“I am confident that the education they have received will make them individuals who can and will take the time to think for themselves and inspire and lead others.”
Mothering Is So Easy Even A Man Could Do It
Famous last words no doubt! When I was running my large renovation business and my wife stayed at home with our newborn son and ran our house I truly believed that I had the tougher job. More responsibility, more pressure to make enough money to support us, more consequences if I failed to do my job. Makes sense, right?
Well, fast forward three years. I closed my renovation business, moved to NH and my wife gave birth to our daughter. Now what? After a year or so of my wife and I sharing the workload both at home and making money an idea presented itself: what if I stayed home with our kids (ages 8 & 2) and my wife made the dough. The green kind that is. I was happy to leave behind the rot repair work I found myself stuck with as a solo carpenter here in NH yet wasn’t sure I could “run the house”. She had the opportunity to make enough money to support the family. Simple enough, right?
Needless to say that idea was not received gracefully. Actually it was met with a lot of resistance from me. I’m a man first of all. What do I know about nurturing children or running a house, food shopping, cooking, being on time to school drop off or pick up? I’m genetically designed to hunt and bring home the spoils, not hang around the cave listening to crying and hungry children. I thought this role reversal would end up revoking my street cred as a man. Clearly I struggled to make sense of this unfamiliar job description.
The old me thought moms had it made. Stay home with the kids, make some meals, take yoga classes, shop on Amazon and generally lay around eating bon-bon’s on their downtime. Which they had plenty of. Like all the time. Meanwhile, in my business I was meeting clients, running my crew and multiple projects, drinking cappuccinos at the local café and going for long bike rides after work. Yep, I had the tougher job for sure.
Now going on 7 months in my new role, I’m feeling like I’m forever sprinting to stay ahead of the work load; changing countless blow out diapers, knowing the aisles at the grocery store intimately, having snacks on hand at all times, and working hard at keeping the house and its messes and accumulated dirt and mystery food stuffs under control with the small humans doing their best to derail me. I have an entirely new perspective on what Moms have to deal with.
Moms have the most thankless underpaid gig on this planet. I never understood how much work it takes to be the caregiver, the nurturer. And the implications are tremendous; if I don’t cook, people don’t eat. If clothes don’t get cleaned, the little people rebel. Fourteen hour days are the norm, and if I’m lucky I get an hour at the gym twice a week. By the time I put my daughter to bed and my wife puts our son to bed it might be 9pm before we finally get to have some adult time. I honestly never imagined how hard it was being a mom. I really used to think it was so easy that of course a man could do it. Think again. Most men with whom I share the experiences I’ve had at “being a mom” listen to me like I’m speaking in tongues and stare off into the void. They more often than not say, “better you than me. I could never do that”.
But you know what? I love this time I get with my little people. It’s a gift for me and it’s with a new appreciation that I have a small experience of being a mom. My daughter has even started saying “Papa is the new Mama”. I’ll take that as a compliment!
So, on this Mothers Day, I offer a bow of deep respect to all you Moms out there. You rock! Thank you!
Jamie Gilroy is a White Mountain Waldorf School parent, volunteer firefighter, motorcyclist, and well into his new career as a mom. He would like to also thank the Waldorf School parents and teachers for all of their love, support and wonderful sense of community.