How do I say this politely?

on 26 August 2009

Can I please just vent some spleen for a minute here? I'm sorry, I try really hard to keep my blog vitriol free, but I have to do something or I'm going to BURST INTO FLAMES.

Chris works with some very nice people, many of them women. Most of them in their mid-40s, smart, attractive, very professional women. My complaint is not with them specifically but with a sentiment that is often associated with the whole Working Moms verses Stay at Home Moms debate.

(And believe me, PLEASE BELIEVE ME, I'm not looking to get in to that debate here. This is just M venting spleen and it's been a long day, in a long succession of long days and Chris has been gone for, oh, 14 hours just today and no phone calls and no emails and no text messages and we haven't really talked all week because he works for, oh, 12 hours (at least) and then comes home and collapses. So I could just be feeling a teensy bit isolated and overwhelmed and it's just heightening the melancholy, which I'm trying to avoid because it just makes me cry, and crying makes my head hurt so I'm turning to my good friend RAGE to see me through. Are we all on the same page now? Ok, good.)

Can I just say, for a moment, how TIRED, how ANNOYED, how INDIGNANT I am with the Working Moms smiling and nodding so condescendingly about how I am doing the BEST thing for my child? And how WONDERFUL it is that I stay home! And how they would have LOVED to do that but blah blah frickety frackety BLAH.

First, let me say, I don't need your approval. I know I made the right choice for my family. Second, you don't know me, you don't know my life, you don't know my choices so please don't presume to pass your approval off as some kind of INFORMED anything. It's NOT. It's superficial AT BEST. Third, when did my child's or my FAMILY'S welfare become any of your business AT ALL? My family, my kid, MY business.

I know. Is it really worth this RAGE? I'm not sure. I'm not sure why I'm so sensitive about this right now. I suspect it's the vein of insincerity that courses through the whole damn situation. The smiling and nodding and the pretense of the whispered, "oh, I would have stayed home BUT..."

Here's the thing. I'm not stupid. I get it. I do. It's NICE to have an office with a door you can shut. I would LOVE to have an administrative assistant to work up my schedule and organize my life. I would buy her Godiva chocolate on Administrative Assistants day (Wednesday of the last full week of APRIL). I would LOVE to have the additional income. I would love to wear smart clothes and jewelry. Heck, today I would love to wear something that my kid hasn't wiped his face on!

And it's LYING when you try to tell me that these things don't factor into your decision. They DO. I know they do. I've MADE that decision before. And the money thing? Don't you think that people become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and then, that's just it. They're comfortable where they are and they think that they CAN'T become accustomed to anything less. And I know, BELIEVE me I know, that there are moms who HAVE to work, there is no other option--bills must be paid, mortgages and medical bills and student loans and car loans and endless endless demands for money. I really do. I have a lot of lovely women friends who work and are AWESOME Moms (CD and SH I'm looking at you two primarily, but there are others out there--although, CD, I'm not sure if you count yet, but you 4 more weeks), but they're also the ones who have NEVER condescended to me in this way, and so are exempt from this rant.

(I probably shouldn't post this. I'm in a really weird head-space right now and there are an awful lot of parentheses and ALL CAPS...)

I think at the root of all this angst is that I feel like that condescension, that petulant treatment, undermines and devalues the choice that we, who have taken the road less traveled, have made. It some how makes it worth less than it really is. I don't stay home because I had no other choice, I stay home because I CHOOSE to, because I WANT to and not because I don't have any other options. And if there are mothers who work (ahem, they aren't reading this, but I'm thinking of some very well-dressed women at the hospital), that's their choice and that's fine too. Just admit that it's your choice and LEAVE IT AT THAT.

After all, who are any of us to judge the choices of another--good or bad? We don't live in their heads. We don't live their lives.


SH said...

Well said, M! I can totally understand how frustrating that must be and kudos to you for venting it out. No need to keep that bottled inside you - that wouldn't be good for you, the Boy or the Husband. As I told you when I knew you were contemplating the return to work or no, I knew that you would make the right decision for you and your family (as I did in my case too, as you obviously know) and you have. And I also told you that I would love you either way and I still do! Even if you did move all those states away! ;-) In all seriousness though, don't let them get to you. You are a FANTASTIC wife and mother and no one would have that any other way, I'm sure. ((HUGS))

Whimsy said...

I think that SH is a very wise woman. As are you.

Hang in there, yo.

(And ultimately, I think we're all pretty sensitive about the choices we've made. There are judgments on either side, right?)

Emily said...

I think I can relate to you in EVERY aspect of that post! Love Ya!

Tori said...

I'm a working mom, but it's definitely a decision I made because I like to work and get out of the house. And I love my stay-at-home husband! :) I would rather my baby be taken care of by one of us than by some stranger in a daycare who has too many children to juggle. Although it would be nice if Corbin had some baby friends she could socialize with...

ANYWHO. I just wanted to state that as a working mom, this post did not offend me. That is all. :)