Working Mother shaming & why we need to just STFU
I just got judged by my neighbour the other day. I was kind of chuckling at the judgment but we’ll get to why later on.
She basically said to a room full of mothers and fathers:
I don’t understand or respect women who want to go back to work.
I mean, I can respect women who go back to work because they have to make money OF COURSE, but if you don’t need the money, why not stay at home and nurture your child?
….Where do I even begin?
1. THE YEARS DO FLY BY
I can see her point to some extent.
Baby Bun is a little over 2 years old and I can already feel the march of time. He is so much bigger, sturdier, stronger and more vocal.
I am nostalgic for his newborn days and when he was just a little itty bitty thing.
He now has opinions, he is playful, sweet, naughty and sometimes very hard to convince that vegetable soup is not something I’ve dreamed up to make him unhappy, but otherwise, he is very good.
I can understand the pull to stay at home to watch him grow bit by bit (his head is almost clear over our dinner table now!!!!!) … and to hear him say more words, put thoughts and concepts together and do super cute, obviously learned-from-mommy-and-daddy things like grab a napkin from a counter and clean up after himself, then put the napkin in the laundry to wash.
(Seriously. I just recorded it.. )
2. WHAT ABOUT THE FATHERS?
Why don’t men get judged?
Why are mothers judging other mothers?
We’re doing this to ourselves and then men just jump on the bandwagon and say: You said it first!
I certainly don’t blame them for doing so either.
Frankly, she should look at her own situation and wonder why her husband chooses to work when he is independently wealthy instead of staying at home with her and the baby.
He doesn’t need the money, as she is often repeating, over and over again (probably more as a way to soothe herself for the days when she feels like a single mother), but why is he working then?
He hasn’t been home for more than a day a week since that child was born and she complains about it ALL THE TIME.
In contrast, my partner and I both sat down and talked it over, and we decided together as a family that we would stop traveling outside of the city so that we were BOTH at home with Baby Bun while he is young and growing.
We don’t want to miss those years by being in another city, alone, eating in front of the hotel TV while trying to Skype with the family at home.
3. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WANTING TO WORK
It seems to be okay for a father to moan and groan, saying:
I cannot wait to get back to work and not deal with the kids. I miss working.
In some cases fathers have even said to my face that women are “better equipped and more likely to be the ones to stay at home because BIOLOGICALLY we are meant to do this childrearing more than men are”.
(Oh the field day I had…)
.. but if a mother says it, she’s a bad mother. She doesn’t love her family or her child enough to want to stay at home and be with them 24/7 instead of working.
Work brings a lot more than just money. It brings independence, a break from your child so you can appreciate them more and have more patience for their tantrums and shenanigans (true story), and not only that, you get to interact with adults all day long.
Unless you have a steady playgroup to take them to, it can become extremely overwhelming to be at home all day with a toddler or children with no adult interaction.
You’re starved for it by the time your partner cruises in the door and they’re exhausted from work too, but may think you’ve just been lying around on the couch all day doing nothing.
4. I AM NOT SACRIFICING MY LIFE FOR MY BABY
Yes, he is mine. Yes he is adorable, sweet, yadda yadda yah. … but I am my own person too. I am not some self-sacrificing mother who thinks her child is the center of her universe and I should give every single bit of myself to him with nothing leftover for myself.
I need to be myself too.
5. SHE TENDS TO BE A BIT .. OPINIONATED, LIKE YOURS TRULY
So we were also discussing perhaps moving to a smaller place to save on rent, and she totally flipped out on me.
She shrieked at me with this horrified look on her face and said:
YOU NEED TO THINK OF YOUR SON!!!!
What is he going to do when he’s older and wants to be in his own room? You have to think of him too!!
I just about lost it.
You would have thought I had just announced I would drop him off at the adoption agency and pick him up 18 years later.
I AM thinking of Baby Bun.
I am thinking of the money we will save, the fact that with that saved money we will be able to be a little more lax in taking contracts and stay at home with him a bit longer rather than working, and that we will not have to worry about retirement.
Or that maybe once my car breaks down, I can go out and easily buy another one with cash rather than freaking out about how to get him to places without having to liquidate my investments.
I kept it together, and the other parents were looking at her and me like: Whoa.
But I took the high road, didn’t say anything and said:
It would only be for now, temporarily to save money, and when he wants his own room, we’ll figure out a space for him.
Either we section off the living room so he has his own spot, or we halve the bedroom, or whatever we can come to as a decision.
She was in total disbelief.
…but people around the world LIVE LIKE THIS.
I mean, I read in the past they used to put babies in drawers as ‘beds’.
My partner himself grew up in a bachelor apartment with 2 other siblings and his parents in the same room.
A bedroom for each child is a luxury and I certainly didn’t want it when I was younger; I always ended up sleeping with my siblings at night until I was much older, in my pre-teens.
I held my tongue but if I wanted to be absolutely rude beyond belief I could have said:
It is very easy to say whatever you want when you pay absolutely NOTHING for everything you have.
Her husband is independently wealthy but it wasn’t with her that he made the money. They met after he was rich.
He pays for everything. Literally everything. She has not had to fork over a SINGLE PENNY for anything, and has kept her own savings from when she worked.
He also gives her an allowance.
She just has a credit card she uses & he clears it.
He bought the place they own completely on his own.
They are thinking of buying a second apartment and expanding into it, whereby they will then take over half the floor of the building.
So as you can see, it is easy to spend other people’s money and judge them for not spending more or less when you don’t value it the same way they do.
I myself have saved every penny and worked hard for my money.
I am CHOOSING to downgrade and pay LESS rent (saving about $500 a month after taxes or $6000 a year) because it means I have lower living expenses and maybe I could really live off my dividend income while Baby Bun is under 5 years old.
Sure, with my money I could easily afford to stay where I am but for now and the next 5-ish years, I am seeing that Baby Bun (with his personality) wants to sleep with us and stay close to us.
Therefore, why have a second bedroom when it’s just dead space?
We’re using it for storage. We don’t need it for now.
When he gets older, we’ll move again, to a bigger place.
She is also super competitive in wanting to prove her son is just like mine or better.