Just A Mommy

caroline dressed as a mommy-8

Mommy uniform: Messy bun, cardi, statement necklace, leggings, boots, phone in her purse, camera and of course, her Baby Jesus.


A few weeks ago, my daughter had a career day at school. When I asked her what she wanted to be, I was only half listening, since in my head I was trying to figure out what dress up we could repurpose as “Doctor” or “President” or “Nobel Peace Prize Winner”.

“A MOMMY!” she shouted.

I have been a stay-at-home-mom for 6 years now. I wipe tushies and noses and hands. I do laundry, then some more laundry, then do all the laundry again. I take kids to ballet and swim and doctor’s appointments and baby signs and birthday parties. I cut coupons and make lists and menu plans and 12 trips to the grocery store and then still end up serving tacos and spaghetti two nights a week.

I wear a lot of yoga pants.

“Oh,” I said. “A mommy,” I said. “But wouldn’t you like to be something else AND a mommy?? You don’t have to be JUST a mommy.”

I flinched when I said it. The words floated out of my mouth and hung right in front of my face where I thought about how it was a stupid thing to say. I know better.

Being a mom isn’t just keeping children alive – although some days that is all I seem to manage. We can’t just feed and clothe them, we have to raise them up and impart everything we know into their empty heads. We are turning small squishy lumps of need into tiny humans who then turn into actual real humans and grow up to be, well, everything. We teach patience because one day they’ll need it while discovering the gene that cures cancer. We teach kindness because one day they might build hospitals for villages in need. We teach the alphabet so they can write the great American novel. We clean up a zillion finger paint messes so they can become great artists. Someone right now is wiping the butt of a future president.

I want Caroline to know that she has the option to be whatever she wants when she grows up, especially right now when she’s capable of dreaming about future careers without worrying about their practicality. I remember telling my mother I was going to be a ballerina marine biologist and her saying “That is a great idea”. I want her to find a passion and explore it and love it and then change her mind. I want her to change her mind a million and one times before she actually finds a career. I want her to reach for the stars…or the bottom of the sea…or the top of a mountain…or wherever it is that super successful and happy people reach. Because as cliche as it sounds, I only want her to be happy.

I don’t want anyone to ever tell my daughter she HAS to be a mother or that she can ONLY be a mother, but if she wants to be a mother – even if she wants to be JUST a mommy – then I would be very, very proud of her.

When she came home from career day, I asked her what her friends dressed up as. “Logan was a motorcycle guy!” she explained, “And all the girls were princesses!”

So maybe Mommy is a bold choice for a 4 year old after all.

And hey, I must make being a mommy look like a lot of fun if it’s something she’s looking forward to. Although it might just be because she wants to be the boss.

caroline dressed as a mommy

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9 Responses to “Just A Mommy”

  1. Great post :) I think I told my mom I wanted to be a fireman when I grew up, lol.

  2. Christa says:

    That’s so adorable. You’re an amazing role model for your daughter. I love how honest all your stories are.

  3. Sarah says:

    So sweet… she totally sees that you’re doing an amazing job! :)

  4. Raincheckmom says:

    You should be totally flattered that she wants to be a mom! I am glad I supported your ballerina marine biologist idea. I must admit when you told me later you wanted to be a professional cheerleader my reaction was not very gracious:-)

  5. ernie bufflo says:

    I always used to call call myself “just a mom” and then I decided that was BS. Jon never says he’s “just” a doctor. Plus, I decided that even if almost no one ever pays me, I am a writer, too, dammit. And if my kiddos want to follow in my footsteps instead of running screaming, I’m going to count that as a win. Plus, Caroline is the cutest tiny mama ever.

  6. Robyn says:

    This is such an interesting topic. As someone who felt pressured into going to college and choosing a good career and then being trapped by that career and student loans, and mortgages, and bills, and marrying someone who makes significantly less, and really just wanting to stay home…I find myself encouraging the opposite. I keep saying, you know Rory, you don’t have to have another job, you can be a mommy that stays home with her kids all day too! I guess we all just want them to know they can be whatever THEY want :)

  7. Julie S. says:

    Love this! I used to say I was “just a mom” when people would ask. Domestic Engineer sounds better :) You are doing an awesome job!

  8. Amy says:

    I love this post. And I love that she will have so many options when she grows up. Just a mommy; just a workie; a little of both.

  9. Amy says:

    Sniff! Tear! My 5 year old daughter also wants to be a mom, but I never thought of it this way. Thank you for posting this!

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