You wont believe it but it happened twice in the same week. And what’s worse is that they were both women. I mean with men it would be more understandable but still unacceptable. But women – well they should know better.
It first happened last week while I was out shopping in the local store.
“James! How are those gorgeous kids doing?”
“They are great. How nice of you to ask.”
“That’s good to hear. And how about Sarah, is she back at work yet?”
“She is at home working hard with the kids. She is not going back to work. Not sure if that is what you mean? ”
“Oh Nice, That must be fun for her!”
“FUN? It is fun at times I guess but more tiring and real hard work for her.”
I know it was not too in my face and insulting but the undertone was there and really peeved me off.
The next time it happened was yesterday at a coffee shop. Once again the conversation started out all nice and friendly until the woman I was chatting to came out with
“So is Sarah staying at home for good?”
“For good? She will for the foreseeable future be at home raising our children, yes.”
“Well my Michael is 13 now but I went back to work pretty soon after having him. I couldn’t’ sit around at home all day (giggles). I would just get so bored and antsy. I mean what does she do all day?”
“Well just about everything. All day. What do you do all day?”
“…Me? Ha! I GO TO WORK!”
“Its nice to get a break isn’t it? I mean my wife is at home working hard looking after our kids while we are out here in this coffee shop chatting away”.
As you may have guessed, the tone of the conversation ended up less cordial than it might have started.
I want to make it clear at this point that I have nothing against women who choose to work outside of their home after having children. I know some are forced into work in order to pay the bills and other simply want to work. I also understand that these women are not all as pompous as the two I met recently.
I do however want to have a go at society and tell them to CHECK THEMSLEVES.
The exchange I had with these two women should never have happened. It is ridiculous to ask me or to have any kind of contempt for my wife or any “stay at home” mother. Have we all gone mad and forgotten the culture of mankind. Have we all now failed to understand the importance of motherhood? I mean the Pagans defied Maternity and turned it into a goddess. Instead we have gone backwards and decided to treat it as a social taboo.
Those mothers or fathers for that matter that decide to stay at home to undertake the thankless and deeply important job of bringing up their children should be celebrated for the incredible job they are doing. We should admire them as we do leaders and scientists. These people are doing something so complicated and tiring and essential and joyous and terrifying. Whatever it is they are doing, they are doing SOMETHING and we as a society depend on them doing it WELL.
I understand that being a mom isn’t a “Career” or a “Job” in the sense that it is unpaid and often thankless. There are no unions, break rooms, pay checks or gossip round the coffee machine. But why is this a bad thing? Why have we glorified the whole prospect of going to work and working up the ladder?
Whatever your job is, the truth is that you are entirely expendable. If you quit or were fired tomorrow, they would just find someone else to do the same job.
If your mom quit her role as mother, the whole world would be turned on its head.
What some people look down on, I see as being a mother. Bringing life into the universe and shaping and moulding that life as it develops into a person. She managed and directs the household keeping it on an even keel. She teaches our children the rights and wrongs, morals, manners and the ABC. She is the backbone of our household and a rock to me and the rest of the family. In my view, society would crumble if moms failed and we should give all the support we can to ensure this doesn’t happen.
I want to finish by acknowledging that stay at home mothers do indeed have some downtime. But so do all of those of us that work. There are many jobs where people just end up being busy fools who compete for who can be busier. This to me is total madness and we should all learn to value the precious time we have on this earth.
In our culture we all get a lot of things wrong. I just hope that when all is said and done, we don’t end regretting the way we treated mothers and children.