Nearly everything I read on the internet drives me fucking crazy. Now that I’m a “stay at home mom”, in addition to being thousands of miles away from friends and family and being in a one-car family, I find that more and more often the internet is my only window into the outside world. I never prepared to be a stay at home mom, I have no idea what I’m doing and probably won’t for awhile. I don’t consider myself a SAHM as career choice or anything, it’s just how things worked out at this point in our lives. For a long time, I was a working mom. I did the 9-5 thing and my life was a bit like a commercial for some crappy frozen food product- harried woman in a business suit tripping over the dog while getting wrapped up in the phone cord (never mind the fact that people haven’t used corded phones in over a decade) and children running around with finger paint smeared on them. I don’t really claim membership to either group, the working moms or the house elves, I just consider myself to be a person that is existing in this family and doing whatever is necessary. I didn’t realize, until the internet told me I guess, that other people don’t really view it this way.
I feel rather silly taking offense to anything written about what moms should do or who they should be or how they should feel, because none of that has any actual bearing on my life. Still though, sometimes I read something so irritating that I would just like to get a megaphone and tell the rest of the world to PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP. This is one of those times.
I came across this essay by way of Facebook promotion and even though I knew it would piss me off, I still read it. To summarize, the author has heard some people refer to stay at home parenting as a job. She has ignored the hyperbole in this statement and run with the idea that she needs to set the record straight about how whiny, entitled and privileged stay at home parents are. This is a really unique viewpoint, as most people in our society view stay at home parents, mothers in particular, with the utmost respect and admiration. This is author is very brave to come out and put stay at home moms in their place.
Listen, dumbass, nobody is claiming that being a parent that doesn’t work outside of the home is the same thing as a job. I, for example, am well fucking aware that my contributions do not earn a pay check. I am also well fucking aware that if I were to take advantage of any job opportunities in my current area, the cost of childcare would be far, far more that whatever money I’d bring home. At this point in our lives, this is the arrangement that makes sense for our family. You know what else? I can complain about it if I want to. I can complain about it A LOT even! And I don’t really give a shit if you had a wonderful, blissful experience as a SAHM and think nobody else should frown once they’ve had children. This opinion piece is made even more annoying by the fact that she peppers in some anecdotes about her struggles, as if to say “Well I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and so should you!” A white, college educated woman has a surprise pregnancy, oh dear! She did the responsible thing and worked part time, while her mother provided FREE CHILDCARE, and once her husband got a better paying position they were able to stop using WIC benefits. Hallelujah! You skimmed the surface of the cycle of poverty. All of you, Caucasian, able bodied and educated, just made it out by the skin of your teeth. Now you can write an essay on a click-bait heavy website about how you know all there is to know about parenting so the rest of us sad sacks can learn to stop complaining.
Bull fucking shit.
Life is hard. Period. I don’t need to clock a certain amount of billable hours to get permission to be able to feel a certain way about my own goddamn life. It’s attitudes like this that make it almost impossible to imagine things ever changing in this country. It’s as if we don’t care about people at all. The work of caregivers is extremely valuable and necessary, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Not so long as the elderly need caring for or families need raising. I’m not so naive to think that a few policy changes would solve everything, but universal health care, state run daycare and a generous maternity leave policy would go a long way. A society that is well cared for and supported will put that effort back into itself. Valuing families and our collective human experience is a beautiful and noble endeavor- and it gets chalked up to welfare or handouts whenever it’s discussed in the public sphere. Mothers that stay home out of necessity are called lazy and entitled when they dare to want something more for themselves. Mothers that work out of the home are criticized for abandoning their precious babies. Fathers are barely even mentioned, but that’s another can of worms that my little heart can’t bear to open right now. There is no such thing as having it all. There are just people working with whatever circumstances they’ve got. I think you have to be a special kind of insecure asshole to write an essay like that to basically reassure yourself that you’ve got it all figured out. “I don’t experience this problem, therefore it doesn’t exist.”
I can make blanket statements, too! Like this: everyone is fine and figuring it out on their own terms. Please shut the fuck up.