Do you feel like just a mum?
I feel bombarded with social messages that tell me that being a stay-at-home mum isn't good enough.
There seems to be a consistent devaluing of mothers who choose to stay at home to nurture their children beyond a certain age.
It's isolating, confusing and simply confidence-crushing.
In one breath we hear conversations where mothers are criticised for not going back to work early enough to support their families.
Yet in another breath we hear criticisms about mothers not being available for their children, relying on daycare and TV-babysitting to get their work done.
Mums can't win.
These subversive criticisms lead me to the point where I was embarrassed to admit that I was just a mother at social functions.
When "What do you do?" is the first question you're asked when meeting new people, replying that you're a mother is like a road block to the conversation. It's a no-through-road.
Desperate for a grown-up conversation I'd tell a story about my latest day at the 'office'. I'd eagerly and proudly describe my childrens' latest antics and explain my biggest challenges. Curious expressions would quickly change to forced smiles and nods until eventually the conversation was shut down.
Apparently I had less to contribute to the conversation.
My vocation was uninteresting, unintelligent and boring.
I found myself introducing myself as just a mother. By doing this I was immediately publicly undermining my role as a mum, despite it being the most important position a woman can be bestowed - but that's a whole other blog post.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I felt compelled to add the 'just' to my mothering role. I was devaluing myself before anyone else had the chance to.
It's no wonder I found myself confused, undervalued and having an identity crisis.
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
Being just a Mum, isn't good enough...
Because of experiences like this I felt the need to do more.
Despite already working part-time for our family business, I began a public blog and was soon focusing on what career direction I wanted to head in.
Soon enough I began developing my own business, despite my children only being preschoolers, and requiring still a great deal of care.
And now that I have a career focus I am receiving feedback that makes me feel like a more valued member of society. People take more interest in what I am doing. As if I have something more valuable to contribute because I'm earning an income and work outside of the home.
Does that mean raising and nurturing my children, our future leading generation is not valuable? Is it unimportant?
I think as a society we need to be very careful about how we treat and honour mothers, and fathers too. Staying at home to care for children is a huge and apparently thankless job, that I for one appreciate.