Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Mommy Wars - Rantgirl Weighs in‏

I'm mad. I'm mad and I'm sad. I'm Smad. (Bonus points if you get the reference.)

How is it that in 2013, there are still people who ask the question of Stay at Home Moms: "What do you do all day?" Is this a joke? How is this still happening? I can only assume that the people that are asking the questions are not experienced in the realm of motherhood and are therefore completely ignorant and are legitimately seeking the answer to their question. I mean seriously, how is this still a topic? Did they not have mothers?

People are so stupid.

Can't we all just agree that it's ALL work? Working is work, and being home is work and anyone who has spent any time at all around children knows that children are work. Right? So how is this still an issue?

I want to tell the stay at home mommies to shut the heck up sometimes when they cry about not being recognized as "working". Listen, girls, we all know that you work, okay?

I wonder if we have a jealousy thing going on. The ones who stay home are jealous of the ones that get to leave their house and wear pantyhose and talk to other adults, while the ones who work are jealous of the ones who get to stay home and wear yoga pants, don't necessarily have to shower that day and can kiss the smooshy faces of their babies whenever they want.

I know that I'm jealous. When I have those days where getting out of bed is a chore and I'm having a bad hair day and I hate all my clothes, I still have to get up and leave my bed and shower and get dressed in something "professional" because guess what happens if I don't? I don't get paid. If I do it often enough? I get fired and never get paid. And then I can't feed my children. I'm pretty sure that's an important thing in the role of a mother - to feed your children.

You want to talk about jealousy? How about the working mom who works from home, but hires a nanny to come and play with her children so that she can work? Those moms don't get to join in the conversation. I want to punch those moms.

Maybe I have the wrong friends, but I keep seeing these "Heck ya, I work, I stay home" type of posts and it makes me wonder about the working mom. What about her? Where is her voice? Well, for one, she's too busy to pipe up. She goes to work and works all day only to come home and work all night (or vice versa). What about those moms? What about the moms who leave their babies and go to work and hate themselves because all they want to do is stay at home with said babies?

I can't even talk about single moms who have no choice but to work. Single moms have a special place reserved for them in heaven. This one time DH and I took Huey and my two nephews to the beach; they were all around three years old at the time. Oldest nephew lived on an island and was best friends with the ocean, so tore off as far from us as possible and dove head first into the roaring surf. Huey and DH skipped along in the tide pools, wandering along at their own pace, stopping to look at crabs and weird seaweed and anything else that caught their fancy. Youngest nephew lagged far behind because he had tripped in a tide pool, got tangled up in seaweed, and was paralyzed with fear. O.N. was too far away to hear my shrieking pleas for him to return, and Y.N. was freaking out, so knowing that my son was perfectly safe with his father, and fearing for the lives of the sons of my sisters, I ran back, scooped Y.N. into my arms and raced to the surf to haul O.N. out of the ocean and to play within a safe distance. Just as I was walking towards DH and Huey, dripping wet, dragging a soaking O.N. by the hand and carrying a sobbing, drenched Y.N. in my arms, my mother and brother arrived with towels and her famous beach bag. She was laughing at me and said, "Can you imagine? I did this with FOUR of you all by myself! What was I thinking? It's amazing none of you drowned." Like I said, MAJOR props to the single moms.

Back to the working moms; what about them? The ones who get up and get their kids ready for their day while getting ready for their own day, to go to work and do things all day for other people only to come home and make the dinner and do the laundry and clean the dishes and supervise the homework and read the books and put the ones to bed. Forget it if there's a sporting event, musical instrument concert, or scout meeting to attend. What about those amazing jugglers who sometimes don't even manage to get out of their pantyhose until ten o'clock at night? Pantyhose can be itchy, you guys; it's annoying and ugly and expected for you to wear if you want to look like a professional.

When Huey was two I changed jobs and we had no choice but to enroll him in preschool. Every day for a year when I took him into school he cried. His teacher would have to peel him off me every day. Then I would go into my car and cry; every day for a year.

When I went back to work after Dewey was born, he wouldn't take a bottle. He would scream and scream, but he would not take that bottle. One time DH called me at work, I could hear Dewey screaming in the background and my milk let down immediately. "Just come home as soon as you can." He said, and hung up. I hung up, told my boss that I had to go home, she understood what I was going through, and raced home. I could hear Dewey panic-crying from the elevator. I rushed down the hallway, unbuttoning my blouse as I went. After some intense internet research, DH figured out how to get Dewey to take a bottle and things got better, but I can't tell you the guilt I felt for having to leave my baby every day.

I'm only going to mention the humiliation of trying to find a discreet place to pump so that my children wouldn't have to have formula.

We were blessed where DH and I worked opposite shifts for the most part, so I mostly left my baby boys with their daddy. This lessened my guilt a little, but only a little. What kind of a mother leaves her children for hours every day? I wished so much I could just be with them. I wished that I was the one changing their diapers and watching The Bear in the Big Blue House and Blues Clues and Thomas and Bob the Builder. I wanted to be the one to play blocks and trains and cars and make forts and puppet shows. I would get up every morning and look over at my sleeping boys and be so jealous of their father who got to spend all day with them.

DH and I fight constantly because the house is a mess, but I don't have the energy to clean after working all day and then attempting to be there for my boys all night. I admit that my guilt drove my over compensating. I would come home from work and just do whatever the little ones wanted because I felt so guilty for leaving them all day. We would play and read and watch movies. There would be some semblance of dinner, but my little boys were my first priority. Dishes and laundry could wait, but then DH and I would fight about how nothing got done around the house.

You stay at home moms who get the "what did you do all day?" question? You're not alone. I would get it too. DH would go to work at 3pm when I got home. He would come home for dinner at 7:30 and see that the house was still a mess and that there was no dinner yet, and he would ask, "What have you been doing for the last four hours?" The answer is I've been paying attention to my boys to make up for all the time I've missed today! Now that he's home and he sees what my evenings are like, he's backed off a little, but we still fight about this and Huey is thirteen!

Our babies are only babies for so long. The time goes quickly and I feel like I missed out on so much of my babies being babies. Dewey is nine and perfectly capable of taking care of himself. My guilt has lessened somewhat now that they are both in school while I am at work, so I don't miss out on being with them during the day. There are still those times when they're home sick or on school holiday that I can't be with them during the day and I hate it. I still wish I could be a stay at home mom.

Sometimes I feel like our children need us more when they're teens and trying to navigate themselves into adulthood than when they're little.

I've taken vacation time just to stay home and live the life of a stay at home mom. I still can't get everything done. It may just be me, but my vote is that raising children is all encompassing, and it's work.

You guys, being a mother is WORK. We are all mothers. We need to love and support one another in our roles as mothers. I'm not saying that anyone has it any better or worse than anyone else. We all have it hard. I just wanted to give a voice to the moms who have to leave their children every day in order to put food on the table.

I don't want to fight. I'm too tired to fight.


  1. I totally get this -- and I'm NOT a working mom, but there was some big blogger guy's article gong the rounds of fb recently (maybe you read the same thing) that was all praise to the stay at home mom, which was lovely for me. Hurrah to recognizing the importance of motherhood and all that. And yes, anyone whoever asks the question of "What do you do all day?" to a stay at home mom should be slapped because, honestly, it just sounds mean and like belittling. BUT, kind of like you said here, stay at home moms need to quit whining. When I read the article, I literally thought, "If I had to work, I would absolutely want to punch stay at home moms in the face!" And I would. I complain sometimes about lack of freedom in getting things done because of so many little ones around, but sheesh. At least I have the option of throwing a meal in a crock pot mid afternoon to make less stress at dinner time. At least I have the option of mopping a gross floor mid-day. I might get drained from little people all day, but a working mom had to try and do the same things I do all day in a few working hours.

    So yes, we need to all quit our jealousy or insecurity yells and support one another. Of course, this doesn't include working OR stay at home moms who have nannies or maids. They only deserve to be shunned. ;) JK. Sort of. :)

  2. Thanks so much for this, Nancy! The article you mentioned is the one that spurred this rant, but there have been so many...
    I was terrified to post this as I didn't want to cause a rift, so your supportive comment is a blessing.
    We DO need to support each other - we're all moms.