So last week I kind of started something on my Facebook page. It wasn't a fight or anything, but it did kind of become a heated discussion between me and a few others off line. And I rarely discuss topics here that can be deemed controversial or that can spark conflict, but this started conversations that I think are good, regardless of whether or not you agree with me.
So Thursday afternoon I was watching the new Anderson Cooper talk show. Sarah Jessica Parker was on talking about her new movie, in which she plays a woman struggling with her responsibilities as a mom, a wife and an executive. So of course Anderson, God bless him, starts asking her if the movie mirrored her life as a working mother. And SJP then starts talking about how difficult it is to be a working mom.
Well I have to tell you, I really wanted to punch her in the face.
Now don't get me wrong. I am not doubting that it is difficult for her, I am sure it is. But her difficult and my difficult and almost any other working mother's difficult, are like talking about life on two different planets.
Why do we do this as a society? Why do we take a celebrity and make them a spokesperson for normal people?
When I had just given birth to Junior, Cindy Crawford had also recently given birth to her oldest child. And I remember watching her on a talk show where they introduced her as "Super Model turned Super Mom." And I wanted to throw a dirty diaper at the TV.
Now I am not trying to sound bitter. I am just saying COME ON!
You know who is a Super Mom? My mother. She raised me by herself for 13 years. She got pregnant at 17, made a very difficult decision to raise a child when she was still a child herself, and worked two, sometimes three jobs to put food on the table and clothes on my back. She had no help, other than my grandma who took me for the weekend occasionally. And this all happened in Utah. Not exactly a friendly environment for a young, single mother. My mother also knows how difficult it can be to be a working mother. She missed a lot, yes. But I never missed a meal, I always had new clothes when school started, and had excellent grades.
Being a mother is not easy, regardless of your circumstances. There's that constant doubt. Am I doing too much for them? Am I doing too little? Am I hugging them enough? Am I sheltering them too much?
And when you throw a full time job into the equation? It can be heartbreaking. I have missed honor roll assemblies, class parties and field trips. I have had to take them to my mother in law's house when they were sick because I couldn't miss work. I've forgotten to check homework and sign permission slips and send in treats for the class. I've had to tell one child they couldn't attend a birthday party because another child was asked to attend one first and I can't be in two places at once.
Something tells me SJP may not know what that is like.
Now please don't misunderstand. I am not complaining about being a mother. It is the greatest thing that I do. All three of my children were prayed for, planned and celebrated. And I was very lucky to have been able to stay at home with them when they were little.
But I sucked as a stay at home mom.
I was not any more organized or focused on my job as a mother. And like I said, although I am very thankful for the time I had as a stay at home mom, I always felt like I was missing something. I missed human contact. Grown up conversations. I would follow Ubes around the house when he got home from work telling him all about Oprah and Rosie and All My Children and "Ohmygod Babe, you would just not believe the sexual tension between Bob the Builder and his assistant Wendy. It is palpable."
And most of all, I missed the annual performance evaluation. I really wanted Uberman to sit me down and say "Okay Babe, you have exceeded expectations saving money and using coupons. However, I think folding the laundry is a major opportunity for improvement."
What can I say, I need affirmation.
And I am about to tell you something that a lot of working mom's don't want to admit. It's kind of a secret. You will be shocked and you may think differently of me....
Are you ready?
Are you sure??
Okay... Here goes....
I LIKE HAVING A JOB.
I know, right?!?!? I like working. I want to work. I actually enjoy it. I like having a time and a place and a task that is all mine. I like having something to focus on outside of home and kids and marriage and bills and family and cleaning and organizing and all that other stuff. I like the sense of accomplishment when I achieve something great. I like it that it is all about my contributions and not about my personal life. I like that it is up to me to achieve whatever I want. And you know what? A paycheck every two weeks that helps my family and my financial situation is pretty cool too. Call it an escape if you want to, I don't really care. I like to work.
I am not knocking the stay at home moms. If you can stay home and you can put all your focus into being the CEO of your household, more power to you. All I know is, THIS works for us. I am so lucky that I can be home when my kids get home from school so I can still correct homework and make sure everything is ready for the next day. And thank God Ubes is here when they leave in the morning to make sure everyone is wearing clean clothes and their teeth and faces are clean and their hair is combed and they all have their backpacks and lunches.
I hate the constant fight between stay home moms and working moms. Either way, you are a mother. And that is the hardest job there is. Do what works best for your family. And OWN it. Don't feel guilty about what you have chosen. The most important thing is to be the best mom you can be. Savor that time with your kids. And don't beat yourself up when you can't be there.
Kids are resilient. I should know. I was one.
And for crying out loud, if you need a spokesperson for motherhood, choose someone within your own family or group of friends. Or your neighbor down the street who has all the kids in the neighborhood at her house at any given moment and makes the best brownies in the world! Don't pick a celebrity who is not living in real life.
Or even better. Choose yourself. You be that spokesperson for being a mom. I want to hear what you have to say.