Thursday, January 3, 2013

What's With the Score Sheets, Mamas?


Let me be frank... I saw this particular meme above pinned when I opened my Pinterest account a couple of weeks ago.  It was also accompanied by an insulting comment towards stay-at-home mothers from the pinner.  It constituted an immediate unfollow from me of the pinner in question. Why? Because, A. As a stay-at-home mother, I was extremely insulted.  And, B. If you want to perpetuate the mommy wars with your not so clever meme, then I don't need to be following your Pinterest account.  

Honestly, I don't get it.  

There was one point in my role as a mother that I worked part-time and went to college full-time (the first 3 years of my son's life).   I spent the first 4 months of my son's life as a stay-at-home mom.  I enjoyed every minute of it, but I was anxious to get back to my college degree and my job.  When my son was almost 10 months old, I became a stay-at-home mom again for a little over 2 months.  It was never my intention to do that again, but my then husband was transferred to a new job in a bigger city and we didn't know anyone well enough  to trust them to watch our son.  It was just easier for me to stay at home with him.  But I didn't enjoy it.  I longed to be back at school, back at work.  During that short summer, I vowed that I was not stay-at-home mom material.

Then I became a single mother.  For 8 1/2 years.  I HAD to work full-time.  I didn't have an option to stay at home.  Not that I wanted to then either.  I enjoyed my teaching career.

I got remarried almost 2 years ago.  We struggled with secondary infertility for the first year, and then we became pregnant with our sweet baby girl who is now 10 months old.  My priorities changed and my thoughts and feelings on being a stay-at-home mother changed drastically too.  I couldn't imagine NOT being at home now.  I honestly have a very difficult time seeing myself returning to the workplace.  Maybe 3 or 4 years down the road, but definitely not now.

Would I say that any of my stages/phases of motherhood were/are more difficult or challenging or rewarding than the others?  Yes and no.  But at each of those times in my "career" as a mother, I was happy with how I was mothering.  I am sure that the mother I was during my son's toddlerhood might scoff seeing the "domesticated" stay-at-home mama I am now.  She would probably roll her eyes, and ask me what about my college degree and my teaching career.  I get it.  I do.  
But why the judgment, mamas?  
We are all mothers.  We are all doing the best we can as mothers.  
None of us have it "easy".  But since when has parenting been easy??

I have been the full-time working mother at one time.  I have been the single mother at one time.  And I have been the stay-at-home mother at other times.  
All of them have presented their fair share of frustrations, of feelings of being undervalued and taken for granted, and of guilt.
They have also each gave me immense feelings of pride, of admiration for what I accomplished each day, of what I taught my children in my various mothering roles, and of genuine, undiminished love.

So, can we just lay off the whole "my role as a mother is harder than your role as a mother is" debate?  We each have our challenges, our complaints, and our "perks" whether we stay at home, work part-time, or work full time outside the home.  There is no score sheet here, mamas.  No one-upping.  

WE ARE ALL MOTHERS.  Period.