Some people with kids work. Some don't. Who cares, you say?
Apparently, a lot of people. And whichever side you find yourself on, you have no doubt felt the sting of a snarky comment from the other side of the fence.
You stay at home? Wow! You must have so much free time!
You go to work? Well, I'm not sure how you do it - I could never leave my kids with someone else.
I know I've been the "victim" of some comments that made me want to slash some tires. Like, YES I leave Olivia with a sitter and she sees her more than me on those days. YES I miss a lot of things. NO I don't really feel guilty and I don't care if you think that makes me sound shitty. NO I don't wish I could be at home. YES, I think you should promptly shove your opinions up your ass.
And, oh, I know it goes the other way, too. You threw away your education and career to just stay at home? I could never stay home, I would be too bored. I worked too hard to get where I am. As if you just gave up something great to sit around and watch Blues Clues all day.
Rude. Rude. Rude! Or...not? I don't know.
I think it really has to do with your audience and your delivery. Just like anything else. You can say something and mean one thing, and that person can take it a completely different way. Any way that you describe your choice, you are automatically giving reasons why the alternative is the lesser choice.
Why do I work? Because I would go crazy if I was at home all day. I would eat nonstop and I would watch TV, and I would probably make Target verrrrrry profitable. I need adult interaction. I WANT my paycheck and all the benefits associated with my job. So does that mean that I'm saying that stay at home moms don't want all of those things? Or that I think they just watch TV all day and shop and falalalalala?!
One point that came up was asking where a working mom takes her child. Which seems to be an innocuous question, but we all know that the delivery is everything. Let's say that I, as a working mom, ask another working mom, "Hey, where does your preshus baybee go during the day?" I'm sure that wouldn't come across as rude, but just as an inquiry.
But, how about someone who doesn't work? Who says something like, "Where does your preshus baybee GO during the day?" And you think, what the hell do you mean where does she go? Why, I leave her in her crib all day with a few bottles and a chainsaw! Duh!
Here's what I think about being a working mom: It's freaking hard. It's busy. When Olivia is awake, I spend every moment with her. I play with her, I feed her, I take way too many pictures of her. Here is my workday routine:
5 - 6 a.m. Wake, shower, COFFEE, dry hair, dress, makeup
6 - pack daycare bag, pack lunch, load car, walk the dogs
6 or 6:30 - Olivia wakes - change diaper, dress baby, give meds, bottle, play
7 - 8 leave for sitter, drive to work
8-4:30 work (M,W,F workout at lunch; T,Th run errands)
5 - pick up from sitter
5:30 get home, walk the dogs, feed Olivia and play, start dinner, bathe Olivia
6:30 put Olivia to bed
6:45 - 9 see Mark, finish and eat dinner, make bottles, set out clothes (me and Olivia), return emails/phone calls, run errands/pay bills/blog/whatever the hell else.
9 - bed.
Rinse. Repeat. And I am lucky enough to have a husband who cleans the entire house and helps with laundry and takes care of the yard. I can't imagine being single or having a lazy sloth of a husband.
I really don't care if people stay home or work. I also don't really care what people do all day when they stay home. I assume they do a LOT. When I am off for 3 or 4 days in a row, and I am with Olivia that whole time, I am EXHAUSTED. So I imagine it is exhausting to care for your child (children!) all day every day.
People say that they don't care - that they don't judge, do what's best for your family, puppies kittens rainbows. But the reality is that we DO judge each other.
I am not going to sit here and say that I haven't thought some really rude things from time to time. Not about a stay at home parent in general, but about particular situations. Like, if you can't pay your mortgage, but you still go on vacation and buy all the new Gymboree outfits because you had a coupon? I'm judging you.
And I find it really hard to believe that people don't take issue with working families - you know, the whole leaving your kid to be raised by other people thing. Because if I REALLY wanted to stay at home with Olivia, we could make some serious lifestyle changes and make it work. But I don't want that, and I guarantee that there are a lot of Internetters out there calling me selfish.
Tell me, my dear Internet friends. What do you think?
(Don't be assholey in my comments section, mkay?)