I am a stay-at-home mom. That’s what I do for a living. It’s my choice and my privilege – and quite honestly, my dream come true- to say those words.
But until recently, when people met me and asked the inevitable, “So, what do you do?”, my answer was “I’m a photographer. But I have a (fill in the blank here)- month-old daughter, so I have let that kind of go to the background. I still do it, but it’s more of a ‘when I can fit it in’ side job now. I love staying at home with my baby! And she comes first, so I turn down anything that interferes with her appointments or if she’s sick. It’s nice being able to do that!”
All of that is true. I didn’t feel false saying it. And my primary reason for it was that I don’t like to miss the opportunity to let people know what I do, because sometimes they actually NEED a photographer, and if I never mention it, they will never think of me for it.
But still. I spend 95% of my time working as a mommy first and a photographer second. The other 5% is when I say “yes” to taking on a photo session. (I edit at night or during naps.)
And then, Saturday, I was driving to a baby shower where I would know exactly two people- one of whom was the guest of honor. So I knew the question would come up, and I was thinking about my reply. And I decided that the job that gets the most care, time, and attention is the one that deserves the answer.
And more than that, I’m really proud to be a stay at home mom. Tom works very hard to provide for me the opportunity to be with Josey so I don’t have to give her over to someone else most of my day. I love being a mom, and even though it can be hard sometimes, and I never quite manage to do all I need to do in a day, it’s the best job I’ve ever had.
I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I’m embarrassed to say that’s what I do.
So, when I met people and heard the most popular getting-to-know-you question in the book, I smiled and replied, “I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
I think people don’t expect that answer much anymore, at least not from a girl in her mid-20’s in a climb-the-ladder culture and a “lucky to get any paycheck at all” economy. I got several surprised, “Oh!”s, followed quickly by a “that’s great!” or a “How nice!” I didn’t sense any snideness, just real surprise.
I think people often respond to tone, so the genuine happiness in my voice let them know that I am quite pleased with my life, and led them to reply accordingly. Well, it was either that or my follow-up of, “I love it. She’s our whole world.”
And then, when they asked how old she was and what I did before, I explained about my other passion- photography- and it’s supporting role in my work life, now that Josey is the star. It seemed a lot more natural -and a lot more accurate- for what my life is right now.
I am mommy. And I am very proud of that.