A few months ago, something got in my husband's head, and he told BG that I was a teacher. It's true, I suppose. It will always be true, whether I'm in a classroom or not.
But it sounds weird.
Every time she asks me "Mommy, are you a teacher?" I twitch a little. It feels untrue, unearned. She takes it a step further by thinking that this means I can teach her anything. "You can teach me baseball, mommy, because you're a teacher!"
One day, a few weeks ago, I was in the kitchen cleaning up dinner while DH played with the girls. "I have all the bears!" he said. "But not mommy. Is mommy a bear?"
"No!" said BG. "She's just a mommy!"
"Yup!" I chorused, sarcastically, from the kitchen "JUST A MOMMY."
"Oh," she said. "Are you a teacher, mommy? I forgot."
And I sat down on the kitchen floor and cried.
When I say things like this, I always want to apologize for them. I want to say "But that doesn't mean I want to go back to work. That doesn't mean I want to be anywhere other than where I am right now. That doesn't mean that being a mommy isn't enough, that I want to change something about my life right now." I want to soften, to justify what I'm saying.
I want to be where I am. I want to be with my girls all day. I want to be a mommy.
But sometimes? I'm really sad.
I miss my big kids.
I miss my colleagues.
I miss the books and even the essays sometimes.
I miss being good at something, being respected and admired.
I miss feeling like I was making a difference every day.
And you're going to want to tell me I'm still making a difference every day. And I am. I know I am. I guess I know that mothering is worthy work, work worth doing. I guess I realize that I'm doing enough.
But sometimes it doesn't feel like enough for me.
Which isn't to say I want to be anywhere else.
I did it again.
I want to be a full time mommy, but I don't want to be just a mommy. I want to be me, to be a person, to do important work, to be smart and competent and valued.
I don't really know what that means yet. But I'm working on it.