Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dear Thankful Mom...

I'm writing this blog as somewhat of a response to a blog I've seen floating around my Facebook news feed.  I know some may roll their eyes because I guess I always have something to say... but hey, you don't have to read it!  In case you haven't seen the blog I'm talking about, you can read it here: Dear Stay-At-Hom-Moms, Please Shut Up.

Although I understand the premise of the point she wanted to get across, she did it in such a selfish, self absorbed and high and mighty way that I don't even know if I can take her seriously.  I even hope that she was hired to write that article just to stir up controversy.  That would be more understandable than her close minded point of view.

So what was the premise?  Well, I think she was trying to say that there are many moms out there that have to spread themselves very thin.  They work full time, put kids in daycare and hope to squeeze in some time with their kids before tucking them into bed.  They miss out on lots of firsts, like first steps, first words, maybe even a first lost tooth.  You know, those milestones we, as parents, all hope to witness for the first time.

For single working moms, time gets spread even more thin.  No one to help cook dinner.  No one to feed the kids in the morning so you can get a quick shower in.  You have to take time off of work if a child is sick.  You have to be mom and dad on so many occasions.

Both of those positions are very hard to be in and it's a legitimately good reason to sometimes not want to hear griping from other moms that maybe don't have to spread life so thin.  However, that doesn't mean the stay at home mom might not have it just as rough, but for different reasons.  For the author of the blog I posted above, it seems to be her theory that working moms have more of a right to complain than stay at home moms.  Or I'd even go as far as to say that she believes they don't complain nearly as much.  Some say she's talking about just being happy and content with the life we have, but I'm sure not even she can say that it's just that easy.  Just because people complain sometimes, it doesn't mean they aren't grateful for the life they have.

What are my thoughts on this topic and her blog?  I say, who cares what she thinks?  There are so many different types of moms out there... so many different types of parents.  There are so many types of situations that who is she to judge one person or another?

I've been in a few different boats.  I've been a working mom with a partner.  I've been a single working mom.  I'm currently a stay at home mom.  All positions have griping rights.

When I was a single working mom, I went through all the things I listed a few paragraphs up.  I had to play many roles (just like a stay at home mom).  I was the chef, I was the boo boo kisser, I was the chauffeur (to and from babysitters or doctors appointments or on a good day something fun), I was the bread winner, I was the banker, I was the maid, I was the shopper... there was a lot on my resume.

As a married working mom, guess what?  My resume wasn't much different.  I still did most of those things.  I just had an extra set of hands.  But they weren't my hands.  I still wished there was two of me to get everything done.  I also worked an overnight shift, so I had to do it all on little sleep.  I did this up until I had three kids and decided to stop working right before I became pregnant with number four.

So my husband and I decided it was best for me to stay home.  My resume was still the same (although I had to remove the bread-winner part).  My job hours have increased though.  I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  When the kids are sick, I stay up and hold the buckets or sleep on the couch with them so my husband can sleep since he has to work.  I pay the bills and make the doctors appointments.  I talk to every teacher that calls me.  I do a lot.  I'm the face of this family.  I get exhausted sometimes.  When my husband was out of work, I went back out and started working again until he could find something.  My husband will never deny how hard I work and try to keep our family running.  Now he has a job where he travels.  When schedules are normal, he's gone every other week.  Which means I go back to being a single parent during that time.  No extra hands, still working 24 hours a day.  I also have two kids with special needs.  God forbid my daughter, who has a tracheostomy, gets sick and ends up in the hospital.  Then I'm trying to be super mom from an hour away for sometimes 7 days straight.  Despite how hard it is though, I am very grateful for the blessings God gave me.

Do I do some complaining?  Of course I do.  Being a mom (any type of mom) is often a thankless job.  It's hard work.  So is being a dad.  Or a grandparent caring for a grandchild.  Or an aunt or uncle that steps into the parent role.  Parenting isn't easy.  Kids can be frustrating little creatures.  No one's life is perfect.  Mine definitely isn't.  So I allow myself the right to gripe.  I tend to keep most of the griping to under my breath mumbles but sometimes it builds up and I burst.  It happens.

Being a stay at home mom for me is very hard.  There are days I'd love to have some interaction from humans that aren't shorter than me.  There are days I feel very lonely.  There are days I just want to scream at the top of my lungs.  There are days I get no 'thank you's".  I can do this job though and do it well.  There are many rewarding things.  I love my family.  I love the laughs we get to have.  I love watching my kids grow and learn.  I love being a mom and I don't take it for granted.  There are days you will catch me talking about how blessed I am and there are days you might just see me feeling defeated.

At the end of the day there are all types of moms out there with their own struggles.  It matters not what the role is in the household.  Some working moms wish they could stay home and some stay at home moms wish they could be working.  We shouldn't be judging each other or situations we may not know everything about.  We should be open to hearing each others' stories and be willing to be comforting.  We should feel like we have support no matter what we are all going through, happy or sad.

This is plain and simple.  It's called Motherhood.  It's our jobs to be accepting.  After all, we have to be able to teach it to our children too so they can become open minded and accepting human beings.  Listen to your fellow mothers out there.  Be supportive and non judgmental.  We all need a shoulder to lean on every once in a while.  That's what helps us be content and happy, knowing there is someone there to help hold us up when we need it the most.

I would hate to know that someone I thought of as a friend and shared frustrations with would turn around and write about how I should just shut up.  I wouldn't deny anyone the right to do some complaining.  I wouldn't make anyone feel badly about struggling a little bit and needing to get it off their chest.  Because that's really what the author is getting at right?  She opens the door, allows "a friend" to sit down at her kitchen table and listens to whining?  Whining that is unjustified because that person should feel lucky that they aren't a working mom?

Listen here, unjustified whiner with an apparently bad friend who is using your complaining against you, my kitchen table is always open.  And I don't care if you are a working mom, a stay at home mom or a stay at home dad or even if you don't have kids and need to get something off of your chest.  I will listen and do my best to help you.  I don't know... I guess that's just the mother in me.