• Jaye Gaff

You're "just" a mother


I was told this by an abuser and I believed it. It was my worst fears realised. That giving birth had rendered me useless. That's bullshit.


But when I went back to work after four glorious years at home with B. I only applied for "entry level" jobs despite having a Bachelor's degree. Despite having work experience doing what I actually wanted to do. So I went to work in something that I didn't want to do but it was all that I felt qualified for because I'd stepped out of the workforce and I was so sure that all of my skills and qualifications had washed out of me.


How many women feel like this? How many women are made to feel like this?


It's just not true. I don't believe that motherhood is the hardest job in the world. For me, it's not. But if it is for you that's great. I don't believe I'm a chef and a nurse and a taxi driver. I'm a parent. That's it. But I do think I'm really bloody awesome at it.


I also think I'm really bloody awesome at a lot of things.


My job.

Writing.

Finding clothes and accessories that make me happy.

Wanting light coloured nails and always picking a neon.

Sex.

Annoying the fuck out of my Husband.


See. Not just a mother.


But you know what else I realised? Even if I am just a mum... well, how bloody wonderful? I got to get pregnant and I loved being pregnant. I get to be around the best kid in the whole entire world. I get to make play dough and bake cookies and help with homework and go shopping with my favourite person. Hooray.


If that's all I am and all I can ever be. Well I'm happy with that.


So I'm just a mum? Thank you! That's so nice to hear. I am pretty amazing.


And now I have some advice for mum's who are thinking about returning to work. Go the fuck ahead. Your skills didn't diminish in the time you were at home with kids. You are not nothing. You are awesome and you need to believe that.


When I expressed my fears on this to my Husband he suggested that I not mention I was a wife and a mother. Don't define yourself by those roles, he said. And I did think about it for a bit and then I raged and contemplated kicking him in the arm and then I went about my life. You do not need to hide parts of yourself. You do not need to pretend you don't highly value your motherhood. You are allowed to be proud of being a wife. I refuse to pretend that these are not huge parts of who I am.


If someone is going to judge you because of this -- that is on them. Their judgement has nothing to do with you. So do you. Go back to work. Stay at home. Do whatever the fuck you want. Just remember you are skilled and you are brilliant and nobody can take that from you.

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