I have been harboring some repressed angst lately, and I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time.
I have a few friends who say things to me that really upset me every once in a while. Now – I am one of those people who says TOO MUCH, so I don’t get too offended when people say somewhat colorful things to me. I mean – I understand that sometimes you just say the wrong effing thing and I’m cool with that. No need to explain. No need to feel bad. I GET IT, because I do it too. Usually, a simple, “shit, I didn’t mean to say it that way,” works for me and I move on (moving on from all things is not my greatest strength, but when it comes to moving on from stupid comments, I’m able to do that easily).
So what is it that people say that gets me riled up? They all have to do with the GOOD things I’m doing for my child. They all have to do with the choices that B and I have made to provide Matthew with the upbringing that we feel is right for him and us.
When I talk about the following topics, I usually get a similar reaction from a handful of friends. Here are the topics:
- Cloth diapering
- Making Matthew’s baby food
- Breastfeeding until he was 12 months old
- Pumping enough milk to have 3 months stored up in the freezer
- Having a clean house
- Getting Matthew out for activities every day
The reaction I get from some friends on any or all of the above topics is, “you are able to do those things because you stay home.”
- We were committed to cloth diapering before Matthew was born and had all diapers and supplies purchased and ready before my 8th month of pregnancy – long before either of us considered me being a SAHM
- We were committed to making all of Matthew’s baby food before he was born and had 4 recipe books with favorites selected before he was born. Again – long before we considered the SAHM option
- Being successful at breastfeeding was a result of hard work, many tears, determination, and lots of pumping. When I did go back to work before quitting, I drove 20 minutes each way to Matthew’s daycare to nurse him over the lunch hour. All of that, and the pumping to sustain his “only breast milk” diet, was done while I was a working mother
- My house is always clean and picked up. That’s just who we are. It was like that before kids, it’s like that during kids, and it will be like that after kids. When I was still a working mother, I spent at least an hour every night after daycare washing bottles, picking up the house, cleaning dishes, folding laundry, etc. etc. etc. The state of my house is not due to me being home, it’s due to both B and me being rather tidy people and requiring that in our lives
- Long before we considered the SAHM option, we were getting Matthew out of the house every single day. While on maternity and paternity leave, we left the house at least once a day starting the day after we came home from the hospital with Matthew. This is just who I am – I am a mover and a shaker and I need to not sit in my house all day. Matthew is a social kid who needs daily interaction with friends his own age, so I bust my butt providing that for him. Not because I’m a SAHM, but because I’m his mother and it’s important to him and me
I am so tired of the mommy wars and the parenting technique debates. I am so tired of people validating their own choices by invalidating others’. I am sick and tired of people who are my friends telling me that the only reason I do these good things for my child is because I stay home. I have several bloggie friends who work and make many of the same choices for their children.
All of those things on that list above, with the exception of Matthew’s activities and getting out of the house, are done “after hours,” long after B is home and Matthew is in bed. I don’t have time during the day to make baby food (which is actually super easy), pump my breasts, clean and fold laundry, wash and stuff diapers, and keep my house picked up. I’m chasing my son around all day, or taking him to some fun activity. When he’s napping, that’s my down time and I enjoy it to myself.
I do these things because they are important to me. They are important to B. They are good for Matthew. We make time in our lives for the things that are important to us. We all do.
To those people who feel it necessary to pooh pooh my choices by suggesting I only chose them because I stay home, I have this to say: If cloth diapering, making baby food, nursing/pumping, and keeping a neat house isn’t important to you, then don’t do it. I don’t care. I don’t judge you for not doing those things – I could care less. Please don’t try to make yourself feel better for not doing those things, by attempting to dismiss me by saying I have time for them only because I am a SAHM. I make time for those things because they are important to my family. Just like you make time for the things that are important to your family.