Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mom Versus Mom - When Will It End? (Part Second)

   Sometime last week, I had someone really hurt my feelings. Someone I admired, someone who probably honestly just thought they were helping: just giving some friendly advice. What they did was they just talked to me about how much better a stay-at-home mom is then a working mom. Better because a stay-at-home mom is home with the kids more, and so the kids are not neglected like a working mom's kids are; better because they home school, so their kids are more educated then my child, who goes to a public school; better because they are more nurturing, more hands-on, and that I really should be that way as well.
   This did really hurt my feelings, because I am a working mom. I have to be - either that or be homeless. Or, about eight years ago, I could have decided to remain in an abusive relationship that was harming me in every way possible, so that I wouldn't have to be a single mom. Considering my choices, I believe that I have made the best choice possible. But regardless of whether anyone agrees with that or not, all I can do is say: my daughter is not neglected. She is taught morals and ethics -- by me, not the TV, or the babysitter, or the public education system. In short, I do my best.
   Yes, she is in public school, but she is in a pretty decent one, and I talk to her everyday about her day in school, and sometimes, I even volunteer. I do my best, and while I am not against homeschooling, for us, that was never an option in the first place. I believe that academic teaching requires a certain skill set, and frankly, sometimes I still have to add on my fingers. I am lacking that skill set required. Now, I agree that there are some teachers in the education system who unfortunately are lacking that skill set as well, but I keep a close eye on my daughter and the work she does, and what she is learning, and if she still likes school, and everything that I can possibly think of that might signal that she has run afoul of one of these teachers who should not be teaching. But my daughter's education is proceeding nicely. She is a smart girl, and she knows she can talk to me, and I have some high hopes for her future, and my working is not infringing on those hopes. In short, I do my best.
   Sometimes I am not home. Sometimes I am at work, but I check up on her throughout the day. She always knows when I am supposed to be home as well, and I am never late, sometimes to the dismay of my supervisors, who just really wish I could stay late because we are slammed. Sometimes my scheduling requirements means that I get the short-end of the stick when it comes to hours, but I do my best not to complain, because I am capable of creative budgeting and in the end, I am really grateful that I work for someone that understands that I am mom first, employee second, and the job keeps my daughter fed, under a roof, clothed, and insured. I have to be the nurturer and the money-earner all in one, but I am always there when my daughter needs me, because whatever job I work, I am Mom first. In short, I do my best.
    I have argued before that we need to stop judging each other as parents, and stop with the one-way, and one-way only mentality that we have towards parenting, but sometimes it just really feels like we are never going to stop. I could have gotten on here and argued why my way is better, why my daughter is learning independence, critical thinking, and how to interact with the real world, but in all reality, that's as much a crock of bullshit as the saying that my daughter is not as nurtured or as well educated. We all parent according to standards that best meet the needs of our lives, and that is the only way to do this thing called parenting. A mom who wants to stay home should not feel like she is less than a working mom, and a working mom should not feel like she is less than a stay-at-home mom. One does not negate the other. One does not take away the value of the other. Different does not mean wrong, and that is the message that I want to get across here. Different is okay. And even though we may differ in our methods, one thing remains the same - we all just do our best.

Mom Versus Mom: Just Plain Wrong (link to the first blog post that I did on this subject, written 1/23/13)

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