Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Occupation You Can't Get A Degree For

I love that store in the mall, Motherhood Maternity. You walk in and the clerk greets you with, "Welcome to Motherhood." It always takes me back and makes me smile. How theatrical it would've been to hear someone say that the day I stepped into the real life of motherhood. But nobody needed to say anything; reality was screaming it and has been every since.

I thought I was ready to get married and start a family when Toby asked my dad if he could court me. I thought I was. In many ways I was. I was good at what I did and compared to a lot of girls my age, I was more than good: I was experienced.

I could cook. I could cook without a recipe. I could cook meals and put them in the freezer. I could plan menus. I could by food in bulk. I knew the best prices. I could can the food I cooked. I loved cooking and baking.

I could clean. I could clean fast. I could organize and clean. I could disinfect and clean. I could bleach without getting it on my clothes. I could clean charred ovens by hand. I could clean toilets and loved it. I could clean grimy sinks and loved it. My two favorite things to clean were (and still are) toilets and sinks.

I could do laundry. I could run a top loader with a sud saver. I could run a top loader without a sud saver. I could run a front loader. I could do 14 loads of laundry a week in a wringer wash machine and then hang it by hand in the basement. I could make laundry soap. I could be frugal about laundry.

I could babysit. I could babysit for days on end by myself with no adults around. I could take care of kids without flinching. I was a natural with small children.

I could change diapers. I could change disposable diapers and cloth diapers. I could make home made wet wipes and use them. I could change diapers for years on end without thinking twice about it.

I could give bottles. Take temperatures. Administer breathing treatments. Look for good color in a baby's skin. Feed children. Garden. Farm. Milk goats. Sew. Quilt. Organize. Run a household. etc.

And then I got married. And had a baby. And I found I was a novice. Completely unprepared. I had no idea motherhood was as heavy a load as it is. Not that it doesn't have it's joys and blessings (it has more than I thought possible) but it is the hardest occupation anyone can pursue.

I had this comment in my comment box recently from a reader who's daughter-in-law is in the throes of motherhood right now....

"She had a problematic day yesterday. All was going well, and in 5 minutes everything fell apart. Is there a high school class for this profession?"

I couldn't agree more. There should be a class for it. Or an entire school. Or at least some time in a boot camp. Seriously.

If a man is going to cut into your brain, he will first go to school for it. If a woman is going to draw blood from your arm, she will first go to school for it. If a man is going to fly to the moon, he will first go to school for it. If a woman is going to teach your kids their ABC's, she will first go to school for it. If a man joins the army, he will first spend weeks of intense training before going into battle. If a woman is going to decorate your house, she will first go to school for it. If a man cooks you a meal at a fancy restaurant, he will first go to school for it. All these occupations require training, learning and provide the student with much information. They also usually guarantee some type of retirement so that in the end, you're prepared to live off your past income.

But, if you decide to spend the next 25 years of your life working night and day, everyday of the week putting on band aids, enduring pregnancy and labor, explaining to your 3 year old why the moon can't sit in the back yard, cooking three meals a day, taking care of your house, saving the life of your 2 year old five times a day and staying up most of the night with your baby, you're on your own. There is no school for you honey. If you can't figure something out, sorry. Just keep trying; you'll get it at some point. Whether you succeed or fail, you won't be paid with money either.

Though motherhood is not a job you can get a degree for beforehand, it's definitely a school within itself; the School of Learning. And we all know we can never graduate from Learning. From what I've learned though, it's the most rewarding job a mom can have. I'd have to admit that though Motherhood is hard and can be unsuspecting at times, it's highly under rated. You have no idea the joy at the end of the day when you look at the day behind you and see what all it held. "Her works shall praise her," is enough of a reward for me.


Pat VE said...

I didn't read your blog yesterday, but my heart resonates with what you say. Just a story from 1971 and our first precious baby. He was a month early, severely jaundiced and by all reasons should have been lethargic. His routine was to spend as much of the day awake and from 11 pm until close to morning, crying. We lived in an apartment with a keyhole peek thing. About 2:00am when he was just wailing, my husband sound asleep, I heard a knock on the door, and it was my black neighbor lady. A well seasoned mother. I invited her in. She just held my precious baby and suggested Cat Nip tea. I didn't have any, but her concern and soothing demeanor quieted the restless ones. Sometime the Lord sends His comfort in times, and in ways when we least expect it. I know that mothers with young kids need not only their bolster of credentials, but the Master and the Master plan. He is writing the curricula for our lives. His love is exceeding wonderful.
By the way, have a very happy anniversary. Is it today?
Love in Him, Pat

Anonymous said...

Great post, and could've been me writing in many ways! Although I didn't get married young, and had been a foster parent, so had even more experience handling kids and a household than you had. Should've been no sweat to get married and step into wifehood, step-motherhood,and very soon pregnancy and (biological) motherhood....right? Hmm, well some of the adjustments DID surprise me quite a bit! Surprising that after 22 babies previously in my care, I could act like a worried-sick first-time mother over my baby. Where did all that confident knowledge go? Surprising that it took some adjusting to having to cook a solid meal for a husband and 3 boys EVERY night! (When it's just yourself and little kids, you find shortcuts!) And parenting now near-teenage boys is uncharted territory.(We'll leave it at that!) Wow. Still though, I love my life and wouldn't trade it. But I do identify with you!!

Anonymous said...

I keep forgetting I have to sign my name when I do an "anonymous" comment. That last one and this one are from me...

Jean said...

Another reward will come a little further down the road when "Her children rise up and call her blessed."

After the children have passed the teen years and get to be adults and realize more of the facts.

Anonymous said...

Came across your blog today. Just loved reading through this..
God bless,