Friday, May 6, 2011

An Open Letter on Being a Working Mom

Warning: Massive run-on sentence coming up. English majors (and homeschooling moms), please divert your eyes and hold your judgement! ;-)

Dear Random Acquaintances,

When we run into each other out and about, and we're catching up, and you ask me if I've had to go back to work full time, and you have a "poor you" tone in your voice, and I tell you yes but that's it's actually been really good... don't give me a judgy look like I must not love my daughter. Just because I haven't descended into a debilitating depression over returning to work doesn't mean I don't love my daughter. Just because I'm making the best of a less-than-ideal situation doesn't make me a bad mother.

That is all.



Fortunately, this has only happened to me a couple of times but it's been difficult to deal with none the less. I guess I'm not acting sufficiently upset over leaving my child for some. But as someone who knows debilitating depression and knows how depression can be a slippery slope... I'm freaking ecstatic that my return to work has been as enjoyable as it has. Would I rather be at home with my Turtle all day? You bet your ass! Do I have a choice? No!

It's similar to the breastfeeding thing. I feel like I need to carry around a sign to pull out with my formula canister that says, "Had low supply! Tried everything! I promise!" Thankfully, no one has said anything about it. And I know you're asking, "Who does that sort of thing?" But you'd be surprised how many girls on my message boards have women asking them if they are breastfeeding and then commenting on their answer. And one posted that she thought women who stopped breastfeeding were just weak and lazy. That went over like a turd in a punch bowl (as my dad use to say). And as mad as it made me, it made me even madder that I'd let someone on the Internet get my panties in a wad.

It's infuriating that some people seem to think that a mother should act appropriately sad to have returned to work or have tried a certain amount to breastfeed before trying formula. If they don't feel you have satisfied these then it's fair to judge you. Actually this applies to lots of topics concerning motherhood. It's like mothers are the people that everyone has a right to critique. I don't know. I'm just ranting now. It's been a long week!

But this year for Mother's Day consider giving all the mothers in your life the gift of grace and understanding. On the whole, we are just doing the best job we can. And we're our own worst critics, we don't need anyone else adding fuel to our already self critical fires.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Ughh. I am with you on everything! It stinks but people who are judging are usually a little insecure. I have taken heat for formula feeding from a mom who is VERY jealous of the flexibility using formula has given me. My husband and I have been able to leave the twins with their grandparents on a few occasions, and I know if I was breastfeeding that would be almost impossible. I didn't give up breast feeding for convenience, but it has ended up being much more convenient than stressing over supply and pumping, etc.

Same with the working mom thing. I could stay home after my maternity leave, but I would rather work and be able to provide my family with the best lifestyle. We need both incomes to continue living this way and I am not willing to give it all up to stay home and end up on extreme couponing shows :)