OH WAIT. I TOTALLY DID.
Blair wrote a post yesterday about how being a working mom is hard. Because it is, y’all. It totally is.
This blog is a testament to the fact that this isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Yes, I’m on a string of good weeks. But guess what. My work load got ridiculously lighter because our competition season is over. That means no more afternoon practices. That means time to actually grade papers right after school. Or come home before 6:45 in the evening, an hour before my child is due to be in bed. That means I can cook dinner again or do a load or two of laundry in the evenings instead of saving it all for the weekend.
When your work load gets harder instead of easier, it throws the proverbial monkey wrench into your machine. Your plan.
And when you are a PPD/A mama, and/or a working mama, the plan is all you have.
You thrive on routine.
It’s the routine that lets you keep on going from one day to the next. Because routine? Is…well..routine. It’s consistent. It’s predictable. It’s usually less stressful.
So, this post that Blair wrote? It sparked some comments that just aren’t sitting well on my stomach. In fact, they are making me vom up this post right now so that I can purge myself of the Sanctimommy-ness.
Many of the commenters on Blair’s post seem to think that being okay with your role as a working mama is as simple as just not working anymore. Just quitting your job to be a stay-at-home mom. Because no one NEEDS two incomes. And being home with your children is just that important and worth any sacrifice that has to be made.
Y’all. My bank says otherwise. My student loans say otherwise. My ability to feed my child says otherwise.
I do not have an ostentatious car. I do not have some giant fancypants house on a golf course. (Hell, half of this place still isn’t decorated because we can’t afford it and I’ve lived here for five years. It looks like half a bachelor pad with a picture frame or two smattered about. And dust.)
But if I do not work? We do not survive. We do not save enough per month in what we wouldn’t have to spend to make it worth me not working.
Would I be home with my child every day? Yes.
But before long, I’d be homeless with my child.
While that might make for a slam-bang college essay for him someday, that’s not my idea of a good time. So I’ll work and help keep a roof over his head and treasure the time I DO get to spend with him, knowing that one day he’ll understand. Because he WILL understand.
And let’s not neglect the fact that I like my job and feel fulfilled doing my job and I feel like my job is a calling. Not just a job. It’s the paperwork and everything else that goes along with it that makes me not like it sometimes. So there’s that, you know?
Furthermore, let’s not forget the biggest point of all.
It is no one else’s business except mine and my husband’s whether or not I work and what our finances are and why I MUST work in order to help provide for my family. For that matter, whether or not any other working mother works is completely and totally up to that mother and her family.
Everyone else’s lives are not about YOU and what YOU think. Shocker. I know.
“They” tell us that our children will grow up maladjusted if we aren’t home. “They” say that we’re doing some sort of disservice to our families. That if we just scrimp and save and darn our own socks and grow our own vegetables in the windowsills of our apartments a la that crazy chick who lived on less than $1K a month (whose family of five lived in a two bedroom apartment where her children were sleeping on a mattress UNDERNEATH a crib and who didn’t believe in going to the dentist. EVER.) we, too, can have these perfect awesome wonderful children who appreciate everything and everyone and to that I say “HORSE SHIT.” (Sorry, Mom.)
Because that’s exactly what it is.
But that’s not even the only thing about the comments to that post that drove me bananas. (Sing it with me now…”This shiiiiii is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!“)
There was also this pervasive belief running through the comments that in order to have time with our children, we should give up “me” time.
My child has been on this earth for 591 days.
In those 591 days, I’ve been away from him for “me” time for less than 10 days.
LESS THAN 10 DAYS. IN HIS WHOLE LIFE.
Probably less than 40 hours if I were to really do the math.
(Hell, y’all. I take my child to band camp with me. And I take my mother along so that she can watch him and I can DO MY JOB.)
And there are people in those comments, women, MOTHERS, (I’m assuming) who say we shouldn’t want “me” time. That we shouldn’t NEED “me” time. That w should realize that we’re supposed to sacrifice “me” time to be a mother because this sacrifice will only be for a few short years. And that the resentment we sometimes feel toward our jobs for taking our time away from our children is displaced because our jobs are actually taking away our “me” time.
Spending 4 or 5 hours at my high school reunion on a Saturday night or an hour or two having wine with friends after a football game does not compare to the 40+ hours a week my job takes away from my family time. That’s ludicrous. There is no displacement of feelings there.
The fact is, I feel rejuvenated after a couple of hours away. I feel recharged. Like my fuses have been lengthened or reset or something. I’m able to handle the toddlerisms with the sort of grace I always hoped I’d have as a mother. When I spend an hour or two away from home, I don’t resent my husband and the fact that our son only wants me half the time.
Because sometimes, if I’m being really honest, I resent the fact that I sometimes can’t pee until Dan gets home unless I do so with Joshua sitting on my lap. And forget about doing any other “business.”
(Do you know how hard it is to unbutton your pants, pull them down, pee, wipe, pull your pants up, and rebutton them while holding a 30 lb toddler? You don’t? Well, I might hate you a little bit.)
And sometimes? I resent the fact that his crying (which is thankfully less and less as he gets older) used to send me screaming from the room while other people like Dan and my mom just sort of rolled with it.
But after a little “me” time, I’m more capable of remaining calm in the midst of the storm. Of rolling with the punches. Or whatever other metaphor or idiom you want to throw at me.
If you’ve got this all figured out…if you’ve got this balancing act of motherhood down to a science…then you need to SPILL IT.
Otherwise, stop pointing fingers. Stop judging. Stop being ridiculous in your expectations of other moms. Stop telling other moms or what you THINK they should do. Stop. Stop. STOP. Do not pass go do not collect 200 dollars. S. T. O. P.