I try to stay out of the mommy wars debates because it’s just not worth it. As long as your child is fed, clothed, and happy, I don’t really care how you raise him or her. But there are certain issues that get to me. When someone states that they stay home because they don’t want someone else raising their kids, something inside my heart wrenches and I coil up like a snake ready to strike. Because it’s untrue. Because it’s not fair. Yes, someone else watches my children when I am at work, but my husband and I are the only ones raising our children. I am certain—hopeful and naïve, maybe—that this choice of words isn’t meant to hurt, isn’t meant to make those of us not fortunate enough to have the choice to stay home hurt so deeply, but it does and I often wish people would be more cognizant of their word choice because of course you want to stay home to raise your kids. That doesn't mean that I'm not raising mine.
Still, I’m mostly okay with wearing the (uncomfortable) shoes of a working mom, because I know my children are happy. But I worry about little things as they get older. Since he was six months old, Luke’s gone to an in-home sitter where he interacts with the children of other working parents. As far as he knows, everyone has a mommy or daddy who has to drop them off with someone else during the work day. Until he started preschool and I knew that it wouldn’t be the case. I’ve been waiting for him to notice that not all of his friends from preschool go to extended care before or after school.
Finally, he asked. “Mommy, my friend Cade’s mom picks him up after school every day as soon as school is over. Why?” I explained. Some mommies are very lucky and can pick their kids up right away, but some mommies, like me, aren’t able to do that because of work but I pick him up as soon as I get out of work. Then I cringed and waited for the guilt to wash over me, for his hurt to be evident.
Instead. “Oh. That’s too bad for them because you know what? After we leave preschool, we get to eat lunch in the cafeteria and then we watch a movie and then we get to play outside again!” Thank you, Luke, for your four year old grace, for knowing that I do the best I can at raising you and that when I can’t be there with you, all it means is that you get more time on the playground than other kids.
Linking up to Heather of the EOs Just Write