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Motherwork

by Tanya Cromartie-Twaddle

The View From Here this month? Well. This almost didn’t happen. The View yesterday was crumpled and scattered into bits and pieces. The past few weeks my mind has been bombarded with snippets of too many things I wanted to share my perspective on. But nothing came together. And to make it worst…for days I have been plagued with the thought, “who the hell am I to be sharing my perspective anyway!” So…here it is…hectic…scattered. Four a.m. on the morning of article deadline…I’m tossing with the anxiety of writer’s block. I don’t have time to write…let alone think about what my views are on much of anything. My house appears clean in the gray haze of early morning. But it isn’t. It is only 4 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I’ve got stuff to do. Stuff undone. Stuff to think about doing. And this newspaper journalism stuff will have to wait because…well… I have to go to work. Motherwork! My dreams are saturated with to-do lists that I refuse to make. I am hoping there is clean underwear for my daughter to wear to school. I feel guilty because I did not get to the laundry and I went to bed and left dishes in the sink. Last eve I made the quickest, sorriest spaghetti on earth, because I didn’t want to cook. I even protested cooking, but felt I had to! Why, because He drives an hour to work…works hard for nine hours and drives another hour home again! Why am I tired? Why isn’t the home neat and tidy? Why isn’t the laundry done? There is nothing growing in the garden but chives and they don’t require much. How much work could watching a two year-old and nine-year old be? Mothers. Fathers. I have respect for parents period. But I’m talking to my sister-mothers right now. The single moms with full-time jobs. The work-at-home professional mom. The non-employed mom. All of us. We are stretched and tired. Stretch-marked with our patience stretched way too thin. Sometimes we are our own worst critics and overbearing, judgmental bosses. And we may go to the grave never quite sure of how well we did our jobs. When people smile and compliment my girls, I feel good. If my child brings home a C, I am failing. There is this misconception that because I am an At-Home mom, things should be perfect. I have all the time in the world. I’ve got it easy. What a Lie. I start cleaning in the morn, by noon things are lived-in again. My house is not a museum! We live here! Cleaning becomes overwhelming. What’s the point? We wash the dishes just to dirty them up again with cooking. We mop the floor just so THEY can track dirt in from the dirty outside. And there is no paycheck to look forward to at the end of the week for a job well done. Motherwork is taking baby to the park when you really need to steal a nap. Brushing messy hair as baby kicks and screams. Coordinating clothes so folks don’t talk about how ragamuffin your children look. And then there is the dog, the man, the bills, all the homeless hungry children in the world we mothers want to feed and love, the human rights causes we want to champion, the phone calls we need to return, the PTA…infinite! And when we think we have a break, our minds are racing with all the things that still have to be done and ways we can do things better tomorrow. We desperately scrounge for time and space for ourselves as women…pray for time to power walk, read a good book, go out to the club and shake a tail feather. I do not want a 9 to 5. I have respect for those that do. But believe me, at-home moms work just the same. Along with part-time self-employment ventures, I am a mother ALL DAY LONG. It’s the hardest…most demanding job I’ve ever done and I never get to clock out and call it a day. Motherwork is 24-7. 365. I love it, but even the things we love the most wear us out at times. One has to be keen, quick, and clever to do it well, but I will never earn a degree to prove to colleagues how much I’ve learned and accomplished. Yet, mothers are the first and most critical teachers of society’s greatest assets. We want more respect. Not just that token, commercialized Mother’s Day jive! So, that is my view this month. Scattered and True. I will give it to my editor. She will appreciate it…she is a mother, too! Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 7 – July 2003
by Tanya Cromartie-Twaddle