Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Everybody's Got a Parasite, I've Got You*

*from Antidote by my favorite band when I was in grad school, Pain. (That's not grad school pain. That's the band, Pain, that I really liked a lot in grad school, and actually really still like them, but they aren't producing any music currently, darn it.)

Snow Day Perks

Okay. I've been mulling over this one for a while, wondering if I should post about it, and I finally decided that I had to, or risk obsessing about it. See, I was reading a post by a blogger that I enjoy, and she was talking about her day helping in her son's kindergarten class. The main point of the post was that she wasn't one of "those" moms - you know - the ones that are constantly at school every moment of the day and kind of snarky about moms who weren't there every moment of the day. One of her commenters commented thusly:

Ok, this is my response to the “passive aggressive” ones who never saw me at school. It is rude. It is not “nice”, and it isn’t meant to disparage non-working moms who aren’t being rudely aggressive toward me - really. That’s my disclaimer, and I’m sticking to it.
“Oh, well the reason you don’t see me around is because I am EMPLOYED - I’m not just being a parasite on my husband’s paycheck.”

Now, I know she prefaced it with a disclaimer about how it isn't meant to disparage non-working moms and all, but c'mon. I don't buy into the "no offense" defense. What you say is generally what you mean. And really? A parasite?

What is it you imagine I do all day at home with my children? How can you, a mother who comes home and does all those things after work and knows how time consuming and difficult they are, suggest that SAHMs are parasites?

Is there really no wiggle room one way or the other any more?  I mean, I know there isn't in the politcal world - you're either right or left, right or wrong and never the two shall meet, but is there any place in our society for moms who take each other out with these kinds of comments?

I was kind of stunned at how the comment affected me. I'm not usually so sensitive about things, but it made me stop and think. Am I a parasite on my husband's paycheck? Are other moms who have chosen to stay at home parasites? I had to ask Dr. SmartyPants, who looked at me like I had lost my mind and told me that he never considered me one, and that if chose never to work, even after the kids were grown and gone, he still wouldn't consider me one.

(everyone together, now...awwwww)

I chose this path, just as others have chosen theirs. I admire and respect moms who work just as hard outside their homes as they do in them - who care for their children with love and grace and aplomb, even while they aren't with them 24/7. I can't imagine how hard it must be to leave in the mornings and not see them until supper time, but millions of mothers do it and they make it work and their children are loved and they know it. Just as many mothers choose to work as those who have to work. It's good for them and it's good for their families, and they rock.

But for those who choose to be at home - the idea that we are somehow lazier or get less done or have no drive to succeed or that we are parasites on our husband's paychecks is insulting. We've just made a different choice - a choice that works for our families, just as your choice works for yours. Our days start as early as the working moms' days do, we work just as long and just as hard, but our paycheck is measured in time, not in dollars. Our service is commemorated in one Saturday out without the kids instead of with a plaque. Our pension fund is a box full of homemade cards and letters and the knowledge that we did what was right for OUR family. Not for yours.


ps. I'm guesting over at Indie Fixx today - come by and say hello!