When we moved Iris from a daycare center to a preschool, she noticed that some of the other kids were picked up much earlier than she was. She discovered the creature called a ‘stay at home mom’ (SAHM). She asked me why I went to work instead of being a SAHM. Rushed as I usually am, I quipped it was because her daddy didn’t earn enough for me to stay at home.
Another day, soon after that conversation, she told me that she wanted me to go back to the daddy store and get a rich one.
Changing tactics, I told her that I also worked because I enjoy my work. I went to her classroom and told the kids about weather satellites, showed pretty satellite pictures and then topped it off with a NASA video of the Terra launch and deployment. [Satellite deployments are mesmerizing as the parts unfurl from the rocket casing-- like a flower emerging from a bud.] Thereafter, Iris gained cachet for having a ‘space’ mom and I thought the situation had been defused.
A few months later, she got mad about something and exploded. She went on about SAHMs again. I asked her why life with a SAHM would be so much better. She said that SAHMs pick up their kids right after class and take them home to bake cookies. She added, “All you do is go to work and launch satellites.”
What did I do? I bought a whole bunch of cookie cutters which were used exactly once.
I related this story to a coworker whose kids have all grown up and been successfully launched. He said that Iris is remarkably prescient in knowing that a satellite launch requires the work of thousands of people while cookie baking can only be done by the mommy and child.
We didn’t even eat most of the cookies we baked. I guess they were wrong for our household. But I did buy some rice ball presses. We had so much fun with those, we are inviting some other kids whose mommies (and daddies) have to work late tomorrow to come over to make rice balls with Iris and myself. Time permitting, we might even make some melt and pour soaps for Mothers’ Day.
Keywords: Iris, modern motherhood