Society has a knack for labeling things, people, experiences, and even animals. From “The World’s Cutest Dog” to Captain America’s derrière (oh you know, “America’s A**” a term made famous by Ant-Man), to the “Queen of Pop,” and even the more complicated MU, FF, FWB, and char-char lang, labels abound. And while I understand that they are created to identify, categorize, and even to entertain, some just prove to be more detrimental to others than they are really purposeful.
Case in point: Stay at Home Mom or simply, SAHM. While this may seem totally safe, unbeknownst to many, some women have actually used this term negatively against (que horror) another woman. How is choosing dedicated childcare any less than joining the workforce? How is mothering any less than a nine-to-five job? Why is it being taken against me if I choose to be there for my child 24/7 and witness all of her milestones, her firsts, share in her little wins, and learn from the little losses, too? Why is it so hard to just be kind and respect another’s hustle? A 24/7 hustle, especially?
You see, we are more than just stay-at-home moms. We are more than just this label being thrown callously at us for others to use, and make fun of.
A Mom of All Trades
I am more than just a stay-at-home mom, I am a “Bubble Maker Extraordinaire” and with every breath I have exerted during bath time since time immemorial, my lungs would probably be more than ready now to free-dive into the cenotes of Tulum, Mexico in just one breath without breaking a sweat. Heck, I can deep dive into a bin of toys looking for that teeny weeny star sticker my toddler lost while playing with my 20-year-old stationary and sticker collection. One breath, and one swift motion was all it look for me to find that elusive star. A millisecond before she could start throwing dagger stares at me had I not retrieved “stahhh” just in time. But before they could even make me a sash for such distinction, I reluctantly ceded my position out of sheer exhaustion and handed it over to a bubble gun—the real ”Bubble Maker Extraordinaire,” if you ask me.
I am more than just a stay-at-home mom, I am a MasterChef legend level, all thanks to my very fluffy and tasty (my daughter’s words, not mine) scrambled eggs made with, well, eggs, and added with salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. I garnish it with more thyme, and I’d get a bigger “Wow!” Ha! Easy. Giving myself a pat on the back. A crowd favorite (crowd, being my two daughters) scrambled eggs is one thing, but my Baked Baby Back Ribs, and Chicken Bake elicit a different kind of reaction, one that would probably render Gordon Ramsay speechless. Speechless with awe, or with horror thinking what a big of an abomination I am in the kitchen? I dare not answer nor will I let this out-of-the-world imagination linger. All I know is that my little humans love them to the bone, both literally and figuratively, and no famous British chef known to throw painful verbal digs can tell me that I’m bad in the kitchen, even if I have burned a Cheesy Baked Asparagus one too many times.
I am more than just the image of diapers, pots, and pans. Labels like this one do not, and can never, explain the complexities and beautiful dynamics of motherhood.
I am more than just a stay-at-home mom, I am Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel rolled into one. I drew them a portrait; uneven eyes, a crooked nose, and a half-moon smile on a seemingly large head—you’d say that I’m better off drawing a stick figure but to my little tribe, I am “THE BEST artist in the whole world!” God bless their honest little hearts. I even designed a gown for their bald Barbie dolls, complete with jewelry, bag, shoes, and hair that looked more like Syndrome’s hair than that of Ariel’s gorgeous red locks, and just when I was about to discard it because of how terrible it looked, my eight-year old daughter quipped, “You could be a designer to the stars, Mommy!” Thank you for validating mommy’s dream, sweetheart. But we eventually threw it away of course because she always drew better than I do.
I am more than just a stay-at-home mom, I am my toddler’s favorite self-erasing canvas—a drawing board, a whiteboard, a chalkboard even. Even if I allowed her to draw on our walls, turning our bedroom into a one big mural of mostly lines and squiggles, she’d turn to me to draw her obra maestra on me. And I should know better than to erase her little masterpiece before presenting it to her sister, otherwise, this little artist will turn into an Oscar winner for Best Actress in a leading role, drama category, in a snap. Her acting is so good, the mighty Meryl Streep would be proud. But on the upside, I don’t have to worry about all the other walls in the house anymore because Mommy’s all hers for her scribbling.
More Than Just a Label
Even with just Qtoy’s Jumbo Rainbow Blocks, my other childhood dream of becoming an architect and building a house my clients would be proud of, ultimately came into fruition—in miniature scale, that is. I built them a house with no doors, just huge windows for proper ventilation and massive amounts of natural light, and I instantly became the best architect there is. They requested an attic to somehow resemble our house and when I gave in to their request—oh what joy to see their eyes light up! Such small gestures but what great impact on their little hearts.
So, yes, I am more than just a stay-at-home mom, more than just another societal label. I am more than just the image of diapers, pots, and pans. Labels like this one do not, and can never, explain the complexities and beautiful dynamics of motherhood.
I am my daughters’ constant, the first thing they see in the morning, and the one who tucks them into bed every night. I am their warm hug on their off days, the one they reach out to to treat their boo-boos. And on good days—which happen often—I am their camping master, their swimming instructor, arts and crafts teacher, and biggest cheerleader. I am all these and more. And that, my friends, are the only validation we stay-at-home mommas need.