I’m “back at work” this week. Sort of. I’m on a course, which means struggling to focus and pay attention when I’m really wondering how Freya is doing, and scribbling down “to do” lists for our upcoming move.
I’ve been in baby hibernation for a few months and this course is my spring. Have you ever seen a hibernating momma bear? They are a shadow of the woman they might have been. Hibernating momma bears don’t wear make-up, their hair is perpetually in a messy bun, if they don’t chop it off that is. Somedays they don’t wear a bra, and some days they don’t even change out of their PJs. They like to snap at dadda bear.
That’s not to say that we don’t come out from hibernation roaring.
This week, I’ve had numerous strangers (mostly without kids) say variations of the same thing: “You don’t look like a mom”. The way they say it, I think they mean it as a compliment, but I’m not so sure I take it this way. I’m puzzled. If I don’t look like a mom, who do I look like? Would it be acceptable if I showed up to work in my puked on track-pants that haven’t been washed in a week? If I did that, would I look like a “mom”? I might not sleep, and baby brain might have set in, but hey, just because I have kids it doesn’t make me any less capable of doing my job well, and just because I am a professional, it doesn’t make me any less of a mom.
So this made me wonder, what are our stereotypes of what moms are supposed to look like when their kids aren’t throwing a tantrum and giving their secret away?
Tired? I don’t know when the last time I slept in past 6AM was. It’s been two years since I’ve slept through an entire night.
Old? Look closely. There is grey at my temples and the wrinkles around my eyes are getting deeper.
Pudgy? Oh, it is there, all around my tummy. I’ve just gotten wiser with the outfits I choose.
Frumpy? My briefcase doubles as a diaper bag. Look inside and you’ll find a few diapers, some wipes, and if you are lucky a soother.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Moms are everywhere. They are CEOs of companies; they are baking cookies at home. They are cleaning their houses; they are cleaning your house. They’re wiping noses; they are wiping chalkboards. They are rocking their babies to sleep and rocking a stadium of 50 000 fans. They are putting a band-aid on their toddler’s knee and performing complicated surgeries. There are teenagers and 40-somethings. There are olympic athletes and couch potatoes.
They are everyone in between.