My current, and so far, longest job I hold pays nothing but reaps some of the greatest benefits. Sometimes I must work all three shifts and I am always on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You see, I am a professional mother. It is not only what I do for a living, but it is also who I am. There are many costs, but there are even more rewards.
Raising children is difficult, frustrating and sometimes heart-breaking, and comes with no dental coverage or 401K plan. The financial cost of child-rearing is enormous, but oftentimes it is the cost of my sanity that seems the most unbearable. As a mother, it is easy to lose one's identity as the whole psyche is immersed in nursery rhymes, Sesame Street, the constant wiping of runny noses, and cleaning of sticky hands.
My job began 23 years ago with the birth of my oldest son. There were many items I need to buy in order to perform my duties as a mother; diapers, formula, clothing, toys and countless other things. I had three more children soon afterward. Then there were babysitters to pay, gymnastic leotards to buy and science projects to make.
Delayed gratification is another one of the parental prices one must pay when having children. Like most other parents, I always want my children to have as many opportunities as possible and this means I must put my wants and needs last.
I had my children when I was very young so I missed out on doing all the things other people who were my age did. I gave up going to college and having a career. I had to put my dreams and goals on hold until my children were older.
Parenting doesn't really get easier as children grow up; it just changes. My children no longer need constant care. They have boyfriends and girlfriends now. They have jobs. They have their own social lives. I still long for some privacy however and a sentence that doesn't start with, "Mom, where's my ?".
I have already mentioned a lot of what the tolls of being a mother have been for me.