I read a post on a parenting blog recently about how people are tired of hearing stay at home moms complain about being stay at home moms. It was written in a way meant to inspire all of us moms into making the best out of our time with our kids because it is limited. And it reminded us that parenting is hard and it’s supposed to be hard and it’s hard if you stay at home with your kids and it’s hard if you work full time and leave your kids with someone else and it’s hard if you spend half of your time at home and half at work. It’s just hard. And I wholeheartedly 100% agree with that sentiment.
But I wish that the author had taken it one step further…well, two steps. First, I wish she hadn’t titled it “Dear Stay At Home Moms, Please Shut Up”. I get that she probably got a LOT of clicks and second glances with that headline but it leads me to what I really wish. I wish she had taken it one step further and said “but I’m on your side.” How amazing does it feel when a friend or anyone for that matter, says to you “I am on your side.” Suddenly you’re not alone….even if you kind of are. Suddenly, you feel understood. Suddenly, you feel known. For a moment, the road (just as long and tedious as before) looks a little more manageable.
So here is what I know: I am a stay at home mom. I sit exhaustedly on park benches (as I’m doing now) and watch as levi yells “mom, watch this!” for the 18th zillionth time and jumps on the bouncy bridge. I spend a lot of my time filling his time. I play pretend and I kiss ouchies. I rely on the kindness of friends and family to help me and Greg raise our son the best we know how. I know A LOT about trains and sharks. And if that sounds familiar to you, than I am on your side.
Here’s what I don’t know: I don’t know what it feels like to rush out the door every morning as I hand my kid off to someone else. I don’t know what it feels like to feel the guilt combo sucker punch of a missed deadline and a missed first step. I don’t know what it’s like to sit on freaking I-4, the most awful highway ever forged, twice a day and think about how this wasted time could be used to see my child while he is still awake. I don’t know what it’s like to have a career I love and feel the guilt that I might love it more than I love being with my kid sometimes. I don’t know what it feels like to have to have a job that I absolutely hate but that I have to do just to help make ends meet and longingly wish I could be with my kid more. I don’t know what that feels like. But I’m on your side too.
I’m on your side because of this: working moms, stay at home moms, and everything in between have some eternal characteristics in common. We lay awake at night listening to coughs and wondering what we should do about them. We worry about how much therapy our kid is going to need in the future because of the decisions we are making on their behalf today. We wish we could provide our kid that one thing that is just out of reach right now. We make lists in our head of what needs to be done in the morning before the day “really” starts. We want our kids to have the best chance in the world of being the best version of themselves. We want our kids to have friends and not be ignored on the playground. We want our kids to eat better. We want them to be healthy. In short, we want the world for them. And we want this because we are parents. And we are good parents, no matter what the other side hurls at you. In fact, there should be no “sides” in parenting. It’s just one big team playing a trial and error kind of game together.
I’m not usually a sunshine and happiness kind of person. You can generally find me rolling my eyes and muttering something cynical and cutting under my breath about the world around me but on this, I side with the optimists. Parenting isn’t all rainbows but the community of parenting should be warm and inviting and just a little bit rainbow-y.
Moms and dads, I’m on your side. You’re doing a great job at keeping that kid alive and well. Bravo.