Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mom Versus Mom: Just Plain Wrong

   There are a lot of opinions out there about what style of mommyhood is the best. We all have opinions about what is better for the kiddos, what is harder on the mom, what is better for society, and so-on and so-forth. And having your own opinion is good, because you need that to decide what is best for your child, yourself, and your family. But society doesn't just stop at having an opinion. They have to hold a competition; a competition so fierce that we find ourselves jumping down each other's throats to decide which moms have the harder job, and the even more disturbing conclusion that some people are not taking the proper care of their children because of the lifestyle they had. I know that I have had people get in my face about both being a single mom and about working, saying that my choices have hurt my daughter.
   Here's the parenting issue the way I see it, because I have played mom in every style; I was a stay-at-home mom once, I'm now a working mom, I had a parenting partner with my daughter's father until that went south, and I'm now a single parent. There are variations to each of these styles, but I have at least some form of experience in all the basic styles that I have listed, and from what I can tell, being a mom is a hard job no matter what style of parenting you choose. And unless you are doing something like beating your child with a brick and/or telling them things like they are worthless, then there is no wrong way to parent. (If you are abusing your child, then I hope karma tears your throat out.) Let me explain this, from my own experiences.
Stay-at-home mom: You never get a break, or a vacation, or a lunch - shit- you can't even take a shit by yourself. Your adult interactions become very limited, you may have a good partner and loyal friends and family, but a lot of your day is spent talking to kids. You don't earn a salary and thus have to depend on someone else to earn it. You have to listen to bullshit cracks about eating bon-bons and watching daytime TV. You are often taken for granted and never get a raise or promotion. No sleep ever.
Working Mom: You have to leave your kids with someone else. You may get away for a while, but all the chores are waiting for you when you get home. You are going to miss important stuff while you are at work. You are losing your hair from worrying about your kid while you are at work. You get in trouble for calling out when your kid is sick, which happens all the time because daycare/school incubates germs. People try to shame you for not staying home with the kids and putting them in daycare. No sleep ever.
Single Mom: All the bills are on you. You either have to leave your kid and get a job, and be judged for that, or get on assistance programs and stay home with your kid, and be judged for that. You have to take care of every little problem that arises, from sick kids, to trouble at school/daycare. You are both mom and dad. People like to judge you- a lot, and a lot of people out there equate single mothers as women with loose morals, which is neither fair nor true. No sleep ever.
Duel Parents: You have to compromise about how to raise your kid. Just because you have help doesn't mean you aren't going to get overwhelmed with parenting stuff. You are going to be judged and held accountable for every little disagreement that you have in front of the kids. The lack of sleep, stress of raising a kid, and disagreements about how to raise your kid can cause tension in your relationship - and people are going to judge you for that too. No sleep ever.
   Of course, these cover the effects on the mom and not the child, some would say. However, a happy home strongly influences the children in question. Shortly after I became a single parent, my daughter made the statement that even though there were some people she missed, she was happy we moved (from Florida to Washington) because I didn't cry anymore. In our old home, she had gotten to the point where she panicked whenever I was out of her sight. In my single parent home, she became more independent, more outgoing. After seven years of being a single parent, my daughter is in the GATE (gifted and talented education) program, and has been these last three years. She is a green belt (with a black stripe) in karate. She is popular in school and though a little shy in new situations, becomes engaged and shows her zany, friendly, sunny side to people quickly once she is used to them. I make sure that we get our quality time together, and all signs indicate that I have made the right choice for her. Does this mean that every mom should make my choice? No; I am in no way saying that my choice is the only choice for everybody. My choice wouldn't be right for many of you, but based on the circumstances of my life, my choice was the best for us, so who has a right to judge me for those choices? The way  I see things, nobody has that right.
  There are going to be cons in every style of raising a child -- but this does not mean that one is better than the other. They all have their pros too, and being a mom is rewarding no matter how you are pulling your mommyhood off. Every mother makes the decision on what she needs to do -- stay at home, work, be single, be with a partner -- based on the circumstances and variables of her life. The decision that one woman makes would not be right for another woman, because her life is different. But the things that are the same is that we are all moms trying to do what is best for our kids and make better lives for them. So why are we being so judgmental, so competitive about  who is better? Why aren't we banding together and telling the rest of the not-moms who are judging us to piss off? If we could get along, and help each other out, those judgey-judgersons out there would have a hell of a time pulling us down, but we are doing their work for them, by being at each other's throats and trying to put one choice above the other. It's wrong. We are a sisterhood of mothers, and we should have each other's backs. 

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