Have you ever had anyone say that phrase to you?
I never had until today, when a girl working at the Verizon store said it to me. It was flippant, nonchalant, a side note. But it struck me and made me think.
Is that what people really think about moms?
I had come in to upgrade my dinosaur of a phone, and she started the small talk (what is with people and their damn small talk?!). She asked what my husband does for a living (because of the company discount we get) and I told her. She asked if I was a pilot as well, and I said no but I had been a flight attendant before. And that’s when she said it:
“Oh, so now you’re just a mom?”
As if that were somehow a demotion. Her words packed a punch, and I don’t even think she knew it.
“Uh, no. Actually, I’m also a photographer.”
Why did I feel the need to justify myself? I was mostly still shocked at her question.
“Oh that’s really cool.” And then she went on with her sales pitch, trying to get me to add a case and whatever other “bundle” she could try to get me to buy.
I understand that she probably had no intention of being rude, or snide, or condescending. In fact, she was a very nice girl, and we talked a little more until I had everything I needed and left.
I hope that one day when she becomes a mother that she doesn’t think of herself as “just a mom”. There is so much that goes into it – and most of it unrecognized – which is probably why I bristled at the phrase. There is so much that we do behind the scenes that it feels like it doesn’t matter. But it does.
I am a wiper of tears, a kisser of owies, a fabulous Lego builder, a creative pretender, a warm presence, an enforcer of rules, a time manager, a nap ninja, a teacher, an example, a storyteller, a mom. I change diapers and still manage to run a business.
And there’s nothing just about it.
I wanted to tell her that, but I didn’t know how. So I just hope, sincerely, that no one ever says that to her as she’s running around town, having dropped her preschooler off but bringing the baby to the phone store just to try and cross another task off the never-ending list before picking up said preschooler, going home and making dinner, doing bath time and bedtime and reading stories and heating up bottles and getting just one more snack and tucking in her children. I hope no one ever says to her that she’s “just a mom”. Because she won’t be.
Just like we aren’t.
We are so, so much more.