Catchy title, right? There’s a reason for it.
This morning I read an article from an Australian website called Mamma Mia (www.mammamia.com.au) – originally published on YourTango.com – entitled “Dear Stay-At-Home-Mums, Shut the Eff Up” and I’m sorry but it pissed me “the eff” off.
Maybe she caught me on a bad week. Maybe if I weren’t sick, if I hadn’t watched a dream job get flushed down the toilet through no fault of my own, if my husband and I weren’t stressed out and scraping by financially, I would have just laughed it off and kept on scrolling after reading it. It appears, though, that this author did catch me on a bad day and I’m inclined, as she clearly was, to pen my own open letter.
And this is it: How dare you?
The path a woman follows leading up to – and during – motherhood is lined with those who will judge her. From the moment that little strip turns pink, everyone and their sister will judge a woman for her decisions. You’re gonna eat that? You’re eating organic? You’re working? You’re not working? You’re breastfeeding (in public?!) You’re formula-feeding? You’re co-sleeping? You’re letting him/her cry it out?
The list continues.
Every single move a new parent makes is scrutinized by those who claim to possess far superior knowledge for mistakes and judgements are passed, either to that parent’s face or behind his/her back when s/he leaves to change the umpteenth diaper blowout or to sooth a bad dream.
And this woman sees fit to add another cause for judgement to the list: Venting. The fact that a woman – after having gone through the extremely traumatic physical act of bringing another life into this world and then adjusting to the daunting fact that this small person’s existence and survival in this world relies entirely on her – breaks down on occasion and phones her best girlfriend to vent about (gasp!) the dirty dishes that won’t clean themselves or the laundry that regenerates as soon as it leaves the hamper. Admitting that she is not Superwoman and confiding in a friend, a neighbor, a fellow mother or a family member.
I realize that choosing to be a stay-at-home parent is a choice we’ve all made. And we’ve all made it for the same reason: We want to be there for our child. We want to be there for all the milestones – great and small – instead of receiving reports about them from a daycare teacher or a nanny. Yet no amount of second-hand knowledge gained from our own mothers, aunts, grandmothers, friends, etc. could have prepared us entirely for what exactly the job entails and for some of us, it can be a difficult adjustment to make.
I’m very happy for this woman, that she has been able to tackle tantrums and colic and sniffles and fevers without uttering a breath of a complaint. That she has been able to care for her spouse and her children with the selflessness and patience of a saint (that hint of sarcasm you detect there was intentional, but I remain sincere in my message). In all honestly, good for her. She possesses a depth of patience that I do not.
But for her to preach – no doubt from her pristine home, while she simultaneously vacuums, cooks, cleans and folds laundry, condescend and judge other women who have moments of frustration, irritation, depression, even loneliness is just. Plain. Wrong.
Instead of alienating one another for the choices we, as women and as mothers, make and the actions we take, we should be supporting one another and reminding each other that there is always a friend there to listen if we need to freak out for a moment.
I hope, for her sake, that when the day comes that she truly needs to vent to a friend, they don’t turn around and tell her, “Suck it up, buttercup. Nobody cares.” Because that’s essentially what she told stay-at-home-mothers the world over in her article.
Disclaimer: All mothers (and fathers) are superheroes, in my opinion. Whether you choose to stay at home or be a working parent. Don’t let anyone tell you the choice you made is the wrong one. And if you ever want to vent, I’ve got a cup of coffee and a box of chocolates ready for you.
(To read the original article that inspired this post, you may click the following link: http://www.mamamia.com.au/parenting/stay-at-home-mum-4/)