Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Have a Job

I am getting kind of tired of working Mothers asking me what my plans are. They look at me like I'm a Freshman in University dragging her feet when it comes to choosing a major. Maybe it's just in Brazil, where the vast majority of Mothers are working. I can't say for the states since I'm not there but it's starting to get annoying.

You don't see me asking them when they plan to start raising their children 95% of the time. I like to think that they are working to give the entire family a better life. Honestly though, the kids rarely notice the new car or how good their "top of the line" school is.

Yes, I'm lucky to have the opportunity to stay at home with my kids but it is not without sacrifice. First off, I'm staying home with the kids. My personal gratification at the job comes in the form of cuddles, kids not crapping on the floor, and getting a vegetable in a mouth without vomit following. It's not a pretty job but it's a job I take a hell of a lot of pride in.

I had kids to have kids. I went to college so my children would have an educated person raising them. A waste of a hell of a lot of money? Not so much. It is one job where it's somewhat useful to have a psychology degree, even if it's just a bachelors.

And I know I am damn lucky! Mr. Rant busts his ass to make sure that we can manage me at home, and sometimes (most times) it is just that, managing.

Yet I still get the deer in headlights syndrome when asked about my career, or lack there of. It's as if I'm unprepared for a test and my answers are not satisfactory. Well, I have my answer for you right here!

I don't know because right now is not about me. I have children and when I did that things became about them. For them stability is knowing that lunch is at noon everyday. Mom sits with us at the table and we talk about what we'll do at school that afternoon (in Rio anyway). You take them to soccer practice 3 times a week not because you have to but because your little people want you to see when they finally make that important pass.

It is your job to be inconvenienced. When your 4 year old will not stop talking, while annoying, it means that it's important to him that you hear what he has to say. It is important for you to hear it and you want to be the one he tells it to.

It comes down to one thing: No one puts a band-aid on like Mom and I am sure as hell going to be here to do it! Don't worry, I know how lucky I am every single time I peel those little tabs off. Maybe the questioning ones need to also realize it.


  1. I love this! I think you have a more time intensive and more important job than anyone else, and although the pay does not come in the form of a paycheck every other week, it does come in hugs, connection with your little ones, and giving them the best you can give them. It is very interesting to me, however, that my Brazilian experience does not show me more moms working... my MIL was an accountant and became a stay-at-home mom, as did most of my friend's parents from down there. None of them were rich, but none of them were poor. They had enough to get by, and not much more, but they made that choice. However, they live in Ribeirao Preto and small cities around there, so maybe that is the difference. I think being in a big city, such as Rio or Sao Paulo, probably has a much higher cost of living and also a much higher level of "expectation" of what life you should provide for your kids... but I don't know. Anyway, as a third grade teacher (in America) I have seen kids who spend all day in extended care and go home in BMW's and kids whose parents volunteer at school and then drive away in a Yaris. Guess which child is generally happier... yeah, I bet you guessed correctly.

  2. Oh yes, I know this feeling all too well. We know in the long-run, it's going to pay off big, but it's a JOB, one not chock full of fun, respect or glamour, it's work baby, dirty exhausting work at times, a lot of the time. And I only have one! You have two under 5! But at least we realize this, and value the opportunity and know that there's no one who could love or nurture our kids as much as we do. Period. Worth it. 10 or less years from now they won't need us as much, and then we can really refocus. That's my plan at least. Ate ja!

  3. good for you rachel. my mom was a profesional mom for 6 kids-she started 27 years ago and her youngest is yet 13! it was her job and as the second in the family i could actually see that as i got older. not everyone can recognize it, but you do. so that's what counts :) she oppened a daycare when #6 was born and now she is a school teacher. just goes to show that once you can handle your own kids you can handle a plague of other people's kids! which, like being a mom, is one of the hardest jobs on the planet...

  4. Tiffany, it is a big city thing. Although a lot of small cities still have the full time maid who helps with basically everything.

    Otherwise, you and Steph, exactly!

  5. You are very lucky and blessed to be able to stay home and be with your kids.

    I'm a full time mom and I wish I could stay home and be with my son, but life is the way it is and we have to make the best of it.

    Beautiful picture by the way.

  6. lovely photo!!

    I hope I can be a stay at home mom when I have kids!

  7. Mallory, Your Mom is a rockstar! Mine had 4 with a husband in the military. I remember her always being amazing. Looking back I can now see the hard moments. Your Mom did good, just look at you :)

    Alex, thank you. I make a point to say that I am very lucky. I know many people would take my place. I am just bitching to those who choose to not understand it ;)

  8. Rachel,

    First of all, I love your picture, just beautiful! :)
    Second, I totally understand what you are going thru with these kind of questions and I think you made a great choice by deciding to raise your kids yourself.
    Gil and I discuss the same issue, what will people think/say when we decide one of us ( HE ) will stay home to raise the kids.
    My mom also quit working when she had kids too. We grew up in a big city, Sao Paulo, with a full time mom and I totally appreciate that today. It is definitely not the norm anymore, most families in large Brazilian cities rely on two incomes to survive.
    Gil and I plan to have kids ( hopefully soon ) and he has voluntered to become a stay home dad. We have decided to make some "material" sacrificies to raise the kids ourserves, and I think the results are great and can't be measured monetarily.


  9. Ray,

    Thank you :) We do take one for the financial team with me at home. It's nice for someone to notice that we live with a lesser income for that :D

  10. I consider myself incredibly blessed to be able to stay at home and care for our kids. Yes, it can be hard. And exhausting. And can leave me emotionally drained after a particularly rough day. BUT! We get to raise our kids the way we feel is best. I am equally blessed as I get to help my friend raise HER kids the way she feels is best, because her crazies come hang out with ME full time. It's a win-win-win. Like you said, the pay is good...I get the cuddles hugs and drooly smiles that make it all worth it. :)

  11. AMEN!! Since when were Stay At Home Mom or Homemaker not jobs??? Pisses me off!
    And that is a beautiful, beautiful photo of you and your boys x

  12. Rachel-
    I am a full time working mom, and wish EVERY DAY I could spend more time at home with Lincoln (and the new one soon to be). And here is a little secret I don't often admit- on the rare occasions I get 2 or 3 days off in a row and am home with him more- well, let's just say it is MUCH harder then going to work. I am lucky enough that my hours will be reduced after this second baby, so I can be home a lot more...and I am kinda scared of how much harder it will be, LOL! I give you a TON of credit and respect what you do. Your kids will be better people from you being home with them, and that is all that matters. Keep up the good (and hard) work.
    Jessica Morrissey

  13. It was a decision your dad and I made after Jeremy was born...someone needed to be there and he wasn't going to be around to balance the apple cart if I worked...and finances suffered and our retirement won't be as grand, but you guys had stability, cookies, and an ear to pour you chatter and concerns into...that moment after school when you're eating a snack all of you would tell me about the good, the bad and the ugly and we would figure it all out together. I've never regretted being the name you called when you ran through the door and having you hear..."in here...what's going on...tell me about it...cookies on the stove are up for grabs"!

  14. I think as women we always get the shaft. If you don't work, people question why you are "just a mom", and if you work, people argue that you aren't there for your kids. I am the breadwinner in the family and so my son has always been in daycare, and I never had the option to not work. That said, even if I had a husband with income enough for me not to work, I invested a lot in my career and love what I do. Eventhough I have less time with my son because I work, I never feel as though I am not the one raising him. As unfair as I think it is to make a stay at home mom feel inferior, it is also unfair to equate less time spent with your family (because of work) with less quality time. In the end we all do the best we can and should be made to feel any less for it.

  15. I believe the terms are Chief Domestic Executive, Financial Coordinator and Full-time Life Skills Educator when you want to put it on a resume. I don't even HAVE kids, and I am a stay-at-home by choice and visa requirement. What are we expat ladies supposed to do? It's nice if you have a job and love it, but if you're not allowed to work or would prefer to raise your own kids instead of barely paying a babá to do so...enjoy it! I think secretly, people are frustrated by the choice TO stay home. They think somehow it invalidates their own choices. So silly.

  16. Sometimes I think women forget that the women's movement was about choice. DECIDING to stay home or not. I have many friends who look back and wish they had made different choices. IMO, neither is 'better'. But of course I was a nanny for 10 years, so I know the tremendous benefits of having a quality babysitter who loves your kids and 2 loving parents.

    Moms may be working in big cities, but out here in the country, they're still breastfeeding their kids for 3.5 years! A few moms are working, but many still are not. And there does seem to be an expectation of motherhood for women still judging by all the times i am asked if I have or will have kids soon. I didn't feel that in the SF Bay area ( alittle inS acramento, but not nearly as much as here.)

    But the question I always get asked is "Are you two going to have children?" I'm 40, Carlos is 41. Puh-leez. And neither of us really wanted kids...we discussed this before we got married, and were happy to be on the same page.

    Even little girls ask me this. And when they do, I start going on and on about how wonderful it was to go to college, to travel all around the world, to have had lots of different types of friends (and lovers, but I leave that out for the kids), to be an auntie and a mentor to kids, how wonderful marriage w/o children can be, to have founded a non-profit that has helped hundreds of children....and on and on. It's very subversive, IMO.

  17. Corrine, you are spot on. I got a bit bitchy up there but you are right. No more woman on woman hate! :)

    Jenna- LOVE that! I am a Life Skills Educator ;)

    Jennifer- it is about choice! And I can see people asking that, especially down here. You marry and then have kids...

  18. Good for you. Love to see women regaining empowerment by choosing to dedicating their time to their family.

    Since I'm Brazilian I kind of feel obliged to explain this sort of actions from our cultural point of view... it's kind of weird but I just can't help myself...

    I think they ask about your what are your plans because:
    1) you're American and our stereotype of an American women is an educated working women - don't tell me about glass ceiling - who are you to tell me what I can't do - type of personality...
    2) Economy... To a large part Brazilians in general dream of passing a "concurso publico" (entry exam to Federal and State jobs) because of the security that these jobs represent... We had a good 10 year economy but this is very rare in our history, so job security is prioritized. To stop working for 6-10 years to raise your family is still considered a career suicide, we simply didn't (don't?) had (have) a strong enough economy that could absorb labor like that. My wife 26 weeks pregnant, and we are planing and saving for her to spend 6 month with be baby, we wish she could spend a whole year with him but job relocation is a powerful deterrent for us... even living in NYC, we just feel that job security trumps all other concerns...
    3) Women's movement in Brazil is still about claiming a spot in the sun (Brazil by enlarge is still very male oriented country particular in the work place)... (

    If you explain/point out, as Jennifer said, that the women movement was about choice and it is your choice to stay at home (your husband isn't behind this) I think (hope) they will appreciate your choice, but I guess there is no way to stop the questions, personal questions, as you probably know, are not a no-no in Brazil.

  19. *-* Nossa Rachel, o post foi muito lindo, parabéns por ser uma mãe tão presente, muita gente não consegue ser assim.

  20. Great post, Rachel. As you can imagine, I can totally relate. Totally and completely.

    As a SAHM myself, I could write a novel on this subject.

    But suffice it to say that becoming a mom is a tornado that changes one's life in unimaginable ways. One just has to live it to truly understand it!

    For me, it's not a "job" per se (because I can always quit a job and walk away)...but being a mom? A revolutionary and irreversible lifestyle change where EVERYTHING changes. Everything! It's a completely (and exhausting) new lifestyle that can not be reversed, undone or "quit."

    No one truly understands what this means unless they go through it themselves, especially without the help of family or paid help.

    In the end, moms make choices for themselves and for their family based on personal reasons. And it's nobody's business what that reason is.

    She's a mom, which means by nature she makes sacrifices and choices that revolve not around herself but around her children. Period.


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  22. Marcio, I do see your point there! You can even still feel the fight of women here at some points. But I will say, I would never cross a Brazilian woman! Fierce and in a good way :D. And same with the economy. Once both my boys are a little older I do have plans to continue with my education and enter back into working world. It is significantly easier to feel like your bases are covered as a family if both parents have the option of getting good jobs.

    Thanks Plug :D

    Jean, It does change EVERYTHING doesn't it! Even how we think lol.