Friday, August 12, 2011
I am about to post something that is probably going to make me wildly unpopular, but hey, I'm in an ornery mood.
Maybe you've seen this little gem floating around on the Internet?
Look. I have a kid. I'm a stay at home mom. I'm not saying it's not hard. I can go back and read my blog posts from the first year this boy was around and see just how very hard it was. But for reals?
It's not THAT hard. It's not so hard that you shouldn't be able to have time for your friends. It's not so hard that you shouldn't be able to do things for yourself, as a human being, as a woman, as a wife, as a friend.
The woman who wrote the letter is asking a very real question, and I think it's terrible that the advice columnist blasted her the way she did. She said she doesn't have any children so obviously she has no idea what her friend is going through. Cut the girl a little slack!
Also, I happen to think that she asks a valid question in trying to understand why her friend has no time to call or email; what exactly goes on in that sort of work day? I mean, how would she know? She doesn't have any children!!! I understand her asking if it's a contest, I really do. I've gone through "friendships" a few times with people who saw everything as a contest. Women who feel they have to prove how important they are, and they prove their worth with being so busy. Just too busy for everything, including you.
Having a baby is hard. The first six months kicked my butt like no other. By eight months, I had definitely settled into a groove and felt more like I knew what I was doing. Yes, you do have to learn to do things with one hand, and you have to balance a whole bunch of things every time you leave the house and even formerly simple tasks do take a lot longer than they used to take. Babies are WORK, make no mistake about it. However, they are not the soul sucking, thankless, never-ending, tugging at you from 50 directions job that the advice columnist makes them out to be.
I went grocery shopping with my kid. I left my house with a baby and a giant diaper bag and his molded plastic item du jour. I hung out with my friend, when she wasn't too busy to hang out with me, and I really don't think that my child suffered because I did those things. I kept him fed, and he was always clean and in a cute outfit. We went to baby story time at the library, and play dates with our playgroup. My kid learned how to sign, how to walk, how to feed himself, and how to talk even though I took time to post to my blog and keep up with my emails.
I'm not saying this because I'm trying to be all like "I'm better than you" because I am probably not better than you. I'm just so tired of this mentality that some women take on that just because they've had a baby that they deserve some sort of medal. Having a baby, for the most part, is a choice. Some of the greatest moms that I know never seem to be short on time for friends in addition to family, even though their family always comes first. People need to learn that making something a priority doesn't mean that you need to exclude everything else. If you are blessed enough to have a friend who wants to talk to you on the phone, who likes to exchange emails, who thinks it would be fun to hang out with you, and you can't find a few minutes here and there because you have A (as in one, the author of the letter says her friend has A CHILD) CHILD, well then, maybe you don't deserve that friend.
That all being said, I'm writing this from the point of view of being a stay at home mom with only one child. Two kids, I'm sure, are WAY harder. I'm really kind of freaked out about that, actually. It's gotta be like herding cats! Also, I don't know how the moms who have to go to a workplace, and then come home and still have to do most of the stuff us stay at home moms do manage. I would be stressed out of my mind. I'm not talking about those moms. I'm talking about the moms like me - the ones with one kid, the ones that stay at home. Being a mom is hard, no doubt about it, but it's not the hardest job on Earth like some people like to say. It's just really high up there on the "thankless" scale and I think that makes it seem a whole lot harder.
Oh, and well I'm at it, please oh please don't even get me started on this little bit of precious that pops up on Pinterest every freaking day:
It brings to mind a term I've heard before: The Sanctimommy. Ugh. Aren't you just such a good mommy?
I know that the trend right now is for bloggers to post "keepin' it real" photos of how their house is usually a mess. I want to know what exactly you're teaching your kid by letting them trash your house. My house is by no means a showplace 24/7. I struggle with keeping up with the dusting (I live in the desert, after all!) and there's usually something scummy on my coffee table because the boy sets his drinks there. It's not unusual to have Hot Wheels littering my sofa. But photos where every room has junk all over the floors and the sink is piled high with dishes? That's just gross.
Part of raising children is teaching them boundaries and how to take care of themselves, including cleaning up after themselves.
And now I'm done with my grouchy rant. (Watch, I bet that means I'm not pg again this month)
©2008 Sara Madrigal Fehling. All rights reserved.
Please do not take my photos without permission.
Contact me! email@example.com