do when you’re in between jobs.

I’m called a “housewife” which -horror of horrors- evokes images of Peggy Bundy, sitting on a couch, eating Bon Bons.  Even worse, that’s what MANY people imagine when I tell them what I do for a living.  I’m curious about the title “housewife”, by the way.  No one ever refers to a woman as a “workwife”.  Its funny- even as I’m writing this, my computer recognizes “housewife” as a real word and there’s a red squiggly line under “workwife”.

I’m asked frequently when I’m planning on “going back to work”, as if I’m on vacation.  If this is vacation, I’ve been gypped. 

I’m just sayin’. 

I’m also told constantly about work at home opportunities- because I’m OBVIOUSLY not busy throughout the day.  I get it, times are hard and they know I’m not getting paid for what I do, but when I WAS working, we managed to still have money troubles, so what it looks like to me is that #1- you always find a way to do what you REALLY want to do, #2- a lot of money does NOT equal financial security, and #3- God apparently thinks pretty highly of our decision to have me stay at home because He always makes a way for us to get by.

Its true- I’m an ordinary, SAHM and housewife.  Just so we’re clear on what my “non-job” entails, though:

  • I’m a referee, breaking up fights.
  • I’m a cop, determining who’s at fault.
  • I’m a judge, deciding the punishment.
  • I’m a nurse, aiding the wounded.
  • I’m a chauffeur, driving to and fro.
  • I’m a nanny, taking care of kids.
  • I’m a day care provider, taking care of my kids’ friends when they’re over.
  • I’m a maid, cleaning constantly.
  • I’m a cook, feeding the hungry.
  • I’m a sales clerk, trying to get my kids to buy what I’m selling.
  • I’m a banker, lending money to my kids.
  • I’m a pastor, teaching my kids about God.
  • I’m a spin doctor, putting a twist on any bad situation.
  • I’m a lawyer, defending my kids.
  • I’m a pet store owner, taking care of our cat and fish.
  • I’m a plumber, cleaning hair and toys out of drains.
  • I’m a hairdresser, fixing cowlicks and constructing “faux hawks”.
  • I’m a teacher, helping my kids learn.
  • I’m an event coordinator, putting together birthday parties and such.
  • I’m a hostess, welcoming friends and family into my home constantly.
  • I’m a therapist, listening to people’s issues and helping them through it.
  • I’m a drill sergeant.
  • I’m a mommy group organizer.
  • I’m a friend.
  • I’m a daughter.
  • I’m a wife.
  • I’m raising 3 of tomorrow’s best and brightest men.
  • I’m a mom.

And all this WITHOUT getting paid.

Maybe ordinary is really quite extraordinary.

Self Esteem? What’s that?

I’ve figured out that becoming a mom can really mess with your self-esteem.

Sure, you did something that no man could do- and kudos to you for doing it!- but I’m pretty sure- no, I’m positive- that if men were actually ABLE to give birth, the human race would have ended with Cain…

and I’m not so sure I would have blamed Adam in the least.

So, maybe boasting about my ability to run the race that is “labor and delivery” is less of an accomplishment and more of a walking, talking testament to my insanity.  When you really think about it, all moms are masochists.  Even if you didn’t willingly go through labor or a c-section- if you took the adoption route- you still made a conscious decision to let your heart walk around outside of your body.  If that’s not asking for pain, I don’t know what is.

And then, after its all said and done, not only do you have a baby to show for your efforts, but now you have many other “badges of honor”: bags under your eyes from lack of sleep, a saggy stomach, stretch marks, and swollen- well, yeah.  I’m actually in awe of the women I hear about with kids only 10 months apart- with them, for WANTING their husbands near them so soon after, but also with their husbands, for not being scared off.

Me?  I did everything but put up a barbed wire fence around my side of the bed.

Of course, my husband is wonderful.  He tells me I’m beautiful everyday.  I love his dishonesty.  Its like that song that says “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies”- it NEARLY changes my perception of myself momentarily when I look in the mirror.

Nearly.

Until my  sweet, honest 4 year old climbs onto my lap and says,”I love how fluffy you are, Mom.”