A Real Job

Welcome to the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the continuity and constancy in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Flashback Senior Photo!

In 2005 I was a high school senior. I attended a small, private high school, about 150 students. State curriculum standards were changing and my high school had adopted a portion of the “senior project” requirement. Students were to choose a career, research it, job shadow, write an paper and present their findings and reflections. 

Although I had plans to attend college and pursue a degree in business, specifically nonprofit management, I knew my true career goal – a wanted to be a mom. That’s what I wanted to research. That’s what I wanted to learn more about. I knew that to be the best mama, to capitalize on my potential, I needed to read, study, shadow and learn before I had the opportunity to fully delve into parenthood. What a perfect chance this project presented to do just that! I presented my idea, outlining my intentions to detail out the art of homemaking and childcare, and waited for the go ahead. 
And then, it never came. I was told no by leadership. I was told motherhood wasn’t a “real” job. A commitment, a hobby, something everyone does … but not a career. Not something worth studying and definitely not something appropriate for my senior project. 
I baulked at their response – I showed them an article, like this one, equating an “income” to motherhood and therefore validating it as a career path. Still, no. Thankfully, my parents backed my project proposal (hi Mom and Dad – thanks for always having my back!) and in the end I reluctantly compromised. I halfheartedly wrote my senior project on the career of childcare. I broke it into three categories – daycare, nannying and mothering. And, to prove my point and study what I was really interested in I wrote just few paragraphs on daycare and nannying and followed with pages on mothering :)  
Pause for a moment here – if I was ornery and truly cared, I would totally send some of my blog and publication links to my old principal who has since retired. Motherhood is SO a career. I knew it then and I know it now. And, in a round about way, I earn an income from mothering. Because, without mothering I wouldn’t write much and I do earn a semi-regular, albeit small, income from writing. So there. There! I was right all along! 

In the next school cycle, 2014-2015, I’ll be celebrating my 10 year high school reunion and I’m definitely interested to see how each of my peer’s senior projects correlate with their current profession. Ten years ago I was passionate about becoming a mama, I knew it was the day to day activity that would fill my heart. It was the career I wanted to devote my life too.
Jemma and Max (and Dominic too) are the greatest bosses and coworkers I could ever imagine. This team that I journey through my days with is priceless. I wouldn’t trade my experience as wife and mama for any greater aspiration and I most definitely look forward to our monotonous chores, dinnertime meetings and occasional “business” travels. It’s thrilling to know how my role will evolve over the years as our family grows and changes, but right now, we’re all relishing in the steadiness of life; the settling into our home and foursome. 
Back in 2005 I imagined some parts of motherhood well – I knew there would be meals to prepare, lessons to teach and diapers to change, what I didn’t know was how fulfilling motherhood would be. I hoped it would be, but I didn’t fully know; couldn’t feel it in my soul like I do now. Now I know there is no greater joy to feel in every fiber that I’m in the right place at the right time.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Always an Artist — Some kids take longer than others to come into themselves, so you have to stick with them, as a parent, long after everyone else has given up, writes Douglas at Friendly Encounters.
  • Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom — Katie at All Natural Katie continues to stay true to herself after becoming a new mom.
  • Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs from A New Day talks about how she is using continuity in certain areas of her life to help promote change and growth in others.
  • Staying the Same : Security — Life changes all the time with growing children but Mother Goutte realised that there are other ways to ‘stay the same’ and feel secure, maybe a bit too much so!
  • Harmony is What I’m AfterTribal Mama gushes about how constant change is really staying the same and staying the same brings powerful change.
  • A Primal Need For Order and Predictability – And How I Let That Go — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she overcame her primal need for order and predictability once her awareness shifted, opening her eyes to the impact this had on her young daughter. Take a short journey with Jennifer and she bares her soul, exposes her weaknesses and celebrates her new outlook and approach to living life, even in the face of total chaos.
  • Breastfeeding Before and After — Breastfeeding has come and gone, but Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow finds that her relationship with her son is still just the same and just as good.
  • A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think?
  • Comfortingsustainablemum never thought she would want things always being the same, but she explains why it is exactly what her family wants and needs.
  • ‘The Other Mums’ and The Great IllusionMarija Smits reflects on the ‘great big magic show of life’ and wonders if it will continue to remain a constant in our lives.
  • Unschooling: Learning doesn’t change when a child turns four — Charlotte at Winegums & Watermelons talks about the pressure of home education when everyone else’s children are starting school.
  • Finding Priorities in Changing Environments — Moving from Maine to a rural Alaskan island for her husband’s military service, Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work found that keeping consistent with her priorities in changing environments can take some work, but is vital to continuous health and happiness.
  • Keeping it “Normal” — Kellie at Our Mindful Life has moved several times in the last two years, while doing her best to keep things stable for her kids.
  • The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey — Angela at Earth Mama’s World reflects on her homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a constant in the life of her family but the way in which they learn has been an evolution.
  • Sneaking in Snuggles: Using Nurturing Touch with Older Children — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s son was a toddler and preschooler, he was the most loving, affectionate kiddo ever. But during the course of his 5th year, he drastically reduced how often he showed affection. Dionna shares how she is mindfully nurturing moments of affection with her son.
  • Steady State — Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes a letter to her partner about his constancy through the rough sailing of parenting.
  • A Love You Can Depend On — Over at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, Jennifer has a sweet little poem reminding us where unconditional love really lies, so it can remain a constant for us and our children.
  • Same S#!*, Different Day — Struggling against the medical current can certainly get exhausting, especially as the hunt for answers drags on like it has for Jorje of Momma Jorje.
  • New Year, Still Me — Mommy Bee at Little Green Giraffe writes about how a year of change helped her rediscover something inside herself that had been the same all along.
  • One Little Word for 2014 — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs has decided to focus on making things this year, which is what she is loves, as long as she doesn’t kill herself in the process.
  • The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the continuity of her teaching, parenting, and grandparenting philosophy using a combination of freedom and consistency.
  • My Husband’s MiniCrunchy Con Mom shares which of her sons looks more like her husband’s baby pictures — and the answer might surprise you!
  • Growth Happens When You Aren’t Looking — Lori at TEACH through Love is treasuring these fleeting moments of her daughter’s early adolescence by embracing the NOW.
  • A New Reality Now – Poem — As Luschka from Diary of a First Child struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother, she shares a simple poem, at a loss for more words to say.
  • Making a family bedroom — Lauren at Hobo Mama has decided to be intentional about her family’s default cosleeping arrangements and find a way to keep everyone comfortable.
  • New Year, Same Constants — Ana at Panda & Ananaso takes a look at some of the things that will stay the same this year as a myriad of other changes come.
  • I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society — Despite how many strides we’ve taken to promote “breast is best,” Amy at Natural Parents Network talks about how far we still have to go to normalize breastfeeding in our society.

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  1. Sara Bell says

    I love this! I grew up in a family that didn't accept motherhood as a "career" choice and it is definitely still not always supported, but I wouldn't change a thing!

  2. Dionna_CodeNameMama says

    I hope that our culture starts treating motherhood (and fatherhood, for that matter) as a valid, valuable life path! I love that you're doing what you dreamed of :)

  3. Laura Burns says

    I'd love for you to email your principal :) I emailed the professor who said I'd hate my life if I were to ever be "just a mother". And she apologized. Vindication!!! Lol!

  4. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Good for you! I'll have to think on it … and track him down!

  5. Jaye Gallagher says

    Thanks, Gretchen for fighting for the validity of motherhood at such a young age! You were ahead of your time (though it seems like your teachers thought you were behind the times). Keep writing about how wonderful motherhood is. I'm listening :-)

  6. hobomama says

    That is so fantastic that you're living your dream! I think you were incredibly strong as a teenager even to attempt to fight that system, and I'm glad you found at least a compromise. I'd be very interested if you *did* send this link to your former principal!

  7. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Just another reason to pursue alternative education/homeschooling – less boundaries and more dreams. I'm excited for all my kids will be able to explore!

  8. All Natural Katie says

    The US has so far to go to accept motherhood as one of the most important jobs. Just look at the limited about of time off that working moms gets for maternity leave, most of the time unpaid unless you have worked somewhere for some time to build up paid time. Lets support mothers and fathers!

  9. says

    That's really fantastic that you always knew what you wanted for yourself. A lot of mothers struggle with the home-or-work question, and it's awesome for you that you've always known your path.

  10. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I truly enjoyed my pre-mom career, but I always knew it was a means to an end. It's a hard decision/transition, but I knew for me I couldn't efficiently balance both. I'm blessed to feel settled in being "just a mom" :)

  11. says

    You rock. I love your confidence in declaring your career is motherhood. I still shy away from the question and sometimes find myself downplaying my role when asked what it is I do. Staying at home with my babes and homeschooling them (just started this month!) is by far the most challenging and fulfilling job I've had yet.

  12. says

    PS-I heart your throw back senior photo. :)


  1. […] A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think? […]