Editor's note: This post by Erica Layne originally appeared on her blog, Let Why Lead. It has been reprinted here with permission.
It came at the bottom of an email. One well-intended parting line that — I’m guessing — would make mothers everywhere cringe. I had emailed her in relation to another venture I’m pursuing. And even though I manage my apartment building, write a blog and am starting another website, I still introduced myself as a stay-at-home mom. It’s who I am. Her closing words:
“Kudos to you for being productive as a stay at home mom.”
Now this isn’t a post to highlight how different my life and hers may be. This certainly isn’t a post to lament how misunderstood we stay-at-home moms are or a post that makes any comment on the choice to stay home or to work. But stay with me, and I’ll show you what this post is.
I barely sit down during the course of a day. Pedometers are afraid of me. I cycle toys around the house and sweep floors that will instantly be dirty again. I have (excuse my language) wiped up more pee than anyone should in a lifetime. In four and a half years, I produced three children from my womb.
But it goes deeper.
I’m there whenever my daughter wakes from a nap in her crib. She looks at me as if she’s surprised every. time. my face appears above hers. (Don’t worry, Baby. I’ll always come.)
I agree in solemnity with my 3-year-old when he tells me that superheroes don’t have to scoot their bums back when their moms are trying to buckle them into car seats. (We take superheroes seriously around here.)
I celebrate with my kindergartener over every new friend he makes. We’re three weeks in, and he is apparently up to “six friends!”
But it goes deeper still.
When my child wants to wear the robot shirt day after day, because it gives him confidence at school, I will let go of my controlling tendencies and wash that shirt as much as he needs.
As my children grow, I’ll get interested in their interests. I’ll take away their phones. I’ll do my best to draw out the good, and I’ll dust them off when they fall.
I’ll watch with open eyes and an open heart so that I can know them. I will try to let go of whom I think they should be and embrace whomever they become.
I am raising children who will grow into people with the potential to cure a disease or write legislation or bring a village water. I am raising children who will grow into adults who may do me the greatest honor by choosing to raise children themselves.
We may get to take the occasional power nap in the middle of the day, and I’m quite sure we spend more time at parks than the average adult. Sometimes, when the kids are finally snug in their beds and the remnants of dinner are piled in the sink, we look around and wonder what in the world we got done that day.
But we are raising human beings.
So someone tell me — tell all of us moms — does it get more productive than that?