Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursdays with Trixie

She is back!!! I am so excited to have Trixie back writing for me. If you missed her previous posts, you can check them out here or here. You can also learn more about her here. For those of you looking for the second part of Lactation will be here Saturday. 


The other morning I went in to wake up the Monkey (he’s 2 1/2). I said, “Good Morning, Monkey,” and he said, “Mommy, I’m wondering, when I grow up, can I be Spiderman?” I said yes, naturally.

This actually has nothing to do with anything, it’s just incredibly cute. And, it makes me think of some friends of mine that are my advance team on all things that little boys love, who had told me that the Spiderman phase was coming. And, thinking about them brings me to my point: I think that the whole Working Mommy versus Stay at Home Mommy thing is just a media invention. Like rain hysteria in L.A., where a few dark clouds here can send the entire “Weather Watch 2010" team out to interview people about their thoughts on rain -

                Interviewer (wearing casual clothes, because that’s what one wears in the rain, a gigantic rain coat,
                  and a baseball cap): Sir, what do you think of this rain?

                 Manonthestreet: well, it’s wet.

I have a career that I am incredibly happy with, and a mortgage that I am less happy with, and always knew that I would be taking maternity leave for my children, and then returning to that career. I didn’t really know any SAHMs. When I was pregnant with Monkey, I read articles that talked about the Mommy Wars and wondered if it was true. To be honest, I sort of assumed that it was true. I assumed that SAHMs would judge my decision to be a working mom. I assumed that I would not understand the decision to stay at home full time. I assumed that the divide between us would be great and strong.

Well, like many of my pre-Mommy beliefs, I was seriously wrong. The truth, to me, couldn’t be farther from that. When Monkey was about two months old, I discovered my local MOMs club group. There are many different varieties of these groups across the country, but I’m sure you get the gist - they all generally are set up to have playdates with a group of similarly aged kids once a week. My next door neighbor, an awesome woman and mommy, was a member, and invited me into her group. I knew that the group was made up of mostly SAHMs, and I worried if they would accept me on a temporary basis.

I had nothing to worry about. This group of ladies was, and continues to be, the most awesome, loving, kind, considerate group of mommies of which I have ever had the privilege to call myself a part. They never once blinked at my maternity leave status. They were interested in my job, asked questions about it, but mostly cared about me. They patiently answered every one of my zillions of questions about everything from drooling to sleep to baby food. They commiserated about “bad mommy” moments, laughed about silly babies, and cared about Monkey as if he were their own. No comments about the evils of daycare, no comparisons regarding parenting decisions, nothing. And when the time came for me to go back to work, they listened to my angst about it without judgment, and supported my decision without derision.

For my part, I learned what an enormous amount of work SAHMs take on on a daily basis, and how tough their job is. I think I help by giving them the arguments they need should anyone question who works the hardest - Ladies, tell your husbands and anyone who asks, that it’s you. I have worked, I have stayed at home, I have worked in an office while a mom. Hands down, the hardest, most exhausting job was full-time mommy. No contest. My hardest day at the office is a cakewalk compared to the average day home alone with 2 kids (actually, it was harder with one kid, but that’s another story). At work, I can stare into space occasionally if I want. I can eat lunch when I want to. And I. Can. Pee. In. Private. Oh, the glory. I go many times, just for the sheer joy of it. If anyone ever needs someone to back them up in the “who is more tired” war, I will help for free.

So, media, you can go to hell with your made-up “mommy versus mommy” crap. The truth is, a mommy never “tosses the first stone,” even if she doesn’t live in a glass house, because she is too busy hurling it at herself. We are vastly more supportive of each other, and our choices, than anyone gives us credit for. And thank goodness for that.

Oh, and last night, my son said to me as I put him to bed, “Mommy, I love the way you love me.” That’s enough for me.



Mama Pea said...

You are lucky in your experience because sadly, I have seen some rivalry/competition between working and stay-at-home moms: I definitely have felt judgment from at least 1 SAHM who didn't seem to realize that some moms have to work, it's not a choice, not every family can exist on a single income; meanwhile I have definitely heard comments from working moms who seemed to think SAHMs don't need to challenge themselves or be intellectually stimulated by careers...these women commented that they got "so bored" during their maternity leave. Funny thing is, those same working moms who made those comments later said things to me (after I returned to work) about how they couldn't have handled being a SAHM because it's too chaotic and they preferred the "safeness" and "predictability" of the office! In any event, I agree with you that being a SAHM is hands down harder. And I wish all moms were like the nice friendly non-judgmental ones that you hang out with!

C's friend Catherine said...

Trixie, I am really enjoying your well-written, well-thought out blogs! As a SAHM, I have noticed that there are more differences among us than between us. There are working moms who do a really good job being involved with their kids, and there are SAHM's who may spend time with their kids but aren't actually present. Its not the actual role that matters, its the effort. And now I need to get off the computer so I don't fall into the latter category :)

jayayceeblog said...

You just have to follow what's in your heart and do what's right for you in your situation. I spent time as a stay-at-home mom, which I loved, treasured every minute of it. I also spent time working outside the home as my kids were growing up. There were moments in their teenage years when I felt they needed me at home even more than they did when they were tiny. When I was home, I never had any trouble trying to stay busy or intellectually stimulated. With crafts and charity work and learning to cook and just spending time playing with the kids, the days are more than full. And you're right - going to the bathroom without an audience is a real treat! :-)

Poodles in Pasadena said...

If it would help you feel more at home in the office, I'd be happy to invade your privacy while you're in the bathroom. And I'm sure I could round up many other volunteers to do this, too. I'm just saying.

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