So, what do you do?

So what do you do?

I am a mum. Conversation killer, well, it could be a starter depending on who you talk to, but mostly a killer.

At the moment, I am not doing any waged work. I am trying to write articles from my PhD research, but nobody is paying me to do so. I went to a conference recently, but that’s about it. The rest of the time, I manage the house, and I am with r. Since last week, she is doing 3.30 hours at the Montessori. For the last two and a half weeks, she was settling in, which meant she was going one hour, and then extending it slowly by 15 minutes. And I was staying there, waiting for her. So it has only been a few days that I have had my three hours.  And sometimes it is even less, if I take her in the mornings. Luckily, my partner has agreed to take her, but we are still working it out. So yes, mostly full-time mom.

We moved recently, so I am meeting people here and they ask, as anybody would ‘so what do you do? And I am struggling here. I feel the need to explain that I just finished my PhD, that I have done a little bit of consultancy since, but that at the moment I am a mum. But it does not seem enough to be a mum. I think that is quite crap to be honest. I feel like the waiters who shout at you that really, they are actors/comedians/students…but in reality, no, I‘m ‘really’ a mum, and very happy of being one, and hopefully, eventually, I will also have a paid job. But I struggle to just state that nonchalantly. I think these little instances, those uncomfortable moments when I say I am a mum and eyes glaze over, show the diminished view of motherhood, and the (invisible) work that it entails, which is as sorry a state as when working for a wage was shameful in my view…



2 responses to “So, what do you do?

  1. I say I am a reproducer of culture and society (when I’m feeling snarky), that usually garners blank stares. But in all honesty I struggle with this question a lot. I also struggle with the internalized lack of value when I say “I’m JUST a mom”, because sometimes I feel like shit that I don’t do any work for wages (until recently when I have picked up one course to teach at a local college). It is such a tangled web we weave when our identities are linked to a “job” (for lack of a better term) that holds very little cultural value. Motherhood does require huge amounts of invisible (and taken for granted) work.

  2. Great, I will pinch that line! I agree, the problem too is the internalised lack of value. But I think it is hard to not feel that way when everything around you makes that quite clear to you at any opportunity…I guess this is one of the fights that needs to be fought…

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