I'm a full time Mom.
I'm the one up in the night cuddling teary eyed, drippy nosed, little ones with sweaty backs, breathing in staccato from a scary dream.
I'm the one who tenderly nurses a baby so new, he can't support his own head. With a tummy so tiny, it can't hold more than a thimbles worth of milk. And so I wake to feed him, from my own body, four or five times a night. So blurry eyed from exhaustion, I'm close to tears myself.
I'm the one who accomplishes little during the day, when I'm called to snuggle on the couch, by a bright faced, curly haired little one, who can't really speak yet, but knows her favourite board book by heart and "reads" along every time. The one who rushes to flip loads of laundry so we can go to the park before nap time, because it's her favourite part of the day. And because today she's finally gotten brave enough to go down the big slide. So long as I'm waiting at the bottom to catch her.
The one who by four o'clock is so ready for adult company that even Magic School Bus is a welcome companion. And while the first smells of dinner start filling our home, and we snuggle in our blanket on the couch, I know there is absolutely no where else I'd rather be. And nothing else I'd rather be.
That the lack of sleep and the 24 hour nature of motherhood is what makes it so rewarding. That I've earned the title of Mom. From the agony of having them torn from my body. To holding them through the night when they're sick. To the being responsible for them in every possible way, every minute of the day. For their safety, their health, their happiness, their security and emotional well being. The development of their faith. How they'll see and relate to the world. I hold that in my hand. I rock the cradle.
I've dreamt of this since childhood. Since I held plastic, tenderly in my arms, cooing and petting to ensure baby doll was okay. All my life I've wanted this. I didn't crave a pay cheque. I didn't crave promotions or favourable reviews. I don't take offence at the fact that I don't have a "job." Anymore than a fish would take offence that it can't fly. He's a fish. He swims. I'm not an employee, I'm a mother. You don't need to quantify what I'm worth. I know my value. I see it in my children's faces as I read to them. In the safety I bring when they call out in the night. I know I'm a nurse, a teacher, a cleaning lady, cook, chauffeur, etc., etc. You needn't list all I do, because I can promise you, you'll fall short. Because what you can't measure. What is unquantifiable, is who I am. My children's mother. No one can replace me. No one can measure the tasks or chores I complete in a day and put a price on it, because those things are just the busy work of a much bigger goal. The means to an end. I'm raising a child. I'm cultivating the next generation. Preparing souls for eternity. There is no pay appropriate for such a task. One can only look at what I do and put a value on it. And that value is immeasurable.
I'm a full time mother. I'm someone's entire world. They will grow to have loves of their own, children and homes of their own. And each time someone asks them why they do something a certain way, and they respond, "It's just the way my mom did it." That will have been me. When they are kind. When they use good manners, display patience, or understanding. When they look at the world, with calmness and security I will be with them. When they create homes where family is paramount and God is honoured, I am honoured too.
You can't tell me what I'm worth. Don't you dare even try. Money is crass and insulting. I don't labour for you, for recognition, or worst of all, for pay. I labour for the future, for my legacy. I labour out of love. A love that began with conception, was tried with birth, a love that endured and performed for 20 straight years without respite. Without vacation pay or bonuses or promotions. I don't want what you have to offer. I'm not seeking remuneration. You're not complimenting me when you estimate my hourly rate. I'm invaluable. I'm a mother.