Monday, August 17, 2009

A love letter to Stefanie... No, not the character from Short Circuit.

There was an article in Sunday's New York Times about a mommy who decided to go dry. This is the article. I follow Stefanie's blog, I think she's witty, hilarious, and inspiring. If you're reading this, I applaud you. And if you're not, I applaud you anyway. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for something that's bound to get people riled up. But you know what? You did it anyway. You are a hero to me.

Now, keep in mind, I am in no way endorsing or approving mommies getting schnocked while their toddlers zone out on Sesame Street. But in all honesty people, what is the big deal? I usually wait until my son is in bed to have a glass of wine or two, but if I choose to have a glass of wine with my husband over dinner or while my son and I watch a movie together - I am not committing a capital crime. Yes, I realize the hypocrisy. If my daycare providers were having a glass of wine during nap time I'd be upset. But I pay them to take care of my son. I'm not paid to take care of my son, nor should I be. I am the parent and sometimes there is hypocrisy in parenting. I'll do things that I would never let other people do. And you know what? Sometimes I make mistakes. If I'm not feeling well, I'll doze on the couch while my son plays. I wouldn't let someone else take care of my son while they were sick, but you can't always take a 'sick day' like a real employee. I tell ya, kids are the worst employers to work for sometimes.

I work full time. Then I go home from work (and admittedly, my job isn't very difficult) and take care of my son. Most days I'm doing it by myself. My husband works - and works hard, long hours - to bring home the bacon. So while he's working like a dog, I'm working at home after I'm done with my full-time job. I'm a lucky enough woman to have a husband who is happy to spend alone time with his son while I run to the grocery store or go out with a friend. However, this was not always so. I was, once upon a time, a SAHM. I did it twice; once by choice, and once because of unemployment.

The first time was after my son was born. I didn't go back to work until he was about 6 months old. I adore my son, I love him with all my heart, but he wasn't a planned pregnancy. We didn't plan on having a baby yet, and to those of you in the comment section of the NYT article - it flacking happens. You can't always 'plan' a baby. Dear lord, some people have their heads really far up their asses. Throughout my pregnancy, people told me, "You're never going to be able to do anything anymore" and "Well, you know, it's going to be all about the baby now." And I dreaded it. My biggest regret was allowing people to hamper my enjoyment of my pregancy, and I miss it. My day would start by getting up with him, playing with him a bit, and letting him kick back and do whatever when he was done playing. Really, anal-dwellers, there's only so much playing one can do with an infant and remain sane. Truthfully, I was bored out of my mind. And when I wasn't bored, I was stressed.

Yes, anal-dwellers, it is possible to be both stressed and bored with motherhood. It just doesn't often happen at the same time.

I'd be by myself and my son would cry for no reason - and infants usually do - and I'd just start crying along with him because I didn't know what to do. The anal-dwellers are apparently under this delusion that motherhood is all cotton candy, lollipops and quiet well-behaved children. It's not. When your child cries, it doesn't mean your a bad or an incapable parent. Babies just cry sometimes. And for those who have colicky babies, my heart goes out to you. Especially those moments when you're doing some much-needed grocery shopping because you're down to a can of peas and a can of fruit cocktail and your baby begins wailing, and someone gives you a dirty look. Know that you're not a bad mommy, but that they're narrow-minded people.

You can't always be the MacGuyver/Martha Stewart Mommy who teaches their children how to make a dress out of pipe cleaners and toothpaste. Not everyone is that creative. And sometimes, you need to leave your kids the hell alone to let them learn how to self-entertain. Because the books say so. However, the hum-drum rhythm of baby, laundry, baby, vacuuming, baby, dinner, baby, dishes, bedtime gets BORING. And in that hum-drum, you can lose a bit of yourself. It's like taking on a job that takes all your time, energy, and efforts. Eventually, if you don't take time out for yourself (and going home to sleep doesn't count), you're going to lose a bit of your identity and become defined as the job. Motherhood is no different. When I said before that I don't expect to be paid for my parenting, that doesn't mean that I don't look on it as job. It's the most important job I'll ever have, and it's a life-long job. It's hard work, and some of us don't take to it like others. And you know what?

That's okay.

It's okay not to know what to do sometimes. It's ok to not be part of the 'Mom-fia', to not wear pearl necklaces and A-line skirts with aprons while you clean house. It's ok to skip the makeup and hairspray, because some days you're lucky if you get to shower. Every parent has their own style, every parent does things differently. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it isn't right. It's ok to feel sometimes like you just need a break. No one can, or should have to, work 24/7/365.

But regardless, I know my son is worth it. I know that no matter how mad I get when he's decided to color the couch and himself, when he tornadoes the room I just cleaned, or when he's just plain being mouthy and acting up; I love him. I'd jump in front of bullets and moving vehicles for him. I'd saw off my arm if it meant he'd never have to feel an ounce of unnecessary pain. I'll kick the ass of anyone who hurts my baby, and if you don't believe me, ask anyone who knows me. I am unquestionably devoted to my son. The point of all this being that as long as you love your children (even if you're upset and don't really like them at the moment), and try to do what's best for them, that's all that really matters.

I give Stefanie so much freaking credit. I think that admitting that she felt she had a problem and taking the steps to solve it speaks volumes for her character. I admire the courage she has for stepping up and taking responsibility. I admire her for staying funny, and for being the best mom she can be. I admire her for putting her children first. I admire her for sticking with it.

Keep your head high, Stef. There are more people who support you than those who don't. And for the love of all that's holy, keep those hilarious posts coming!


2 dished:

Aunt Becky said...

She got brutalized and it was awful. She's used to it--go see the reviews of her books on Amazon.

Sassy Pie said...

It was ridonkulous. I felt terrible for her... It doesn't matter how used to it you get, it's still gotta sting. And I think she's incredible, so the trolls can just lick my lily-white ass.