Are you proud of what you do?

Imagine being independent, financially content, working at a job you are proud of, with people who are your friends. Then one day it’s over. You have no job, no money and little contact with your friends. Oh and you also have a newborn baby, who came without instructions and with no way of removing batteries.

Life changes so completely when you give birth that no book in the world can prepare you.

I was relatively young and living far from home when I had my first baby. I always knew I’d be a stay at home mother but never really understood what that would really mean.

The years ticked by. Even though I grew into my new role and loved my daughter dearly, at times I really struggled.small_7115591701

Life as a stay at home mother is difficult in so many ways. It is isolating, lonely, frustrating and tiring. However it is more than that. For many, leaving paid employment and becoming a busy mother, may be what they wanted to do for their family, but in my case it meant loss of independence and loss of self.

I think if I am to be honest I shrank a small bit during those years. I knew I was a good mother, but no matter what anyone said, I could not be proud of my role. I talked the talk about it being a job in itself, but believed none of it.

Then two little girls joined my own growing family. I became a childminder. I had a small income, and an actual title.  I should have felt  better but in fact I felt worse.

I hated telling anyone I was a childminder. I was embarrassed. It was once again a role I took no pride in, but a role I loved very much. I continued to mind those two little ladies for many years and to this day they hold a special place in my heart.

Last weekend I was away for the night. We were at a very large function with almost three hundred people attending. There were many speeches and then the entertainment began. Up on stage went a stunning twenty two year old. She was wearing a green lace dress and looked so beautiful. She was the eldest of the two little ladies I had minded.

As she sang confidently and beautifully, I could hear the voices around me rich in praise of her. Then it hit me. Right in the middle of her rendition of “She moves through the fair”. I knew what it was I was feeling. I was proud. So very proud of the wonderful young woman she had become, but also so proud to have played a part in helping her through childhood.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lynnefeatherstone/602489004/">lynnefeatherstone</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
So proud to have been her childminder.

As I think of her and her wonderful younger sister, of the fun I had with them and how much they enhanced my life and the lives of my own children, I can at last stand tall and announce proudly to the world, “I was a childminder”.

photo credit: mrtopp via photopin cc
photo credit: lynnefeatherstone via photopin cc

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31 thoughts on “Are you proud of what you do?

  1. It is so wonderful that you were able to see the impact you personally made on those girls’ lives. I am where you were. Feeling incomplete and trying to figure out, what’s my worth. Why am I here? I’ve been searching for years for that one ‘thing’ I can do while at home to find true fulfillment, and recently for hours on end. I raise my son and that’s great, but I often wish there was more to my role in this life. I probably shouldn’t be venting on your blog like this. I’ll sum it up then by saying, a lot of stay at home moms probably feel just as you did about their role.

    1. I clearly remember the frustrations and at times resentment from being a stay at home mother. I enjoyed many moments and adored being with the kids, but I would have loved to have had something else. I think looking means you will hopefully find something, but it also means it keeps you thinking of what else you want in your life.
      I wish you luck. Now years later I can see this time has passed and I am becoming the person who got lost, but it is a difficult road.

  2. Maybe it was because I came to motherhood in my 30s but I always loved saying I was a mum – I just found it so much more rewarding than I ever dreamt. I always thought I’d be running screaming back to work after the maternity leave 🙂

  3. So happy you were able to see the beautiful role you did indeed play. It is sad that we can’t always see it when it is happening…but everything happens when it is supposed to. Blessitude

    1. Thank you. It is only now in hindsight that I can see I did not value what I did. Looking back I can see I was lucky to spend so much time with so many great children.

  4. I am a stay at home mom. It’s difficult sometimes. I think it doesn’t help that I don’t have a title for what I am studying either. I seem to be on a pathless path. I love to come here to pick up on some of your lightheartedness. Thanks for being here!!

  5. What an incredible moment that had to have been. I wish it hadn’t of taken so long. We admire teachers and coaches for what they do for children. Why don’t we admire our parents and childminders?

  6. i can understand the pressure and judgement, (self imposed and otherwise) but i am happy to see that you now understand the impact you had and the importance you had in these little people’s lives. not all people can say that and for that i think you should hold your head hight and be very proud )

  7. Thanks for this post. I’ve been a stay at home mom with my twins for the past year and struggle with how I feel about it. Not having an income I think is the hardest thing.

    1. Yes I honestly think if I had had a real income it would have made a difference, but then again I was just so anti being type cast as a stay at home childminder maybe it would make no difference.

  8. Yes, yes and yes. I did the same as you – stopped working to be a stay-at-home-mum, then became a child-minder for five years. It was a happy period, but as you say self-esteem is sometimes low, aided and abetted by careless or snide comments – often from other women. The first children I looked after are now 14, getting their first facial hair and their voices are breaking. I’m still working from home – but I’ve gone back to languages and I’m copy-editing from home, and having a great time.

    1. Sounds good. Glad you’ve found a way to make it all work. It’s not easy being a stay at home mother, but feeling inferior makes it even harder.

  9. Those kids were so, so fortunate to have YOU as their childminder.
    I very reluctantly took on a childminder for ‘8 weeks ( that turned into many years’) when my son was 3 months old so that I could devote time to a research job. That’s over 18 years ago and she and my son remain extremely close and I found one of the greatest friends I will ever have.

    1. This comments mirrors my experience in reverse. I made a great friend and extended my family. All those I minded still stay in my heart.

  10. So glad you are proud to have been a childminder. I like that description so much better than our US one of babysitter. I do not know what I wild have done without the ladies who helped raise my girls!

  11. There is no doubt about it, staying at home with the kids is very difficult. I’ve found the last 8 months or so so much easier as my kids have been in pre-school. I’ve always been proud though. Nobody has ever made me feel inferior for it. I must have a scary, ‘don’t mess with me’ face! Lol!

    1. I have always been proud to be a mum, but I felt very inferior for a long time, although I doubt anyone knew. I never got any bad comments but I had no pride in staying at home or being a childminder.
      I do think it was because I was young and I was watching others living a life and climbing a career ladder. Wouldn’t swap a day of it now though!

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