make real money working from home!

“so.  are you doing anything?  are you going to be going back to work?”

she asks and i feel irresponsible because i haven’t thought about working for money in months.  i stumble around and say no.  i explain myself.  i give reasons for living the life i do, making the choices we make and keep feeling smaller and smaller.

when the clothes of mothering were too tight i sat awkward most days and wanted to do something else, anything else.  that kind of question sunk me for weeks.

what do i do?

its worth is not so high as strangers can peek in and casually suggest that i better pick up a few hours here or there, you know, just so that…i’m doing something.

i wake up after a night of being sick.  joshua is out of town and i’m walking down the steps.  i have to stop half way.  abe sits down beside me and i tell him i threw up in the night and i feel really awful and dad isn’t here and i’m going to need his help.  i’m going to need him to help me with breakfast.  i’m going to need him to help me get the girls out the door.

“mom.”  he answers.  “you’ve asked the right person.”

i wonder at the unquestionable reasonableness of any other endeavor.

if i tell people i am working part-time selling shoes, it would mean more than cooking my family dinner.

if i said i was picking up a shift at starbucks, i might get an approving nod.

instead i trail behind children bundled up puffy and scarfed.  i sit by the fire and go over homework.  i meet a friend for coffee with toddlers in tow.  i go to the grocery store.  i write a blog.  i paint a room.  i encourage a man.  i tell kids of their worth.  i learn kindness.  i drink too much coffee.  i do the laundry.  i sit lazy on the bed with cozy girls and read books.  i’m at home.  i stay at home.

why does making a home mean so little?  is it only because it pays so little?

in any case, i don’t mind so much this time.  when she first asks the question, i’m confused.

“so.  are you doing anything?”

i don’t know what she means.  i stare blank and she clarifies.

“are you going to be going back to work?”

oh.  oh right.  you think i should do something else.  something better.  something more.

he puts the oatmeal in the bowls and he pulls out the brown sugar.

“come on, girls!  brush your teeth!  we gotta go!”  he calls.

he dishes up ella’s scrambled eggs and i can only sit on the stool in the kitchen and hold my pounding head in my hands.

“thanks abe.”  i say weakly.

he looks back from the silverware drawer.

“anything for you mom.”

i am paid for my labor.  i’ve been giving my life to my family and sitting there in need of help in the morning, my son offers his life unreservedly right back.

i have no pockets to hold this wealth.

17 thoughts on “make real money working from home!

  1. That was the bomb Zena. In a graceless age where being a stay-at-home mom is somehow now denigrated to the level of being on food stamps…you bring the reader to a place of; “Hey! What the hell is going on?”

    Good prose

  2. Perhaps we can work out a deal—when people ask me when I’m going to get married and have kids I’ll tell them “Oh, Zena’s on it.” And when they ask you if you’re going to work, you can say “Sarah works plenty for me!”

    Your family is a delight.

  3. Thanks, I needed that. I recently cut back to 2 days per month, which in the eyes of most, is nothing anyway. I feel those eyes looking upon me, especially with one child as opposed to your 3. What a sweet boy you have Z.

  4. Wow! Beautiful and I couldn’t help but think of my sweet Mom and the hours of love and service she gave me and my four brothers instead of doing something “else.” I love her for it and my Dad for supporting her in it. 🙂

  5. Ahhhghhh! I LOVED, yes all capitol letters, LOVED this. I have been a stay-at-home-school-mom for 15 years now. Yes, people finally quit asking what I was going to do when I told them I was a teach. Not a lie, either, which I love. This word you have written, powerful. Why is working outside of home cherished so much more than in home? UGH, I am pulling my soapbox up as I speak! Better back off now, and grab some coffee before I explode. I have no pockets to hold my wealth either 🙂 (stopping by from IP)

  6. it takes so much courage and strength to do what you do. you’re a blessing to your family and your community.

  7. My housemate is a writer. Her work is to toil over writing projects, with the objective to be published and to build her skills so as to eventually live off of her writing. Currently she does lots of writing but it doesn’t pay the bills. To pay the bills, she does a part-time job in an office somewhere.
    When she is heading out the door, I will sometimes absent-mindedly ask her if she is going to work, at which point she corrects me and says she’s going to the office, but she’s been working all day. She doesn’t like it when people describe her paid job as work because then the writing, which she considers to be her real work, is not.
    The thing is, I’m a writer, too! I share her goals and I spend many hours a day writing. It would be a misnomer to say I disrespect her chosen occupation because I’m in the exact same situation – but I still use the language that offends her.
    I try to remember and respect her preference, but often forget. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would encourage you that society uses a terminology that is hard to unlearn. If we unlearn it we need to replace it with something else. My housemate doesn’t “go to work” to write because she does that from home. I imagine that sometimes when people ask you if you “do something” it’s because they don’t have a way of explaining what they mean by distinguishing between work in the house and work outside of the house.
    Working as a mother vs out of the home vs other arrangements is always going to be a debate, and the pendulum swings and never settles in the middle, and I don’t know you or where you live so I can’t speak to your own situation. All I can say is that I’m afraid I might offend you without intending to do so – sorry.

  8. Thanks for writing Kati. I get your point and it’s a good one. I’m not offended.

    This is my attempt to give a voice to insecurities stay at home people can struggle with.

    – Zena

  9. instead i trail behind children bundled up puffy and scarfed. i sit by the fire and go over homework. i meet a friend for coffee with toddlers in tow. i go to the grocery store. i write a blog. i paint a room. i encourage a man. i tell kids of their worth. i learn kindness. i drink too much coffee. i do the laundry. i sit lazy on the bed with cozy girls and read books. i’m at home. i stay at home.

    well, i am officially crying. this is the best post i’ve read in a long time. sharing this. thank you friend. thank you.

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