The title of this blog originates from a direct quote from my 5-year old daughter, Sarah. I was in the middle of giving her a bath, trying to rinse the shampoo out of her hair while she squirmed around like an eel on Ritalin. Suddenly, she looked up at me, eyes earnest and curious, and asked, “Mommy, are you our servant?” The breath got knocked out of me for just a second as I realized that I had no retort for why I wasn’t the household help. While I was bathing my daughter, I also had dinner cooking in the kitchen and was wrestling with that most Sisyphean of tasks for moms everywhere: the laundry. That afternoon, she had also seen me sweep the floors, clean the stove, straighten up her room, and load and unload the dishwasher. All this while catering to her and her sister’s every whim and demand, albeit without the traditional curtsy. Isn’t this, according to my daughter’s observant little eyes, what servants do?
Let me rewind…prior to deciding to stay at home shortly before the birth of our eldest daughter, I was working as a consultant at a local Minneapolis firm. I believe my last yearly salary was just shy of $95,000. I wasn’t quite 31 at the time. If my career trajectory (or those of my friends) were any indication, I’d probably be doing quite well right now, thank you very much. Of course, this was before the economic bust(s) so maybe I should just shut up and be grateful that my current position, if nothing else, has job security in spades.
To continue: making $95K and I quit. I had a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. I had spent my entire life amassing 4.0s, A+s, gold stars, smiley faces (with exclamation points!), and many a sticker that proclaimed, “WAY TO GO!” When my daughter asked me about my role as her indentured servant, I wanted to pull out my very dusty resume and show her bullet point by bullet point that I was SUPREMELY overqualified to be anyone’s servant.
But her question got me thinking, how did it come to this? Sure, she was just five and was merely asking an innocent question. But those little kiddos have a way of cutting right to the core of an issue, piercing you with their astuteness before they go back to picking their noses and licking things off the floor. So this blog is an exercise in self- examination to understand the state of my life today. How did I get here? What has my life become? What is the meaning of it all?
Ok- so maybe I’m getting a bit melodramatic. I’m just another stay at home mom who is thinking about the choices that I’ve made. And let me clear, they have all been choices and I am happy. Yes, there are those days when an entire tub of Prozac seems like the perfect pairing to a gallon of Sauvignon Blanc, but those days are few and far between. I have a wonderful husband, two healthy, beautiful daughters, and a very good support system of friends, family, and babysitters. I am lucky enough to be able to stay at home, watch my daughters grow, without worrying too much about what I am contributing economically to our household. That in and of itself is a gift that I am grateful for everyday.
But as I’ve tried to convey in these first few paragraphs, my daughter’s question shook me and snapped me out of my Wiggles-induced mommy daze. I felt like introspection and examination were required.
So humor me, dear reader. Come with me on this totally narcissistic journey where almost every single entry will be about me, myself, and I. Let’s see what we discover about my gradual decline into domestic servitude and my current position as “servant mommy,” where the pay is poor, the hours are long and the bosses, though cute, are absolute tyrants.