I seem to have had a lot of these conversations recently... you know, the one where you're asked "What do you do?" and you answer, slightly embarrassedly, that you're "just a Mum" and feel the need to explain all that you did in your career before these little people turned your life upside down and changed you forever.
Earlier this week I got a letter asking me to update my information, and my heart dropped to my stomach when I realised that the box I had to tick, the only one that fit where I'm at at the moment, was "unemployed." "I'm not unemployed" I wanted to shout... "unemployed means you want a job and can't get one. This is my choice!" (FYI - I know that its not that simple, but that was my knee-jerk reaction!)
And really, this isn't going to be another one of those blog posts telling Mums everywhere that they shouldn't use the "just" word, because they are SO much more than "just" a Mum...
Because the thing is, being "just" a Mum is exactly what I'm honoured to be. Being "just" a Mum is exactly what I've chosen to be.
I get to be just a Mum. I don't have to divide my time, my energy or my skills. I have had the amazing privilege of being able to invest myself completely in these little people for the last eighteen months.
So I'm not going to moan about being "just" a Mum - I'm going to do the opposite.
I have many, many friends who would love to be "just" a Mum. But for various reasons, the option to be at home is not open to them...
I have many friends who would love to be the one to tuck their little one down for every nap
Who would love to be the one to witness their babies first steps
Who would love to be the one to pick up that rosy cheeked, bleary eyed, snuggler from their cot after nap time every day.
Who would love to see the joy on their little one's face as they hand over a biscuit
Who would love to paint, and bake, and craft, and draw silly pictures on the patio in chalk.
Who would love to skip, and play snap a hundred times, and send their child to the stairs for the umpteenth time.
Who would love to see that impish giggle at the child who opens their mouth while eating just to provoke you.
Who would love to just be there, doing the everyday, mundane housework while their children play outside, just so they get to be the first person to hear what that little person has just done...
"Mama, come and see this snail!"
"Mama, I just drew a lion!"
"Mama, me and Heidi built a tent!"
You see, in five days time, Ava starts nursery school. She will be in school five mornings a week. And I won't get to see all those things any more.
So right now, I'm feeling incredibly thankful that for most of the first three years of my little girl's life, I got to be "just" a Mum.
I wouldn't change it for the world.