Being an expert

1:07 AM

I am reading a book at the moment about writing. Well, I say reading, but really it is taking me forever because every time I sit lately I fall asleep! So I either read it standing up or very little gets read....Anyway, I did finish the first chapter and am now putting it on hold until my time in the hospital. Here in France you have to stay at least three whole days in the hospital (there are no televisions or WiFi either!) after a normal birth, so I will have plenty of time to read then!

  At the end of the first chapter the author encourages her readers to make some lists. One of those lists is about things that we are experts in. And my first reaction was to throw the book to the wayside and pick up something else. Or just blow off the exercises and keep reading. But a few days later I was still thinking about that list and what I would put in it...that is to say IF I were to make one.

  It made me think about my initial reaction, too, and how it links to that ever lingering feeling that SAHMs have about not really doing anything important with their lives. Yes, I know, raising our children is important, but without getting on your soapbox, I know you know what I am talking about. I am talking about doing something to challenge and mature ourselves.

  I don't believe that our lives as women or mothers has to be all about our children. There are some women that are okay with that, but I don't think it is necessarily healthy because eventually our children grow up and stop needing us. They might even move away. Far away. They might not have grandkids for a long time. They might spend years not really even visiting because they are just too busy setting up their own lives. And if that happens, where does that leave us moms? There has to be something in our lives to keep us occupied, no?

   There are many times that I struggle with the fact that I don't work. Or more with the fact that I never really set up a career before becoming a mother and now I wonder what to do with myself once the kids are all in school full time. It is something that many of us face. We want to be home (or sometimes are forced to be home, but that is another topic..) And there lies in the question of what we are experts in because in the end that is what needs to go on our resume, no? We have to sell the fact that we are worthy of this job we want and that we are experts in something.

  My reaction when I first read that writing prompt was similar to many other SAHMs I imagine:

I AM AN EXPERT IN:
  1.changing diapers. But not just changing a diaper, I can change a diaper with one hand while helping my toddler get dressed with the other. Talk about multi-tasking!
  2. cooking while holding a baby. Or vacuuming for that matter. Don't yell, you know it has to be like that sometimes!
  3. Forgetting that sometimes it is okay to ask for help
  4. cleaning toilets, doing the laundry, ironing, picking up toys, cleaning up vomit, etc.
  5. diagnosing a fever and deciding when it is time to go to the doc or not.
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   Do you hear that underlying sarcasm? While these are traits that are essential to our children, they are rarely essential for any job. So I never wrote out that list. Because it seems to defeat the purpose of the exercise. I am not really looking at myself when I write out that list, I am looking at myself through the glasses of SAHM. And while that is not a bad thing, (in fact I love being able to stay home, even if I complain sometimes) it is not the only thing that defines me and so I shouldn't act like it does.

  So I was thinking about the prompt and decided that it is the word EXPERT that throws us off sometimes. Because we think that it means that we have to be better than the best to get that title, but that just isn't true. Just because we don't have a fabric line, or blog page with million viewers showing others how to do our "expertise" doesn't mean that we aren't experts ourselves. Everyone does things a bit differently, no? And there is always knowledge to be shared and learned. So I decided to change the prompt, just to make it a bit less intimidating, to "What are you really good at?"

WHAT AM I REALLY GOOD AT?
  1. People watching and understanding. I am good at seeing a situation and a person from all angles.
  2. Cooking. No, I don't have a cooking blog, nor do I take really good pics of my food, but that doesn't mean that I don't cook well. I also bake well. Maybe a bit too well according to the scale in the bathroom.....
  3. Writing.
  4. Traveling. Especially with children.
  5. Learning languages and moving to foreign countries.
  6. Making friends in odd situations.
  7. Putting myself out there...even when I feel totally outside the box.
  8. Listening and giving advice.
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And so on. It is a list I will continue to work on for awhile I think. Like a work in progress. I think it is good to take some time every week to reflect on what we can do as our individual SELF and not just as a wife or mother. Because apart from those two important jobs we are also US. I am Kat and there is more to me than the spit-up on my shoulder.....

  What about you? What are you really good at?

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