Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dear incredibly small percentage of stay at home moms...

I have discovered in my two short years as a mother, that there isn't much that aggravates me more than a stay at home mom that thinks she's a better mom than one who works. There, I said it.

I have a feeling that there is going to be a boatload of backlash, several angry e-mails, maybe comments, and much gnashing of teeth over this statement, so I'm going to break it down to cut out some of the people who misunderstood. Stay at home moms in general do not bother me. I'm friends with some bitches who don't have to work because their husbands make enough money that only one income is needed. Whatever. Amazing! Fill your boots! I'm even friends with some moms whose husbands don't make enough money that only one income is needed, but they make some sacrifices and are all the happier. Perfect! However, it's the moms that portray themselves as martyrs because they stay home that crawl up my ass and fester there.

The moms who brag about how they're there when their kids are sick, when they get home from school, how they go on every field trip and tuck their kids in every night. Basically the ones who believe themselves to love their children more than you love yours, and look down on you because you work, because how could you possibly love your child when you work, you whore?

Let me explain how you do that, Super Uterus.

I work full time outside of the home. I know, it's ghastly. I'm also even lower than most other mothers who work outside of the home as my job requires that I work twelve hour shifts, including nights, weekends, and (I hope you're sitting down) Christmas. Pick your jaw up, Michelle Duggar, and add another scoop of sugar to your homemade iced tea. I know you're praying for my children under your breath as you read this.

So, on behalf of all the working moms I know who also seem to find time to raise great kids, and to educate the moms who have child protective services dialed and are seconds away from pressing send, I have compiled a list of reasons why it's okay to have a career and simultaneously produce offspring that might not require years of therapy as a result of having two working parents. Might.

1. Mommy worked hard for her education and/or is proud of her career.
     Why is this so wrong? Getting an education, be it a degree, certificate, certification, whatever, is something to be proud of! Up top to the moms who are proud of what they've accomplished and love what they do. I think that's a great image to portray to your kids! If you worked your way up the ladder feel like you worked too hard to give up something you love, what's wrong with that? I hope that Avery is proud of the fact that her mom is a nurse when she gets older. I hope it motivates her to get her education and find something that she loves enough to do it for the rest of her life. Up top if you're super proud to be a stay at home mom too, but remember that it doesn't make you better than the moms who also have careers.

2. Mommy needs adult contact. 
     Don't get me wrong, I love my little girl in a way that I have yet to be able to get down in words, but I, as well as several other moms I know, am a better mother to her when I have time with other adults and can talk about things other than kids. After a year of maternity leave home with Avery, I craved being a part of something again that wasn't a mommy group. I missed using my skills, and I really missed being around other adults who I could talk with about something other than nap schedules, diaper rash, sore nipples, and utter exhaustion. I'm not saying that this is all stay at home moms talk about, but I do know, and am guilty of it myself, that when moms get together they talk about mom things. When a mix of adults get together (in my case co-workers), they talk about other things. It's nice to talk to someone who can tell me about their recent trip, their upcoming wedding, the class they're teaching, the masters they're perusing. It can be a relief to talk to someone who doesn't have kids and who can remind you of things you used to talk about. All moms have a past life. It's nice to take a trip back there every now and then, even if it's just for a short while. 
     I am aware that stay at home moms also get out in adult groups and talk about more than their kids, no need to remind me, however I'm the type of person (and I know several others) who enjoy the social aspect of going to work. It's a different group of friends, a different mix of people, and its a great way to meet people and expand your social circle. This is coming from the voice of experience. When I moved to a new town and spend every waking moment of my days off in the house with my toddler because I didn't know anybody and didn't know where else to go, work was a welcome distraction. To be able to talk to somebody over 3 feet tall and not have to speak in the third person was amazing. I didn't realize how much I missed that or needed it. 

3. Mommy needs some money.
     I'm sure that financially, a lot of moms I know could go part time, or even give up work all together and stay home. I'm going to be the selfish bitch though who comes out and says straight up that I don't want to make those sacrifices though. I love the fact that I don't have to ask if there is enough money in the account for me to do X or to buy Y. I also love the fact that because we both work, Brad can have his golf membership every year which contributes to his happiness, we can take a trip in the summer, we can go out to dinner together, and as long as we continue to play it smart (nobody is financially invincible), we don't have the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. I don't want to give these things up because Brad and I are happier in our marriage when we have lives outside of each other and have a life as just a couple. This in turn creates a better home life for our family. I'm glad that Avery gets to see that mommy and daddy get dressed up and go out to dinner together, and I'm even more glad that Avery doesn't have to see us stressed out because we are running low on cash and have bills piling up. I'm also thrilled that because we both work, we are able to pay a pretty decent amount of money into education funds and extracurricular activities for our kids and not miss that money. I know there are couples out there who make these sacrifices and have great marriages and family life and remain financially stable with one income. I am in no way saying that staying at home to raise your kids means you are sobbing into your pillow every night about how you are going to make ends meet. This is just how our life works and we both like it that way, and happy parents equals happy kids. So do what makes you happy, whatever that may be. 

4. Mommy likes her independence. 
     Once upon a time I got all dressed in white and said some things and made some promises in a church full of a whole lot of people who are pretty important to myself and Brad, and I have every intention of sticking to what I said. However, I am also very aware of the fact that sometimes things can get shitty, and people can get shittier and promises can get broken. Although I don't have any plans on ever being single ever again, because frankly I don't have the time or the energy, and I certainly don't have the body, to be puking in an ally every Saturday night while simultaneously luring eligible bachelors with my vomit pheromones like I used to when I was 21, I'm aware of the fact that some catastrophic marriage event could happen that ends us as a couple. Or maybe we'll just peter off. Or maybe I'll smother him in his sleep for snoring. Maybe he'll leave me because my boobs sag after nourishing two of his offspring, or because I have stretch marks, or because I'm a rage filled hormonal bitch. Who knows? Either way, the fact that I don't rely on him to support me financially is a pretty nice feeling. Go on, Brad, leave. I dare you! Just kidding, don't do that. I've grown attached. But still. I would still be able to make payments on the vehicle that is in my name and get myself a place to live, and continue on without having to ask him for anything. I would get half of the money made on our house because my name is on it, because I contributed to it, not because I just want it. I also would not have to scramble to find a source of income. It's not something that I think about often, or ever, but now that I'm here and I'm thinking, it's nice. Kind of makes me feel like a Pussycat Doll. I don't need a man! Not for financial reasons anyway. Maybe to pick up the dog poop though... Also, while we're on this topic, I think it's a great thing to teach my own daughter to support herself. Nothing would make me more proud than to see her succeed and be able to be independent.
I know that this has the potential to ruffle some feathers, so one final time I'm going to remind everyone that this is not directed at stay at home mothers as a general group. Again, some of my close friends are stay at home moms and they are hilarious and have great partners and great family life. Some of them are lucky enough to not have to worry about the financial aspect, some of them have given up some things to make it work. They are great friends and great moms and all around awesome people and I love them. And they work hard. Staying at home with your babies is no holiday, I'm not stupid. Sometimes a twelve hour shift in the unpredictable emergency room  with no break is a better scenario than staying home with an overtired toddler. Those moms don't get that "luxury". They all have something in common though; they treat all other mothers as equals. Not once have I, or any other mutual friend that I know of, felt inferior to them as a parent because we choose (or out of necessity) have careers both inside or outside of the home. I have never been made to feel badly because Brad had to get Avery from daycare early instead of me because she was sick and there was nobody to cover my shift. I've never been made to feel like less of a mother because she woke at 2 and I was working a night shift. It's equal playing field, and that's the way it should be between mothers. We're all just here to love our kids and survive the shitty bits. Everybody does it differently, and as long as we are loving our kids, and they can feel that, how can anyone say that one mom is doing it any better than another? 

Also, in closing, I can say for certain on behalf of all working moms, both inside and outside the home (just because you work from home, that doesn't mean you get to spend all day with your kids, even if your job is taking kids in. I'm sure of it.), when your work day ends, and you have a few quiet moments with just you and your little family, that is the best. You cherish them and crave them and embrace them, and you get to realize what a blessing the little devils can be. 

So step off, stay at home moms who think they love their kids more than moms who work. Missing a soccer practice because of work doesn't make us the equivalent of Susan Smith, okay? Carry on being the great stay at home mom that you are, but be one of the cool stay at home moms who is non judgmental. For real. 

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