Little One and I many moons ago. Don’t let the smile fool you, that bottle is full of poison! Poison, I tell ya!
Years ago I was introduced to Cafemom. For those of you who don’t know what or whom a Cafemom is, gather round and I’ll learn ya a thing or two. Cafemom is website for, you guessed it, moms. There you can connect and learn and share. You can also bitch and moan and judge, a whole hell of a lot. I met some great ladies in the Cafe. I’m still friends with quite a few of them even though I left the site years ago. I left because of, you guessed it, the bitching and the moaning and the judging. Before I left, I did learn a thing or two about my job as a mother:
Formula is poison. No, literally it’s poison.
Formula is fine, except for the kind you’re using.
Breastfeeding too long is bad, so is breastfeeding not long enough (the “good” time frame has yet to be determined, but I can assure you that your time frame is not “good”).
Sleeping with your baby will kill it.
Putting your baby in a crib will kill it.
Letting your baby sleep on its back will kill it.
Letting your baby sleep on its tummy will kill it.
Your baby is going to die no matter what you do.
You suck as a mother except for the times when you are the best mother in the entire universe.
Try and wrap your brain around all that and remember that we haven’t even touched upon the subject of whether or not you stay at home with those kids that you are going to kill. The debate spectrum that I’ve heard on Cafemom went from you are stupid for not working and making as much money as you can in your lifetime to staying at home is the hardest job on Earth, but you better do it if you want your kids to know you love them.
I stay at home, and despite the inordinate amount of vomit involved, I am fairly sure it is not the hardest job on Earth. It’s sometimes tedious, frustrating, and maddening, but it’s not as hard a job as scraping gooey gobs of grey matter off the ceiling of a two-bit motel room or being a soldier on any front line. In turn, I’ve met a whole hell of a lot of working moms whose kids know heartily how much they are loved. Working mom or not, you can be sucky or stellar at parenting. Stay at home mom or not, most of us are ready to fall asleep the minute our asses hit the couch cushions at the end of the day.
The funny thing about the stay at home vs. working mom debate is that it’s usually a war fought solely on the internet, the epicenter of black and white judgments. There is no grey in the land where you are right or wrong, idiotic or brilliant. Most of my friends work, and I’ve literally never had a conversation with any of them about how much more one of us is doing. Like literally literally, not Kardashian literally. That is, until last week.
I was chatting with a couple of my close friends while we were waiting for our spawn to be released from school. We were anxious to carry on with killing them, you see. When the discussion turned to work, I was kind of in my own head at the time so I’m not so clear on how it all began, one of my friends turned directly to me and continued, “…because unlike you, I actually have a job.” Whoa. What? What the ever loving motherfuck?
I turned to Friend 2, who works outside the home as well, and said, “Did she just really say that?” She nodded.
I think Friend 1 sensed I took umbrage to her original statement and followed it up with, “I’m not saying you don’t work, I’m just saying I do both.” Hard emphasis on “both”, mind you.
I shot back with a dry, “Yes, and you’re rich and skinny and beautiful, too. We got the memo.”
Silently, jaw agape, she grabbed her kid and got the hell outta Dodge. I held in tears while Friend 2 offered me some much needed comfort.
It was like I was back in Cafemom, only I couldn’t turn off my monitor and walk away shaking my head at the irrationality of the internet. This was a straight up, in my face, dismissive, condescending comparison of our choices in life. A friend, a close friend, a fellow lady person, took her freshly sharpened number two and marked our scorecards. She does more, works harder, she wins. Wins what? I’ve yet to figure that out. Bragging rights? A shiny new halo? I don’t know. I’ve racked my brain for what the purpose of her pronouncement was, but haven’t found one. All I know is that it hurt like hell.
Last I checked, and I’m checking all the damn time, there was no perfect choice for us mothers. The woman that revels in staying home can not and should not decide that the woman who revels in being at work is any less a mother. Likewise, the working mom has no space to decide her stay at home counterpart is doing less simply because she doesn’t punch a time card. To think differently is illogical and detrimental to every stride we’ve made since we fought for the right to vote. Not to mention the fact that it sucks hairy, sweaty balls. Remember, this isn’t the wild jungles of the ‘net, this is real live life, and if you keep score with your friends you’re not doing it right.