Six little words.
“Thanks for a great day, mom.”
My teenage son is sautéing the boneless ribeye, potatoes, and carrots he’s cut into small pieces, when he utters those six words to me. We had spent the day together riding rented bikes along the Marvin Braude Bike Trail in Santa Monica. We watched the sun set over the Pacific Ocean and then made the long journey home to make dinner. He is stirring his soon-to-be-in-an-empanada-filling, and he is feeling grateful. And because his frontal cortex is growing, he wants to let me know.
It catches me off guard and I almost wait for a joke or snarky comment to follow. But one doesn’t. He is feeling content and happy that we stopped at Von’s to pick up the carrots and celery for his envisioned empanada dinner. His homemade dough is in the fridge cooling (he is such a rule follower) and he simply wants to thank me for the day we had together.
In the book I am working to publish, CLIPPED: A Blanket Falls, A Mom Invents, Disaster Strikes I wrote: “I learn to ask women whether they work outside the home instead of whether they work, as if being a stay-at-home mom is not working. It’s a lot of work, people.”
These days I’ve been thinking about how many women are working outside the home, but at home. The lines are blurring as the ‘outside of home’ work has been forced into the home because of the pandemic, and now my question needs rejiggering. “Do you work outside of the home, at home?” feels clunky. But the thought that got me there, allowing for those who are stay at home moms to be granted their share of respect, remains.
It felt good to be thanked for my work.