Guilt

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/12/living/irpt-parents-erin-hill-mommy-guilt/index.html?iref=allsearch

I woke up before my alarm this morning and decided to read some news stories while lying in bed. The one above caught my eye so I read it and it sure set a poor tone for my mood on an otherwise lovely Friday morning.

In case you don’t want to read the full article, I’ll summarize.

Wah. Wah. Wah.

Ok, I’ll be nice(er).

The author goes through lengthy descriptions of why she’s a bad mom. These include such offenses as giving her kids granola bars for breakfast, and digging out toys from the back seat for show and tell because she forgot to pack one.

She then goes on to explain how her aspirations of being a stay at home mom stemmed from her college degree in human development and the horrors she witnessed working in day care centers; runny noses and tired eyes.

She then states her own opinion of mothers who work full time “Why have kids if you don’t want to raise them?”

Then she goes on to explain how she was living her dream life at first. All except no SUV or Gymboree membership (Wah. Wah.) Then things started looking up as soon as her husband started making more money. Benefits of his increased income included highly elevated social status for her which included hanging out with other stay at home moms and buying organic groceries together for dinners that were made from scratch!

Then the bottom of her perfect mommy life falls out when her husband decides he wants a divorce. Suddenly she was forced to become one of those working mom’s that she so judged.

Here’s where I gave her a benefit of the doubt and thought she would next go into how much she changed her tune, but that’s not at all what she did. Instead, she throws herself a pity party and goes into complete martyrdom explaining what a bad mom she is because she doesn’t serve eggs and toast for breakfast her poor son puts in a 9 hour day at daycare. Seriously, where is CPS?!

It doesn’t end there for this poor mom. The guilt just keeps coming. Gone is her dream of her kids coming home to a daddy that wrestles them or walking home from school to a mom that has snacks ready and waiting on the counter. Oh the therapy they’ll surely need later on!

I don’t mean to bash this writer. I’m sure she is a good mom and really loves her children. I’m sure she didn’t write the article intending to be offensive. I don’t think she’s a terrible person. I do think she has her nose in the air and that her new situation hasn’t really humbled her as much as it should have.

Her good “mommy life” she wrote about is very privileged parenting. I’m not saying that its “bad” or “wrong” at all. For the record, I have nothing against Stay at Home Moms, or even those with Gymboree memberships (though I’ll admit I have absolutely no idea what a Gymboree membership even is!). I think if it works for their families and makes them happy, then it truly is best for them and their children. I don’t envy them and I don’t have anything against them. Happy moms=happy kids and everyone wins.

To say that this is the “only” acceptable way to parent is horribly ignorant.

There is no point to debating “which is better” either. Being a working parent, or a SAHP both have their challenges and benefits and I strongly believe in whatever works best for you and your family.

I’m sorry that her marriage didn’t work out, I truly am. I’m sure it was an emotional couple years while everyone adjusted to a new way of life. Since her dream was to be the SUV drivin’, organic shopping mom she described and reality didn’t turn out that way, I’m sure it must have been hard to adjust to a completely different reality. Still, the challenges she describes with such drama tell me she misses her own image of a perfect life more than anything else. That, and she blatantly puts down other moms who don’t live by her own ideals.

Here’s what struck a cord with me. She stated that she judgmentally wondered “why people would have kids to have someone else raise them?”

So apparently, unless you’re lucky enough to marry a man with enough wealth and status that you don’t have to work, you shouldn’t have kids. What about women that do have the means to stay home, but still choose to have careers after kids? They must be completely selfish in her mind.

Her statement goes far beyond offending just dual income families. What about our soldiers? Men and women that make the ultimate sacrifice for us, yet because they’re gone for long periods, they don’t deserve the chance to know the love of a child? What about police, firemen, nurses and doctors that pull long shifts? I think you get where I’m going.

The way she describes the perils of a 9 hour day at daycare are almost laughable to me. My daughter actually puts in a 10 hour day at daycare, I better start saving now for all the therapy she’ll need. Her days consist of eating breakfast, getting a diaper change every hour, napping when she’s tired, reading books, exploring toys and socializing with adults and babies. Not just some cold worker making minimum wage, but someone who really does care for her. I’ve seen the bond they have first-hand.

I’m so sick of this nonsense guilt ridden, judgment that society and other moms put on mothers! And I know the dagger points both ways. SAHM’s are criticized just as much for their choices.

Being a good mom has nothing to do with driving a certain car, buying the right clothes, going on the right play dates and serving up organic foods. It also has nothing to do with life going exactly the way you intended it to go. I know a very young widow that’s now raising 3 kids under 2 all by herself. That was never part of her plan. Does she struggle every single day? Yes. Does that make her a bad mom because her priorities have shifted and she’s living in a perpetual state of managed chaos? No. She’s a great mom.

Is the mom who lives pay check to pay check that often goes hungry a few nights a week so her kids can eat dinner a bad mom? Is she less deserving of the kids she has because of her status in life?

My best memories from my childhood have nothing to do with the things I had or the clothes I wore. They are all about the things I did…yes, even with two working parents. That’s the beauty of children. We should all take a lesson from them. They don’t care if you’re rich or poor, about your race or orientation, if you’re fat or skinny. All they know is if they feel loved. In the summers my dad used to play tag with us every evening when he came home from work. I’ll never forget that. My mom used to show us how to do things with crayons and scrap paper. I couldn’t even tell you what kind of car we had back then. My parents never had a lot of money but I had a very happy childhood, nonetheless.

I think that raising a child is the best gift there is in this world. I feel strongly that every person who desires should be able to experience it. It shouldn’t matter what their lifestyle choices are.

I hope for Erin’s sake that she remarries a rich man so she can live her ideal life again. For the meantime, I think she should humble herself and stop judging other’s parenting choices and deciding that she’s a bad mom because she’s not privileged anymore. Hopefully she is raising her children to be grateful for what they do have, not what they don’t.

I’ll close with a positive message that a friend of mine sent me after we were discussing briefly how we sometimes felt like we couldn’t keep up with it all and felt like it was “never enough”.

http://www.lifewithjack.com/2012/05/1st-corinthians-13-for-moms.html

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